Category Archives: Bread.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is the new breakfast of champions. There’s some whole wheat flour in here, but it’s still buttery soft… it takes two rises, though, so maybe make the dough the night before you want to eat it, and let it do its first (or even second) rise overnight.

I got the original recipe here. It makes two loaves, which you can freeze for up to three months.


for the dough:
1 cup raisins
1 cup warm water
1 T active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten

Make It:

Rehydrate your raisins in a dish of hot water for ten minutes, then dry them with a paper towel.

Proof the yeast in the hot water; once it blooms, add in the milk and melted butter. Combine the flours and salt in a bowl, mixing to combine, then pour in the wet ingredients and fold into a shaggy dough. Knead until you have smooth, elastic, slightly sticky dough. Fold in your raisins– don’t worry if they aren’t too evenly distributed yet, because you’re going to roll the dough out later. Break into two balls and let rise, covered, until doubled in volume (maybe an hour or so, but sitting longer doesn’t hurt it.)

Meanwhile, combine your cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. When your dough is sufficiently puffy, punch it down and roll each ball out, roughly eight inches by eighteen inches. Brush each rolled ball with egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Roll up into a log, then let rise in greased loaf pan another hour.

Brush the loaves with the remaining egg wash (for a nice, shiny crust!) Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. 


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Healthy Banana Muffins

Well, I can’t eat bananas fast enough. I like them with some brown spots, so I wait and wait and then… BAM! Too many bananas. Luckily, I have this healthy– downright virtuous!– muffin recipe (based off this one) to convert those babies into breakfast or an afternoon snack. They’re not too sweet; I like to spread honey or peanut butter on them. And the secret ingredient? A little garam masala for complexity elevates these babies from run-of-the-mill to spectacular. Go ahead, have two. If you eat them warmed up, you can’t even tell they’re good for you.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (available in the spice section)
2 eggs
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup skim milk
2 mashed ripe bananas
Make Em:
Preheat your oven to 375, and line a muffin tin with liners.
Combine all ingredients and stir until you have a chunky, dough-like batter. Spoon into muffin tins so they’re about 3/4 full. Put the tin in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins “spring back” when you press lightly on the tops.  Let cool slightly before enjoying.

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

I’m an early riser– I try to get my workout in before I go to work at 7:30 in the morning. A portable breakfast, then, is key. Usually I take a Fage yogurt with me, but since I’m trying to use up everything in my pantry, I decided to make some healthy(ish) muffins instead. I had peanut butter on hand, and dried cranberries, so that’s what I used in my modification of the recipe here. They turned out really great!


1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tsp safflower oil

2 T Greek yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or you could use peanuts, chocolate chips, whatever.)

Make Em:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Let cool on wire racks before trying!

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Even Better Naan

I have posted a naan recipe here before, and it’s good, but not as good as this one. This recipe yielded crispy, fluffy naan that was almost like pretzel dough. Authentic it was not, but delicious? Definitely. It was a great complement to our chicken vindaloo.

This recipe is based on one from the Chicago Tribune, which called for the dough to be cooked on an overturned cast iron skillet under a broiler. I haven’t invested in a cast iron skillet yet, but Captain Crunch and I had no problem using a grill pan on the stove top.

The Captain in action


1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon yeast

pinch of sugar

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

5 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

2 cups bread flour

Flaky sea salt (really not necessary, but highly recommended)

Make Em:

Heat the milk to 1105-110 degrees, then add the yeast and sugar to proof. While waiting for the milk mixture to foam up, combine the salt and flour in a large bowl. Once the yeast has bloomed, stir the butter and yogurt into the liquid. Combine with flour and knead into a soft, elastic dough. Coat a bowl with melted butter and let the dough rise in it for an hour in a warm place.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into four balls, and roll those balls out into long ovals. Prepare a grill pan with melted butter and lay the dough on the pan to cook in batches over high heat, a few minutes per side, flipping once the dough has dark grill marks on it. Fold the naan in half and serve warm.

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Soft, Salty Pretzels

My family is big into Sam’s Club.

When we were kids my brothers and I could drink a gallon of milk a day, and once we learned how to use the oven, we burned (usually figuratively, sometimes literally) through frozen pizzas at an alarming rate. One of my favorite things from the jumbo-sized retailer were microwaveable soft pretzels. Except they weren’t actually very good– they were hard and flavorless and probably packed with preservatives. But I loved the idea of a soft pretzel– a little salty, warm and fluffy… and today, I made them myself. Forget the giant box in the freezer section. These are fun to make and not as hard as you’d think! The recipe is a halved variation on this one.


1 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup warm water (maybe plus a little more. I added a few more teaspoons but I often do.)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon iodized salt

1 T baking soda

some cornmeal to dust the baking sheet

3 cups of water, plus 1 teaspoon

1 egg

kosher salt

Make Em:

Proof the yeast in the water with the sugar added. Combine the flours and salt, then pour in the dissolved yeast and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, maybe 5 minutes or so. The dough at this point should be sticky, but not stuck to your hands… add flour as necessary. Let rise one hour, covered, in a warm place.

Divide the dough into six balls. Roll each ball into a long, thin rope about a 15-18 inches long. Form a circle, leaving a few

inches on each end. Twist the ends once and then bring them to the inside of the circle in a pretzel shape. (Although you could put them in any shape you please, really. Pretzel bread, circles, hearts… follow your bliss.) Pinch the ends into the circle. Let rest while you boil 3 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda added.

Like this.

Preheat oven to 425. Reduce heat on water to medium. Drop pretzels, one by one, into simmering water. Flip after fifteen seconds (they should be floating) and then drain on a plate. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Once drained, place pretzels on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Mix one egg with one teaspoon of water and lightly brush pretzels with egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 12 minutes until golden and fabulous.

Makes six pretzels… four if you immediately eat two of them. Enjoy!

Ready for the Oven

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So I made Chicken Curry last week– and then I got really excited and didn’t photograph it, sorry… I’ll make some more and share it with you. To go with this last post, Chicken Curry, one needs naan. Ironically, I messed up the recipe for that and didn’t make it successfully until tonight… more on that below.

Naan is “bread” in several central Asian languages. Traditionally one makes naan, at least for Indian cuisine, in a tandoor– a clay oven. I have no clay oven. Stove-top’ll have to do.

I’m taking my cues for this endeavor from a blog with possibly the coolest name ever, Avocado & Bravado.


1/2 cup warm water

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2-1/2 cups flour (she uses all-purpose, I’m going with 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 bread)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1 egg, beaten

butter for greasing, cooking, and brushing (Or ghee, clarified butter, if you have it. I do not.)

Make Em:

Combine yeast, water, and sugar to proof. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, oil, yogurt, and egg. Mix well, then add the yeast mixture and mix again, kneading to form a soft dough. Add more flour as needed. Divide into eight balls. Grease a large bowl and put the flour inside, covered with Saran wrap, to rise for about an hour.

Once the balls have risen to about double their original size, flatten them with your hands and then stretch them out thinly into flatbread. You could use a rolling pan, but I thought pulling on it was more fun. 

Heat a little butter (just a little!) in a large pan. Add the naan, one at a time, and cook until “blistered and golden brown.” Flip and repeat on the other side, and repeat with all eight balls. Brush with butter, if desired, then serve.

Kitchen Catastrophe! The first time I tried to make naan, I was in a hurry so I put it in the oven on warm to rise. Except I didn’t cover it. Lesson learned: If you’re gonna rise dough in the oven… cover it, or you’ll be sad.

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Making Friends With Crepes

So there’s a crepe restaurant here in Charlottesville. And everybody loves the crepe restaurant. Except me. I’m not really all that into crepes.

See? Everyone but me.

I had them in Paris, back in the 90s, and they were fine, I guess– lackluster pancakes, really. I just wasn’t all that enthused. But now, it’s 2011, and I have some leftover melted chocolate from the strawberries, which I’ve mixed with peanut butter. Which would be really good on… crepes.

We’re going to get liberal with this recipe from Alton Brown.


1 egg

1/4 cup plus a splash more of milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup flour

1-1/2 T butter, melted, plus extra for the pan

1 T sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Make Em:

Mix all the ingredients in a blender, then let the batter sit in the fridge for an hour. (Mr. Brown says this will keep the crepes from tearing.) Then heat up a nonstick pan and coat it with butter. Pour batter into the pan like you would pancakes, flipping and cooking on each side. This should make 6-7 crepes.

Crepes can be served with lemon and powdered sugar, or strawberries, or banana, or plain, or whatever. You can also make them savory, with sausage or spinach… I mean, it’s flour and an egg, right? It goes with everything. I’m serving mine with sliced strawberries and chocolate/peanut butter sauce.

Yum! I may just like crepes after all.

Do you have a food that you never really liked until one day, you just… did? What is it?


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