Shakshuka with Sourdough Flatbreads

5 Dec

I love homemade Shakshuka, but for me it’s an excuse to make good bread. Here’s my flatbreads recipe and an easy Matbucha sauce to go with it. Serve with fried eggs and garnishes of fresh parsley and feta cheese.

Flax, Chia and Sesame Seed Bread

26 Nov

I decided it was time to make a soft sandwich bread but wanted it to have some healthy ingredients. I found this recipe for dinner rolls and made a few adjustments for loaf breads. I included the sourdough and an overnight cool rise to develop the flavor.

To grind the seeds I used my Krups coffee mill which did a splendid job with the flax and chia seeds. Grinding these seeds makes them more digestable.

So here’s my recipe!

Lithuanian Table Bread or Rolls

21 Nov

I found a recipe for a light sourdough rye bread and decided to try it out with my newly made sourdough starter.

I made some changes to the above recipe, with happy results (taking the risk that reducing the proportion of rye flour would be a sacrilege). My loaves have a lovely flavor and light, chewy texture.

Here’s my recipe:

This recipe for a sourdough starter is a winner!

Cheddar and Chickpea Rolls

12 Nov

Sometimes I get a craving for a cheese bread. I had some sharp cheddar cheese and roasted chickpea snacks so here’s the recipe that evolved. The addition of a little corn flour improved the texture so there’s a little chewiness and crunch.

It turned out really great!

The roasted chickpeas

Vegetarian Chili Soup

30 Oct

What to serve with great homemade bread? A great soup! The one exotic ingredient is smoked salt, but it’s a better alternative to using bacon. You probably won’t find it in a grocery store but it’s available on and Ebay.

Italian Sourdough Multi-grain Walnut Rolls

30 Oct

These rolls were inspired by a recipe for a multi-grain walnut bread in the Italian Baker cookbook by Carol Fields.

I looked online for a sourdough version and found this:

In my adaptation I scaled down the ingredients to a smaller batch for rolls.

Tomato Jam

25 Oct

Here’s my version of this delicious jam. It goes really well with whole grain breads.

Tomato Jam
2 lbs. tomatoes (any variety), cored
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin 

1. Cut the tomatoes into fourths and put one pound in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times and transfer tomatoes to a dutch oven. Do the same with the remaining pound of cut tomatoes. Add all remaining ingredients with the exception of the gelatin. 
2. Bring tomato mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture has thickened considerably for about an hour. 
3. Taste, adjust seasoning and remove from heat. 
4. Dissolve gelatin in a glass measuring cup with 1/4 cup water. Heat gelatin in the microwave for 30 seconds . Add to the tomato jam and cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. 
5. Remove from the heat and cool. Spoon into jam jars and seal. 
6. Refrigerate. Jam will last for several weeks until opened. 

Buckwheat Sourdough Rolls

21 Oct

These rolls were inspired by Mykola Nevrev’s Buckwheat Baguettes.

I made a few modifications in the ingredients and technique to produce these amazing rolls. They have a complex flavor, good crumb texture and lots of crunch.

Pain au Cereales

29 Aug

Despite the name, this is a seeded bread. My version is an adaptation of Eric Kayser’s recipe. Specifically I used an overnight cool rise in the refrigerator which makes this a two-day project. I used a mix of sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds and a small amount of chia seeds.

Multi-grain Sourdough Bread or Rolls

26 Aug

I have a new sourdough starter, brought back from a recent visit to the Berkshire Mountain Bakery.

This is a recipe I developed for sourdough multi-grain rolls, flavored with walnuts, raisins and orange zest. I used Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli mix – it contains whole grain wheat, dates, sunflower seeds, raisins, whole grain rye, barley, whole grain oats, whole grain triticale wheat, almonds, flaxseed and walnuts. I add the muesli dry instead of soaking it as in many recipes.

Improvised Bread Baking

6 Aug

Our vacation apartment has a beautiful Bosch gas convection oven,

so I decided to bake bread. For my ingredients, I went to the Berkshire Mountain Bakery where they were happy to give me a sample of their sourdough starter. Then I found a variety of bread flours at the Berkshire Food Co-op.

But… first loaves looked good but came out uncooked on the bottom.

So the remedy was obviously to use baking stones. After several days of phone calls and searching online I discovered that the only way to get a baking stone was to mail order it. That would delay receiving it for a week and a half – not worth the effort or expense.

After a lot of brainstorming, I decided to look around the property for left over (unglazed) tiles or paving stones. We discovered some intact and broken paving stones behind the barn! There were two broken pieces that would fit in our oven, so here they are:

The next issue was baking pans or dishes. Here’s what we found in the cupboard: an all metal frying pan and a pyrex glass casserole. (That’s parchment paper under the loaves).

So the next time I used a favorite recipe – Multi-grain Sourdough Walnut Bread -with much better results overall.


14 Jul

I like eggplant! I usually prepare it pan roasted, but when I have some extra motivation I make caponata. My recipe is basic, but more elaborate recipes include olives, capers, anchovies and pine nuts. Or try this one, with chocolate.

Sprayer for olive oil

Favorite Asian Peanut Sauce

9 Jul

It’s taken a while to find my favorite recipe for peanut sauce. This goes well with a number of Asian dishers, especially Vietnamese Summer Rolls, Thai Rama Tofu, Indonesia Gado-Gado.

Mango Chutney

25 Jun

I like to substitute nigella seeds for the traditional spices in this chutney.

I borrowed from this recipe

to create this one:

Buckwheat Bread Eric Kayser

27 May

French chef Eric Kayser must be a generous fellow, considering all the free bread baking recipes and videos he has on the Internet.

I’m a fan of buckwheat bread and I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe. Here’s my adaptation of a Maison Kayser Bakery recipe. The ingredients are pretty basic but the sourdough starter makes a difference in the texture and taste (delicious!). Buckwheat flour can be hard to find – I buy it at my local Asian grocery store, where it’s sold as Kuttu flour, an Indian import. I also substituted molasses for the roasted malt.

Sourdough Struan Bread

16 May

This version of a Struan bread varies from a standard recipe in several ways. First, instead of cornmeal and rice I substitute Bob’s Red Mill meusli. This mix contains, whole wheat, dates, sunflower seeds, raisins, rye, barley, oats, triticale wheat, almonds, flaxseed and walnuts. Second, instead of the buttermilk I used cottage cheese. And third, I added a sourdough starter in addition to dry yeast for leavening.

Special Occasion Multigrain Sourdough

13 May

This is a modification of my original recipe which uses a sponge starter. I’ve progressed to using sourdough starters for many breads. In this case, I have a rye sourdough base that I make with 50/50 wheat and rye flours. It’s original, but it works. I also recommend using a good muesli mix – Bob’s Red Mill brand.

Cornmeal Yeast Rolls

7 May

Here’s a departure from my usual multi-grain yeast breads – a soft roll with white and corn flours. This recipe is easy to make and appeals to all ages.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Rolls with Raisins and Walnuts

20 Apr

This week I visited the Levain Bakery in Bethesda, Md. I found something interesting – a whole wheat raisin-walnut roll. It was terrific and apparently has a “cult following” in the neighborhood.

This was my challenge, to bake these rolls myself. I’ve always had difficulty with whole wheat yeast breads, which don’t rise well. After much online research, I decided to adapt a basic whole wheat yeast bread recipe by using yeast and a sourdough starter. Here’s my recipe, which was a success!

Cranberry Sourdough Sandwich Loaf

14 Apr

This is another recipe that combines sourdough starter and dry yeast. I prepare the starter on the first day and mix the dough in the evening. Then the dough has a cool rise overnight in the refrigerator. The loaves are shaped and baked the next day.

Multigrain Sourdough Walnut Bread

10 Apr

The King Arthur flour website inspired me with this recipe for a multigrain bread that uses sourdough plus yeast. I modified the recipe to a two-day process with a cool rise overnight in the refrigerator. For extra flavor nd nutrition, I added walnuts and orange zest.

Sourdough, Whole Wheat and Rye with added yeast

3 Apr

I’m new to baking sourdough breads, so I’ve been trying out a few recipes that use a sourdough starter and added yeast.

Here’s a good one from King Arthur Baking.

My major adaptation of this recipe was to mix the dough and refrigerate it overnight (after step # 3). Then the next morning I did three sets of stretch-and-fold, each 30 minutes apart. Then I continued with the directions, starting from step #4.

I made two small loaves, which turned out to have amazing flavor and texture. The milk in the recipe gives the bread a softer texture than you would get if you used water.

Early American Cottage Bread – updated

14 Mar

Here are the recipes I found for this multi-grain loaf:

BBC Good Food

Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Bread Experience

For my version, I used an overnight starter and mixed the dough the next day. I also substituted some buckwheat flour for the wheat bran and added a small amount of grated feta cheese and lemon zest. The cheese lightens the bread texture and adds nutrition.

feta with tomato and basil

Chicken, Rice and Corn Soup

2 Mar

This is a healthy vegetable soup that uses chicken broth and a wild rice mixture as a base. It’s quick to make with an Instant Pot, immersion blender and some convenience ingredients (chicken broth and frozen corn). A little preserved lemon gives the soup a more exotic flavor.

Here’s the 12 grain rice mix

*And a recipe for Preserved Lemons.

Daktyla – Greek Village Bread

27 Feb

I adapted this recipe by adding an overnight starter, to develop the flavor and texture. I found an extra fine grind of cornmeal to substitute for corn flour, which is hard to find. This is one of my recent experiments working with yeasted cornbreads. Usually, the less cornmeal the better since it has no gluten.

Greek Village Bread uses the finest grind of cornmeal

Struan Multi-grain Bread

22 Feb

Historically the Struan is made in Scotland during the harvest festival of Michaelmas (a celebration that takes place at the end of September and marks the end of the harvest). The Scots baked a traditional harvest bread or cake (or bannock) made of oats, barley and rye (the fruits of the harvest) in honor of St. Michael. The Feast of St. Michael celebrated on September 29 has become a combined feast for the archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. This feast is also called Michaelmas and is largely celebrated in the British Isles and Europe in many countries. The Struan is sometimes baked in remembrance of absent friends or those who had died. Special Struans, blessed at an early morning Mass, were given to the poor in their names.

This is a popular multigrain bread recipe with many variations available online.

Freeform loaves
The light texture is great for sandwiches

Loaves with Spelt, Oats and Rye

6 Feb

This recipe was inspired by an Italian baking website, Fratelli Ai Fornelli. Here’s the original:

Soft Loaves with Spelt and Rye

My recipe is an adaptation using similar ingredients but using a two-day process with an ovenight starter.

dough rising under bowls
Loaves on baking stones, covered with metal bowls during baking

Amy’s Whole Wheat Raisin Bread

26 Jan

Amy Scherber of the Amy’s Bread Bakery in New York – inspired me to bake a whole wheat bread with raisins. This recipe starts with a sponge that is refrigerated overnight. The next morning you mix up the rest of the ingredients and bake delicious bread later in the day.

Here is my version, with adaptations:

Great lightly toasted and spread with peanut butter!

Some special techniques that I recommend for this recipe:

  1. “Stretch-and-Fold”. This is a gentle kneading technique that develops the texture and gluten in dough, without adding extra flour.
  2. Bake with baking stones and inverted metal bowls over the dough.

Amazing Buckwheat Walnut Bread

14 Jan

I’ve been wanting to make a yeast-raised buckwheat bread for several years. I’ve bought some at French bakeries in New York and even in big cities in the Balkan countries.

The first challenge was finding buckwheat flour. It’s available from specialty stores online but too expensive when you add shipping costs. Then a few days ago I spotted an array of flours in the India section of my local Asian/International grocery store (Lotte Market). One package was labeled “Kuttu flour”. I looked up “kuttu” on my smart phone, and discovered it was buckwheat flour. I grabbed a package for $2.99 for 14 oz.

Indian buckwheat flour, front
Indian buckwheat flour, back

At home I researched yeast-raised buckwheat bread recipes online. Most of the recipes were french or italian in origin so I had to convert ingredients from grams to cups, which is my preference.

Here’s the recipe I started with:

And here’s my version with adjustments and converting grams to cups:

Loaves right out of the oven
Loaves sliced, with walnuts inside

The important factor in making buckwheat bread is to go light on the buckwheat flour, in proportion to other flours. Buckwheat is a very strong flavor and a little goes a long way. Please note that I used less 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour in my recipe. Also I reduced the whole wheat flour to a half cup and substituted bread and all purpose flours. Reducing the proportion of whole wheat to white flours gives the bread a lighter texture.

Fourneau Baking Insert

8 Jan

This is a cast iron insert for your oven

Here’s a description of how to bake great bread with the Fourneau oven insert, including a few recipes:

Multi-grain Sandwich Loaf

7 Jan

This bread has a high percentage of healthy grains (oats, whole wheat, barley, rye, flax, buckwheat) and is enriched with milk and egg. Here’s the multi-grain mix I use –

The recipe –

Inverted metal bowls help dough rise and prevent over-browning in the oven

Wild Rice and Onion Bread

3 Jan

This is my adaptation from a Peter Reinhart recipe:

My recipe (below) makes one large loaf or two small ones. I increased the amount of cooked rice and substituted a 12 grain rice mix for wild rice. You can also use Lundberg Wild Rice Blend.

These loaves turned out so yummy with a nice chewy crust. I found it very convenient to mix the dough on the first day, refrigerate it overnight and bake the loaves the following day.

some ingredients for this bread

12 grain rice mix, cooked

Here’s my loaves in the oven. Note they are on baking stones and covered by large metal bowls. This prevents the loaves from browning too quickly.

large metal bowls covering loaves on baking stones

Bean & Tomato Soup

31 Dec

This is a quick soup, with some convenience ingredients and use of an Instant Pot.

Holiday Julkage

30 Dec

Here’s a recipe inspired by a Scandinavian classic.

This is a yeast raised cake that’s indulgent while light on the sugar and butter.

Lookin Good!

The following photos show measuring and chopping the dried fruits and rising the dough under metal bowls.

measuring dried fruit

chopping dried fruit

Adding dried fruit during rising
dough rising under bowls

Dakota Bread

12 Dec

This bread was a revelation! It’s multi-grain but light and full of flavor. Note that the cottage cheese and egg boost the protein in this loaf. Try it as a sandwich bread or accompaniment for a hearty soup.

I found this recipe online:

Here’s my adaptation with an overnight starter –

Caramel Fudge in the Microwave

8 Dec


Easy Caramel Fudge

This easy caramel fudge is sweet, creamy and incredibly addictive. I‘ve adapted the recipe for the microwave.

Author Fiona Dowling


  • 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) pan, parchment paper and a 10 x 10 x 4 inch corningware casserole dish for microwave cooking


  • 7 oz white chocolate chips 200 grams
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter 75 grams
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed 200 grams
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 395 gram tin
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup  30 ml
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 2/3 cup pecans or walnuts


  • Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.
  • Combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup in the casserole dish. Stir gently with metal spoon or plastic spatula/scraper.
  • Put casserole in microwave oven and cook on high for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and stir gently.
  • Return casserole dish to microwave oven and cook on high another 2 minutes. Stir again and check to see if the mixture forms a soft ball that holds it shape when you drop a small amount from the spoon. If it’s still too liquid, microwave one minute more.
  • Now remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the white chocolate, salt and vanilla.
  • Sprinkle the nuts on the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Pour the fudge over the nuts and smooth the top.
  • Cover the fudge with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour. Then use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces. Refrigerate the fudge for several more hours to let it harden.

Walnut Rye Bread

28 Nov

This is my recent adaptation of a rye bread recipe I found online. Basically, I reduced the amount of rye flour, added some whole wheat flour and walnuts, and extended the flavor development with an overnight cool rise.

The result is a nice contrast between the earthy flavors of rye and whole wheat with the buttery crunch of walnuts – plus a hint of caraway.

Multi-grain Breadsticks

22 Nov

These are rustic breadsticks – so easy to make in one day. There are several kinds of multi-grain cereals that work in this recipe. Bob’s Red Mill Meusli is an example.

Golden Harvest Bread

18 Nov

This bread uses butternut squash for flavor, texture and color. You can add craisins and golden raisins for additional sweetness.

The bread has a starter (poolish) prepared overnight, then mixed into the dough the next day and baked.

Multi-grain Rolls with Poolish

25 Oct

This is my latest recipe for special occasion rolls, with the addition of multi-grains. The poolish is a starter that takes only a few minutes to make and rests in the refrigerator overnight. It improves the flavor of the finished product.

You can vary the recipe in many ways if you wish: by substituting whole wheat flour (or spelt flour) for the rye flour in the poolish; or folding in fresh herbs instead of the raisins or cheese.

Pumpernickel Bread with Rye Starter

11 Oct

This bread recipe turned out with great taste and texture. The addition of a small amount of cocoa powder is really a magic ingredient in terms of improving the texture of the crumb and the ability of the bread to rise.

Here is a helpful video of how to add dried fruit to the dough.

Here’s a video demo of the “stretch and fold” technique

All Seasons Tomato Soup

16 Aug

Here is a recipe I use when really good tomatoes are not available. You can substitute vegetable broth/stock or chicken stock if you wish.

Correction: I use Lundberg wild rice blend.

Veggie Cream Cheese

8 Aug

For my homemade recipe I like to use neufchatel or light cream cheese. This makes a quick lunch on homemade bread.

Overnight Rolls for Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

24 Jul

To make bread baking easier, I like to use recipes that use an overnight cool rise in the refrigerator. In this recipe you mix all the ingredients and knead the dough on the first day. After refrigerating the dough overnight, you can take it out in the morning and leave it to warm up and rise at room temperature. By mid-day you can shape the rolls and bake them.

A recipe for Shrimp Salad will follow soon….

Shrimp Salad recipe

Chocolate Fix Brownies

6 Jul

Here’s a recipe from a vintage cookbook called The Nut Cookbook. I decided to make a sweet treat and this recipe was fairly easy to make.

I made some modifications to the recipe: reducing the sugar to 1/3 cup and the shortening to 4 T. I added the gooey frosting by melting 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips with 1 T milk and mixing in about 4 T marshmallow fluff.

Also, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 degrees F for the first 12 minutes and then 300 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes.

Chocolate Chiffon Pie

10 Jun

This is a dessert for a special occasion. The tricky parts involve timing the setting up of the gelatin and incorporating the whipped egg whites. To ensure that the gelatin doesn’t get so “gelled” that you can’t fold in the whipped egg whites: put the chocolate/gelatin mixture in the refrigerator and check it after 30 minutes. If it is just beginning to thicken it is time to add the whipped egg whites. Then, chill the filling mixture in the refrigerator another 30 minutes (approximately) and spoon the filling into the prepared pie crust. After that, it will take a few more hours in the refrigerator before it is set enough to cut and serve.


Summer Squash Salad

17 May

This easy salad combines raw summer squash with carrots, sweet peppers and spring onion.


  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper
  • 1 spring onion


  • 1 T wine vinegar or white wine
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


Peel and discard the outer skin of squash. Use vegetable peeler to make ribbons

Put squash in a medium bowl (glass or stainless steel) and sprinkle with a little salt. Gently mix the squash to distribute the salt. Let this sit out for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, take out a medium sized serving bowl for your dressing.

Combine wine vinegar, lemon juice, oil, sugar and salt in serving bowl. Peel the carrots into ribbons as you did for the squash. Stir the carrots into the dressing. Next, coarsely chop the sweet pepper and spring onion and add to carrots. stir gently to distribute the dressing.

Now it’s time to rinse the squash ribbons with cool water and drain them on a clean towel. Add the squash to salad bowl and gently mix the vegetables.

Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a little more lemon juice, salt or sugar as desired.

Orange/Walnut Bread with Biga

27 Apr

I’ve discovered a two-day technique to get the benefits of a sourdough bread with much less fuss. It involves making a biga (the Italian version of the French poolish, which is a pre-ferment).

Here’s a recipe adapted from the King Arthur Bread website.

This is basically a white bread with the addition of several ingredients that give a softer texture: rye flour, milk powder and oil. The fermented biga along with the orange zest and nuts enhances the flavor. Baking at a relatively high temperature directly on a baking stone adds a nice crisp crust.

This recipe makes a 1 3/4 lb loaf.

Egyptian Sun Bread/Al Shamsi

19 Apr

Al-Shamsi is a popular bread in Egypt and goes back to ancient times.

I’ve longed to find an authentic recipe for the wonderful bread I ate in Egypt during a vacation in 2000. Here is the recipe!

I recently tried the recipe, with a few alterations in technique (see below). The taste – subtly sour with a hint of rye flavor. The texture is light but moderately chewy. The secret is a wet dough – kneaded for a maximum of five minutes in an electric mixer- then by hand with the stretch-and-fold technique. This bread cannot be hurried. I made the starter (biga) a day before. The following day I mixed in the remaining ingredients, combined machine and hand kneading with rest periods in between. I baked the loaf at dinner time. The resting periods not only develop the gluten. They develop flavor. During the kneading/resting periods you can put the dough in the refrigerator and forget about it for several hours, if you wish.

The last rising, before baking, I folded in a small quantity of multigrain cereal and sprinkled more cereal on top.

An aside: If you are superstitious about bread baking, here’s an interesting article about Egyptian bread deities, Isis and Osiris.,ever%2Dliving%20Green%20God%20Osiris.

Some related websites mention that Egyptians have a prayer they recite before eating bread. I haven’t been able to locate it – yet.

Great Lemon Bars

18 Apr

I tried this recipe last night, for a last minute dessert. Wow! Great flavor – quick to mix up in one bowl, and bake.