Year One | 2020

Week 52: End of Year One!

It’s been a year, and I’ve baked 51 breads. I have learned so much, and am realizing that there is still a lot more out there to discover. So, I guess I’ll keep going. We’ve been in #lockdown for a year now. Folks are starting to get vaccinated and I’m starting to see a little […]

Week 51: Bagels

Unless you live in New York (or Montreal, strangely enough), you’re surrounded by people who complain that they can’t get a decent bagel anywhere.* But, it doesn’t matter where you live, because a perfectly satisfying version can made at home! Follow a method that incorporates a.) proofing the dough overnight, b.) boiling them before baking […]

Week 50: Sfilati

ITALY: These oven-baked wider-than-grissinis (Italian breadsticks) are inspired by the traditional long and thin Italian sfilatino which is similar to a French baguette. These were so much fun to make; there’s no kneading involved because the dough is so wet. It won’t seem like you can actualy shape the sticks from this wet, airy dough, […]

Week 49: Fig & Walnut Whole Wheat (25%)

A healthier version of Week 3: Boule, with an overnight fermentation for added flavor. I like making two small rounds because it’s easier to slice individual pieces, and it’s handy to have one in the freezer, or an extra to give away. This bread is really good toasted, then topped with goat cheese and a […]

Week 48: Panmarino

ITALY: I made this rosemary bread with potatoes, which is not traditional, but it’s a common loaf in the bakeries around here. In Italy it is often scored with an asterix, and sprinkled with flakey salt – in an effort to recreate a bread that Luciano Pancalde read about that was described as having a […]

Week 47: Stenalder Brød

DENMARK: This seed and nut loaf is from the KONG HANS KÆLDER restaurant in Copenhagen. According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, the staff came up with this loaf when they decided to go on a Paleo diet — and named it after the Nordic Stone Age, Stendalder. It became Denmark’s most popular recipe, to the […]

Week 46: Scaccia

SICILY: Lasagna bread! How cool is this?! Made with semolina flour, and filled with layers of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, onions and sometimes eggplant (depending on the region and season). The outer layer of dough bakes up crispy, like bread, but the inner layers are soft, like pasta. Scaccia (“drive away” in Sicilian) is a […]

Week 45: Honey White

Who out there is tired of artisan breads? I sure am, so this week I’m baking up a soft, squishy white bread, perfect for those of us nostalgic for the PB&J, grilled (American) cheese, mayo and tomato, and/or egg salad sandwiches of our youth. Or, be like a millennial and make some avocado toast! 🙂 […]

WEEK 44: Breakfast Bread

The perfect loaf for when you’ve got to dash out the door before breakfast. Made with museli, dried fruit and nuts, and whole wheat and white flours, it’s as nutricious as it is delicious! Make two, and you can freeze one to always have on hand.

Week 43: Gâteau des Rois (King’s Cake)

NEW ORLEANS: This is old school king cae — the one I grew up eating in New Orleans. Not too sweet, no cinnamon swirl, no cream cheese filling, and no icing. If you are younger than me, you probably enjoyed those versions, as they are what’s commonly made now. King Arthur Baking Company’s Mardi Gras […]

Week 42: Weihnachtsstollen

GERMANY: Christmas stollen represents the warmth of the Christmas season, and its thick coat of powdered sugar reminds us of a snowy German landscape, and to some, symbolizes the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. Stollen can be “aged” for 2 ~ 3 weeks before eating, just wrap it tightly, and keep it in a cool […]

Week 41: Cinammon Rolls

These “Perfectly Pillowy Cinammon Rolls” are King Arthur Baking Company’s 2020 Recipe of the Year. What really makes them stand out is that they can be made a day (or two or three) ahead of time without losing their fluffy structure. I read all 389+ comments so you don’t have to, and listed reviewers’ tips […]

Week 40: Pane Siciliano

ITALY: Finally, an opportunity to use semolina flour – the sandy flour made from durum wheat which is what’s commonly used for pasta (although pasta is usually made from “fancy durum” which is a finer grind). The sweet, nutty flavor of semolina combined with toasty sesame seeds is really delicious — and the fancy “S” […]

Week 39: Pão de Milho Verde

BRAZIL: A sweet yeasted cornbread, popular in Portugal and Brazil. The linked video (in Portuguese) gives instruction for making a loaf, but these would also be good as dinner rolls. I’ve translated the ingredients below, so you can measure everything out and then follow along even if you don’t understand. I’m so happy I came […]

WEEK 38: Anadama

NEW ENGLAND: This yeast bread originated on the North Shore of Boston in 1850. There are lots of versions using a variety of flours (white, whole wheat and/or rye) but they all contain cornmeal and molasses, making this sturdy loaf a great alternative to just plain cornbread. Perfect for your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Week 37: Pumpkin Rolls

USA: These autumn-spiced rolls are just a tad sweet, so are as nice with dinner as they are with afternoon tea. Make a batch of these when fall starts, for practice, and then you can make your second, perfected batch for Thanksgiving. They are shaped by wrapping twine around them before baking; if you’re not […]

Week 36: Rustic Bâtard

FRANCE: The bastard son of a baguette, named so because it’s shape was not round like a boule. “Rustic” because it’s got some whole wheat mixed in.

Week 35: Harvest Bread

USA: This tea loaf is filled with the flavors of fall: pumpkin, apples, pears, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Make it in mini loaf pans, and you’ve got the perfect gift for the holidays! You can also make one loaf in a 8″ x 4″ or 9 ” x 5″ loaf pan. Preheat the oven […]

Week 34: Kaisersemmel

AUSTRIA: Often called hard rolls in the U.S., these “emperor’s rolls” are mostly eaten for breakfast in Austria, with butter and jam. I couldn’t really master the “fold and tuck” method of shaping the dough, so tied them in knots instead — no easy feat either! These are a sturdier alternative to Week 10’s Burger […]

Week 33: Schiacciata con l’Uva

ITALY: Also known as “winemaker’s foccacia”, this salty-sweet flatbread from Tuscany is traditionally made in the fall using grapes from the harvest. The dough has just of touch of sweetness, and some of the water is replaced with a sweet white wine (both of which makes the dough a little denser than the typical airy […]

Week 32: Sweet Potato Biscuits

OREGON: I found this on the inside of a box of Tillamook unsweetened butter. And then I found this instructional video courtesy of Alex Town of Pine State Biscuits in Portland, OR.

Week 31: Hoagie Rolls

Rumour has it that hoagie rolls got their name from the “hoggie” sandwiches made by Italian immigrants who worked at the Hog Island shipyard in Philedephia during WWI. Call them what you will, (“subs” in North Jersey, “hoagies” in South Jersey, “heroes” in NYC, and “grinders” if you’re from New England), but the style of […]

Week 30: Limpa

SWEDEN: Limpa is actually the Swedish word for any loaf of bread, but here in America, it’s the term we use for this slightly sweet rye bread flavored with molasses and scented with cardamon, fennel, anise and orange. You can bake it free-form, but it tends to spread, so I prefer using a 8.5″ x […]

Week 29: Pizza Dough (II)

On week 17, I decided to make pizza – the kind you can whip up when you just don’t feel like cooking. We called it “good enough” pizza because although tasty and easy, it wasn’t what you’d make if you were hankering for something better than delivery. We’ve been home now for 29 weeks (203 […]

Week 28: Cinnamon Swirl

Another fool-proof recipe from King Arthur Baking Company. I’ve linked to the video that shows you every step of the process and listed the ingredients below so you can get everything measured out and then just follow along. Your own private cooking class!

Week 27: Clover-leaf Rolls

Fun to make, and delicious to eat! Because they are made with an “enriched” dough (dough that contains butter and milk), they can be made a day ahead and then reheated in the oven just prior to serving.

Week 26: Baguette au Chocolat

FRANCE: This is unlike any bread you’ve every had. It manages to be full of chocolate flavor with out the cloying sweetness. You need time, though, because it calls for an overnight rise, which is actually perfect because you can prepare the dough in the evening, then shape and pop them in the oven next […]

Week 25: Dutch Baby

SEATTLE: (Manca’s Cafe): So quick, so easy and so delicious! Make it in five, eat it in twenty. Serve with jam and plain yogurt, or powdered sugar and lemon. OR, skip the sugar and add canned chilies (or jalapenos) and serve with grated cheese. YUM.

Week 24: Laugenbrezel

GERMANY: Buy a pretzel in Germany, and it most probably won’t come with mustard unless you’ve ordered a sausage to go along with it. Instead, it might be served sliced in half with butter, or with some obazda, a cheese-based dip made with an unusual combination of ingredients (recipe below). It’s also most probably been […]

Week 23: Po-Boy Rolls

NEW ORLEANS: This unique bread, like a cross between a baguette and a hot dog bun, is also known as New Orleans French bread, and is what makes the famous Po Boy one of the best sandwiches in the world. You can get po-boys outside of New Orleans, but it won’t be the same if […]

Week 22: Multigrain

This nutricious loaf, made from oats, rye, whole wheat, white and brown rice flour is super easy to make and can be made in a single day (no overnight soak, which many methods call for when using flours like rye and whole wheat). It has a soft, dense crumb, crisp sturdy crust, and is so […]

Week 21: 100% Whole Wheat

This is an uncomplicated, straight-forward loaf. I was aiming for the simplest, shortest method, with the most basic ingredients (no dairy/eggs) without sacrificing taste and texture. And this is it! A soft, chewy, absolutely delicious loaf. It’s a perfect for “working from home” loaf because the short steps are worked hours apart.

Week 20: Panne all’Olive

ITALY: This is Sullivan Street Bakery’s signature loaf, using the famous no-knead method made popular by the owner, Jim Lahey. His technique involves an overnight fermentation, which is how you get the gluten strands to develop that would otherwise form during the kneading process. It’s a wet dough, so kind of hard to work with, […]

Week 19: Russian Rye

Americans don’t eat enough rye breads. Peter Reinhart, author of the Bread Bakers Apprentice likens them to IPAs, “When you get hooked, you really get hooked, just like when somebody falls for a strong IPA beer. Then all of a sudden nothing else satisfies you.” I’m starting to agree with him. This is a dark, […]

Week 18: Hot Dog Buns

USA: Although the Germans have been putting their sausages in bread long before the Americans, the buns used for American hot dogs came to be when Mr. Charles Feltman invented an elongated bun on Coney Island in 1871. I love this recipe; it produces soft, squishy buns in under an hour. It’s a great dough, […]

WEEK 17: Pizza Dough (I)

This is a “good-enough” pizza dough. Perfect for beginners. You can make it, top it and bake it in the time it takes to get one delivered. I substitute beer for water, because of the short rise time. This gives it that yeasty flavor which would otherwise naturally develop during a longer rise time.

Week 16: Emigrant’s Soda Bread

U.S.: This is how the Irish emigrants to America made soda bread, since there were more ingredients readily available. See the Irish Soda Bread recipe, using all white flour, and then add

Week 15: Shortcakes

ENGLAND: An authentic shortcake should be like a cross between a biscuit and a pie crust: dense, buttery and with just a hint of sweetness. These are spectacular!

Week 14: Pain de Mei

FRANCE: This perfectly square loaf is baked in a pan with a lid, resulting in a soft, thin crust and tight, tender crumb. It’s reminiscent of Wonder Bread’s more sophisticated cousin, Pepperidge Farm White, and smells heavenly. The shape, texture and lack of crust make it the perfect foil for sandwiches and canapes, and if […]

WEEK 13: Irish Soda Bread

IRELAND: Soda bread is a daily bread that was made by every Irish household with ingredients affordable to all. Dump everything in a bowl, mix it with your hand, and it’s ready to pop in the oven in under 5 minutes. I used 50/50 whole wheat and white flour; but it can be all white […]

Week 12: Bolillos

MEXICO: Bolillos are the most popular savory bread in Mexico. I loved making these little sandwich rolls. They’ve got a sturdy crisp crust, and are soft and dense inside. I still haven’t perfected scoring, and came across a suggestion to use scissors. The slashes ended up rising into little peaks, which was not the look […]

Week 11: Sandwich Rye

This is the first of three rye breads on my list, and a great loaf for beginners. It’s a sturdy, easy, straight forward recipe, and doesn’t take a lot of active time, which makes it perfect for those of us “baking while working”. I’ve doubled the caraway seeds, for just a little more flavor.

Week 10: Burger Buns

These are THE BEST. Made with a tangzhong, a warm flour-and-water paste traditionally used in China, and using less butter than a true brioche. These are a snap to make if you have a stand mixer, and come out soft and fluffy. Mine didn’t take nearly as much time to rise as Joshua’s, so watch […]

Week 9: Focaccia

ITALY: A thick, airy, flat bread with a lot of potential. It’s delicious with the traditional topping of olive oil, salt and rosemary. Or, you can join the Focaccia Bread Art movement and make it a meal. I tested a few quicker versions, with just one rise time, but this version, with a super wet […]

Week 8: Raisin Bread

This no-swirl version from King Arthur Flour, distributes the raisins and cinnamon evenly throughout, and avoids big gaps that can be created by the melted butter in the swirl. Plus, it’s much easier this way! I tested an artisan, free form version, but preferred this slightly squishy loaf. If you prefer a swirled version, check […]

Week 7: Naan

INDIA: An easy, quick version of this flat bread, made with baking soda instead of yeast, cutting the time down drastically. Order take out, and your naan will be ready by the time it arrives. This is the version presented to contestants on the Great British Baking Show as their technical challenge (S9E3).

Week 6: Baguette

FRANCE: A long, thin loaf with a airy center and thin, crisp crust. It’s a wet dough, so hard to manage. We learned some new methods: “turning” the dough, and using water to keep it from sticking. John’s got a soothing, calm voice, and talks us through every step of the process.

Week 5: Amish Rolls

USA: These dinner rolls last a bit longer than most because of the addition of mashed potatoes. Very detailed instructions from the King Arthur Flour website, a favorite.

Week 4: Pita

MIDDLE EAST/MEDITERRANEAN: Wow. Pita is hard to make. Making the dough is easy enough, with a stand mixer, and a pleasure to work with. Getting them to puff up to create the pocket is a different matter, and after lots of experimentation, I settled on the stove top method rather than using the oven.

Week 3: Boule

FRANCE: A round, heavy loaf baked in a pot with a lid (it doesn’t have to be a dutch oven). I chose this version because of the detailed instructions, great videos, delicious taste, and the no-knead method. If you learn how to make just one bread this should be the one. The perfect loaf to […]

Week 2: Ciabatta

ITALY: The perfect ciabatta is full of holes, and has a sturdy, crisp crust. You can make one loaf, or divide into to eight for individual sandwiches. We chose this version because it offers the chance to knead by hand, and goes into great detail for handling wet dough. Erin gives a good explanation on […]

Week 1: English Muffins

ENGLAND: We love these robust English muffins. You shape the dough into balls and flatten (no rolling out & using a biscuit cutter). To guarantee doneness, they are cooked on the stove-top, then finished in the oven.