Tag Archives: bread

The Games That We Deserved

On the final day of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Canadian men’s ice hockey team defeated Sweden 3-0 to win gold.  Host country Russia topped the medal standings at these games, with 33 total medals- 13 of them gold.  The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Today’s recipe is more Georgian than Russian per se, but it did top many lists of must-try foods for visitors to Sochi.  Like many of the recipes in this series, there are plenty of variations.  This one is essentially a loaf of bread baked with a cheese center, while others are a kind of bread boat filled with cheese and topped with an egg.  While a cheese boat seemed pretty interesting, this recipe appealed to me because of its inclusion of coriander and paprika.  I wasn’t disappointed.




for the dough:

  • 1 C. milk, scalded
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 C. unbleached flour

for the filling:

  • 2 C. Muenster cheese (or Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 C. ricotta, cottage cheese, or goat cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, if needed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika


Heat the butter and milk together in a small saucepan until the butter has melts.

Combine the sugar, coriander, and salt in a medium-sized bowl then pour the hot milk over the mixture.

Stir to combine and to dissolve the sugar, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Add the yeast and flour to the milk mixture and stir until a rough dough forms.

Set aside for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough until it’s smooth, about 6-8 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, turn the dough to coat, and then cover the bowl.

Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it increases in size by at least 1/3.

To make the filling, cube the Muenster and place it into the work bowl of a food processor.

Add the ricotta and process until well-combined but some chunks remain.

Add the eggs, flour, salt (if needed- taste to check as cheese can be salty enough already), pepper and paprika then pulse to mix thoroughly.

Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Divide the dough in half and cut a roughly 1 oz. piece of dough from each half.

Shape all 4 pieces into round balls and let them rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

Roll out each of the large pieces into a 10-12 inch circle.

Place one circle into a lightly greased pie tin or 8-9 inch round cake pan.

Put half of the cheese mixture into the middle of the circle.

Pull the dough up around the cheese mixture, pleating and pinching into a topknot.

Leave a hole in the center of the topknot and place the small round ball of dough into this hole.

Repeat the process using the other two pieces of dough.

Cover and let rise for 45 minutes- they will be puffy but won’t double in size.

If the pleats open, pinch them shut.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes.  If you find that the bread is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice the bread into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour

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Fun and Fame

U.S. skier Maddie Bowman took gold yesterday in the women’s ski halfpipe event.  The U.S. women’s ice hockey team lost to the gold medal winning Canadian team in overtime, and won silver.  Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won gold, making her the first Russian woman figure skater ever to win gold.

As the Winter Olympics wind down, so is our Winter Olympics feature and today brings us to the 2006 Turin Winter Games.  Mass start biathalon, snowboard cross, and team pursuit speed skating all made their debut at this Olympics.  These were the second Winter Olympics held in Italy.

Grissini are a specific type of breadstick.  These long, thin, and often crispy breadsticks are rumored to have originated in Turin.  M and O had a good time with these, and requested them for four days straight.  Grissini can be wrapped in prosciutto for a quick lunch or a great snack.  The only thing limiting you here is how big your baking sheets and your oven are.  Do also consider the size of your storage containers when making these, as well as the high potential that they could be used as play swords :)




  • 1/2 C. of whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C. warm water
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 package (scant Tbsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • oil for the bowl
  • optional topping suggestions: sea salt, flavored salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rosemary


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the whole wheat flour, water, honey and yeast.

Stir with a wooden spoon and let it rest for 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy.

Add the all-purpose flour, olive oil, and salt to the mixture.

Mix on low speed using the dough hook attachment until combined, then mix on medium speed with the dough hook attachment for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny.

Put the dough in a small bowl, drizzle some olive oil over the dough and then turn the dough so it is coated in oil.

Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

If you want to make several varieties of grissini from one batch of dough (ex. salt grissini and poppy seed grissini), punch down the dough and divide it into as many portions as you’ll have varieties.

If you want to add flavorings to the dough, such as rosemary, knead a small amount evenly into the dough.

For plain grissini, shape the dough into a flat rectangle.  You shouldn’t need any flour on to roll the dough out, but if it is sticky for some reason go ahead and sprinkle some flour on your work surface.

Slice a piece down the long side of the rectangle about as wide as a finger using a sharp knife or bench scraper.

Roll it into a long, irregularly shaped snake and place it onto the baking sheet.

If you are adding toppings such as poppy seeds, sprinkle the poppy seeds into a thin line as long as your pieces of dough but wider and place the strip of dough onto the toppings, pressing lightly to make sure they stick, then twist the dough and place it onto the baking sheet.

Continue with the remaining dough, placing them about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Let the grissini rest for about 15 minutes and puff up before baking.

Place them into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans after 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, keep an eye on the progress- they are thin and can burn easily.  Remove them from the oven when they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and carefully place on a cooling rack.

Once they are cool, they can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Kitchn

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Two Run-Throughs

For those of you playing along at home, today is day two of the 12 Days of Oscar.  The second movie in the series this year was also nominated for but did not win an Oscar.  The 1999 film The Green Mile, based on the Stephen King novel, is a story told in a flashback format.  It follows the story of corrections officer Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) through the summer of 1935 when he witnessed a series of supernatural events after the arrival of inmate John Coffey (Michael Clark Duncan, nominated for Best Supporting Actor).

Soon after John Coffey arrives at the prison, he cures officer Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection.  He later also heals the warden’s terminally ill wife.  When he is asked how he performs these feats, Coffey replies that he has “taken them back.”  For his assistance with the urinary tract infection, Edgecomb’s wife bakes cornbread and sends it in with Edgecomb as a gift for Coffey.

Cornbread doesn’t get much tastier than cornbread made in a skillet.  A good, well-seasoned cast iron skillet makes this quick to prepare and a breeze to remove from the pan.  It’s delicious slathered in butter or honey.  It’s the perfect side for a bowl of chili.  It is sooooooo much better than anything you’re going to make from a boxed mix.  I cooked this with bacon grease, but if you don’t keep bacon grease around you can use shortening in the skillet instead.

skillet corn bread

Skillet Cornbread


  • 1 C. yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 C. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. bacon grease or shortening


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder.

Combine the buttermilk and milk together in a liquid measuring cup and add the egg.

Stir the egg and milks together with a fork, then add the baking soda and stir to combine.

Pour the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir with a fork until combined.

In a small bowl, melt the 1/4 C. of butter and slowly add it to the batter, stirring until combined.

Melt the bacon grease or remaining 2 Tbsp. of shortening over medium heat.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet and spread to even out the surface- the batter should sizzle when you pour it in.

Cook the cornbread on the stovetop for 1 minute, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown with crispy edges.

Source: slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Fire in Your Heart

In Olympics news yesterday, Steven Holcomb and Steven Langston won the U.S. its first two-man bobsleigh medal since 1952, a bronze.  Figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the first-ever U.S. gold medal in Olympic ice dancing.  The U.S. women’s ice hockey team beat Sweden 6-1 and will face Canada for the gold medal.

Day twelve of the Sochi Olympics brings us to the thirteenth installment of our Winter Olympics feature.  Today we look at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.  These Winter Games were the first to not be held in the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first to be held just two years after the previous Winter Olympics.  U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan won a silver medal in the ladies single skate, just seven weeks after an incident in which she was clubbed in the knee by an associate of her rival Tonya Harding (who finished eighth in the event).

Today, to celebrate Norway, we have skoleboller.  Skoleboller are a bun, filled with vanilla custard, then frosted and sprinkled with coconut.  Apparently, you can find skoleboller (or “school buns”) at school cafeterias, coffee hours, grocery stores, and birthday parties all over Norway.  After making them, it’s not hard to see why.  These are as fun to eat as it is to say “school-ah-bowl-air.”




for the buns:

  • 2 C. milk (preferably whole), lukewarm
  • 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast.
  • 1/2 C. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 6-7 C. all-purpose flour

for the custard:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 3/4 C. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

to finish:

  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 C. shredded coconut for topping


In a large bowl, or the bowl of  a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk.

Add the melted cooled butter, sugar, cardamom, and 5 C. of the flour to the milk and mix well.

Slowly add more of the flour until a smooth, slightly sticky dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until a smooth soft dough is formed.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, make the custard.

To make the custard, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

Slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk, whisking constantly.

Whisk in the vanilla.

While the custard mixture is at a simmer, add the cornstarch a little at a time, whisking briskly as you add it.

Allow the cornstarch to dissolve and for the custard to thicken, stirring constantly.

Let the mixture simmer and thicken for 3-5 minutes.

Pour the custard mixture into a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice water bath to cool completely.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 12-14 evenly sized balls of dough.

Form each dough ball into an evenly round and flat bun.

Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet with at least 1 inch of space between them.

Cover the buns with a clean dish towel and allow them to rise again for 20 minutes.

While the buns are rising, heat the oven to 400 degrees.

After the final rise, use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the center of each bun.  A soup spoon is a good size, and press down almost all the way to the bottom of the bun but do not press all the way through.

Place a generous spoonful of the custard into the center of each indentation.

Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly brown on the top and the egg custard is just starting to set.

Allow the buns to cool on a wire rack.  The custard will set as the buns cool.

Once the buns are cool, prepare the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and water together.  The glaze should be white and should drizzle on but not be runny.  Add more sugar or water as needed to reach the correct consistency.

Spoon glaze around the bun, avoiding the custard center.

Sprinkle on or dip the bun into the coconut, being careful not to ruin the custard center.

Source:  The Transplanted Baker

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Request Line

Are they subs, hoagies, or heroes where you live?  Grinders, maybe?  Apparently there are thirteen or so names for this style of sandwich, but those are the only four I’ve ever personally encountered.  To Lane they are heroes.  You can take the boy out of Queens, but you can’t take Queens out of the boy.  Being a New Englander (with family hailing from Eastern Massachusetts), I used to call the cold sandwiches subs and the hot or toasted subs were grinders.  Now I’ve noticed I use them almost interchangeably, so when O requested meatball subs for dinner (the same kid who wouldn’t eat pasta sauce less than a year ago!) I set to work instead of stopping to ponder the difference any further.

The perfect meatball sub starts with a great sub roll.  The roll should be soft enough that you don’t send meatballs flying everywhere while you try to bite through the crusty bread.  The roll also needs to be dense enough that the sauce doesn’t seep all the way through, making a soggy mess.  The latter is my preference, I know plenty of people who happily devour a meatball sub even if the bread is completely soaked through.  Ever since I started making our bread at home, I’ve attempted the perfect sub roll a few times.  Some were too crusty, some were not crusty enough.  Some were too soft to hold up to much filling, and others were too dry.  These have solved my sandwich roll problems.  They are soft and just crusty enough, and they held up really well to a generous filling of sauce and meatballs.  I can stop my search for the perfect roll and go back to convincing Lane that around these parts, he’s eating a sub (or maybe a grinder).

best sub rolls

Sub (or Grinder, or Hero, or Hoagie) Rolls


  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 C. warm (105-115 degrees) water, divided
  • 2 tsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 C. bread flour (see notes on flour in the directions below)
  • 2 C. all-purpose flour


Combine yeast and 1/4 C. of the warm water  in a small bowl.

Sprinkle 1 tsp. of the sugar over the yeast mixture and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Add the remaining 1 1/4 C. of warm water and remaining 1 tsp. of sugar to the yeast mixture.

Add the oil and stir to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the salt and both flours.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth.

Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment and knead for 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Note on flour: I have made these rolls when it is very humid outside (and thus humid in the house), making for an incredibly sticky dough.  If you find it necessary, add more flour 2 Tbsp. at a time during the kneading process.  The final dough should be smooth and elastic and only very slightly if at all sticky.  I don’t find it necessary to add more flour every time I make these, it just seems to depend on the level of humidity.

When the dough is finished, lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bottom.

Turn the dough once to coat it evenly with oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch down, and divide it into 8 equal-sized balls.

Shape each ball of dough into a long oval, close to how large you want the finished rolls to be.  The rolls will get larger, my ovals were 5-6 inches long and the finished sub rolls are 7-8 inches long.

Place the shaped rolls on the lined baking sheet and make a 1/4 inch deep slash across the top of each roll using a razor blade or sharp knife.

Cover the baking sheet with greased plastic wrap and place in a warm place.  Allow the rolls to rise for 30 minutes.

Bake the rolls for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

Makes 8 rolls.

Source: adapted from Rakish Eats


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I’ve been seeing photos plastered on various social media outlets stating “A stepparent is a truly amazing person.  They made a choice to love another’s child as their own” and I find a lot of truth in that.  I became a stepparent to two amazing children when I got involved with my ex-husband.  As we were getting divorced, I was terrified that this would mean the end of my relationship with his children.  I truly did (and still do) love them like they are my own children.  Luckily it didn’t come to that, and they are still in my life.  I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I’d like to.  They live out-of-state with their mom (who is my personal idea of what a superhero looks like sometimes) and stepdad, and circumstances being what they are I only get to physically spend time with them briefly when they come up for a visit.  For very complicated reasons, I have to keep some distance so that all involved can maintain their sanity.  Someday, they’ll understand that.  That doesn’t mean I don’t miss them and think about them every day (thank goodness I can keep in touch via Facebook!)  and it doesn’t mean I love them any less than I did before.

Later on, I met Lane.  Well after that, I met M and O.  This is my second journey in stepparenting.  One day, the kids just started telling people that I’m their stepmother (it’s not a title I asked for, kids do these things when they’re ready) and so it really began.  I used to be reminded at Mother’s Day that I’m not a mother in that I’ve never adopted a child and I’ve never given birth to one either.  I’ve grown used to letting it pass as a day to celebrate women who are considered to be “real” mothers.  Even when I had my ex-husband’s kids in my life with more regularity, I was reminded that I was not a mother.  In no way am I minimizing the beauty of adoption or the road to delivering a child of one’s own, but stepmothers really get a bad rap.  I shop for and cook their meals, I wash the grass and dirt stains out of their sports uniforms (and pretty much anything else they wear), I sit at soccer practice when it’s freezing cold and raining.  I get them chicken soup and crackers and ginger ale when they’re sick.  I work to teach them about being kind to others, and responsibility, and good manners, and teamwork.  I help with homework and feel like I’m re-learning simple math so I can help M when she furrows her brow and says “I’m stuck.”  I’m missing traveling for my baby sister’s college graduation in part because I am partly responsible for the two small humans in this house and for getting them to school and soccer and baseball and whatever else pops up on the schedule.  I do all of this while being mindful of my role as “not the actual mother,” and it isn’t easy.  The school doesn’t know what to do with me, who am I in all of this? Do I make decisions? Is my signature good enough on a permission slip for a field trip, or am I just the person who’s allowed to pick them up when they’re sick?  Other moms at school don’t know what to do with me, either.  I’m an outsider, not part of their special “I’ve given birth/ adopted” circle.  I’ve had my directions undermined by others who felt justified doing so because I’m not their mother, I’m just Lane’s girlfriend.  That’s okay, I don’t do the things I do for the title, or recognition, or to be part of a social circle.  I do it because I am a stepmom, and these are the things you do when a child is in your care.  So please, let’s put away the special stepmother wart and let’s stop assuming no woman could love children that aren’t their own as if they are.  I have no doubt in my mind that if Lane and I ever have a child, I will love all five children (two from my first marriage, M, O, and a long-shot future baby that we’ll call “the urchin” for now) just the same.

Back on the topic of Mother’s Day, I have never expected anything from anyone in celebration of that day.  I’m happy to celebrate the moms of all forms in my life and leave it at that. I suspect Lane and the kids have something up their sleeve but if I’m wrong, that’s okay.  It’s not about special recognition for me, it’s more important that (especially as women) we all start to respect the roles people play in children’s lives.  I’m blessed to have children in my life who love me enough to call me their stepmother and there’s no better way to recognize it than that.  Although, if someone really needs to show me they care, on Mother’s Day or any day, cinnamon rolls are one great way to do that.  I won’t turn down cinnamon rolls.  They’re simple, and gooey and comforting.  They take some effort, and I’m a firm believer that sometimes, the effort is the biggest part of a gift.  The effort for these is minimized by using a bread machine (that could also be a great gift for mom!), but you can make them without one as well.

bread machine cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Buns


for the dough:

  • 1 C. plus 2 Tbsp. warm milk
  • 3 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 4 C. flour (possibly more)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. yeast

for the filling:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2/3 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon

for the icing:

  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1 1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the dough using a bread machine, place the dough ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order listed.  Select the dough cycle and wait for the cycle to complete.  Check the dough after the first few minutes of the cycle and add a little more flour if necessary.

To make the dough without a bread machine, add 1 tsp. of the sugar to the warm milk and stir in the yeast.  Allow the mixture to sit for a minute.  In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), combine the vegetable oil, eggs, salt and sugar.  Add in 2 C. of the flour and the milk mixture and mix to combine.  Mix in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and easy to handle.  Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes or in a stand mixer using a dough hook for 5-10 minutes.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When the dough cycle is finished, or the dough has completed rising if making the dough by hand, roll the dough into a large rectangle (roughly 15×9 inches) on a well-floured surface.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Spread the melted butter over the dough.

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the buttered dough.

Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the long side, like a jelly-roll.

Cut the dough into 15 rolls (about 1″ each) and place the rolls into two greased round cake pans.

At this point, you can cover the unbaked rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight, then bake in the morning if desired (if this is your plan, skip pre-heating the oven).

Bake for 20 minutes, until browned.

While the rolls bake, combine all ingredients for icing in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer) until smooth.

Spread icing over cinnamon rolls as soon as the rolls come out of the oven.

Makes 15 cinnamon rolls.

Source: adapted from Money Saving Mom

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