Tag Archives: Bread

Artisan Bread at Home for Real!!

14 Feb




Wondering where I have been? Wow, I can’t believe that it is a whole new year! I have been working on my new cookbook, writing articles, shooting other cookbooks with my husband and working in our

new Art Gallery!

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In most places in the Northern Hemisphere it’s winter, but here in Northern California it’s only “kind” of winter. We moan and groan about the 39 degree mornings but it warms up to 60 plus by noon. The sky is blue and the air is crisp, I imagine it’s what Spring feels like everywhere else. I know some of you are digging out, so we really have nothing to complain about, do we? I have been making stews, soups and slow cooked braised turkey and it’s time for a change.

I just felt like making bread, it is warm, comforting and I knew my family would love it! Half the joy of bread making is the smell of it baking, and this one smells really good!

I know some of you are saying to yourselves that you can’t make bread, but you can. Whenever I need to reference a recipe I have two places I go, The old tattered Joy of Cooking cookbook and America’s Test Kitchen. Sometimes I just need an idea on a measurement to a method and these two sources can be so helpful. This time I wanted a fast easy bread recipe so I went to AMT and there it was….easy bread.

My Dutch Oven needed a change from all the stew-y things it has been churning out! Bread, I never thought of making bread in it, I assumed it was meant to hold soup-y, sloppy, slow cooked meats….not bread. What flavors would you add to this bread? Lemon zest and rosemary was our plan but we got distracted and forgot.

Oh, let me tell you from now on it IS my bread oven, not my Dutch Oven. It turned out a gorgeous loaf of golden, crackl-y  artisan bread. So dust yours off and get out the flour because you are going to want to make this recipe.


Really Really Good Bread Recipe (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)


The recipe calls for a mild lager but I used a medium/darker one. I liked the depth of the flavor a lot in the finished product.
The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface

1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.


2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside the empty bowl (no need to clean it between steps) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined bowl and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.


3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.



Laughing Cow Chipotle Cheese Quiche Cups

12 Mar

When the company asked me to come up with a recipe for a new flavor of cheese, I agreed of course.  A few weeks ago I received a box in the mail containing some  Laughing Cow cheese and other yummy snacks.  The flavor they sent over was Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese, spicy and creamy I liked it right away. The spicy flavor lingers so you don’t need to gobble up a bunch, one wedge was very satisfying. With only 35 calories per wedge this is a good low cal snack.  The Laughing Cow cheeses have been around for as long as I can remember, you may have seen it in your airplane meal or in your lunch box.  Little cheese wedges are not something I usually toss in my grocery cart but I may now.  I wanted to create a recipe that was so easy anyone could make it, I also wanted to use ingredients most people have on hand.

“Made with real Queso fresco and chipotle peppers, each 35-calorie wedge adds a tasty little kick to snack time. A great way to add spice to your favorite dishes without stacking up the calories.”

This particular cheese is spicy, but if you’d like to make this for the kids try any of the other Laughing Cow flavors, Swiss or Garlic and Herb would be just as delicious. I use cilantro in this recipe so if it’s not your thing substitute with parsley, get creative. Try adding leftover diced chicken or bits of broccoli!

These would be great for a lunch box or appetizers at a party or just a game night snack.

Laughing Cow Chipotle Cheese Quiche Cups

Serves 8

An unsweetened whole wheat bread works best for this recipe but white bread will work just as well.

8 Wedges Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese, un-wrapped (one box)

8 slices soft bread

4 eggs

½ cup milk

1 tsp chopped cilantro

1/4 cup diced red pepper

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350˚F

Cut crust off bread, using rolling pin roll bread as thin as you can get it.

Spray or brush standard muffin tin generously with olive oil.

Using a small glass, press bread into greased muffin tin, the bread may rip, just press it back together in the tin, mush it if you have to, it will be fine! (the kids like this part)

In a large measuring cup mix eggs, milk, cilantro, red peppers, salt and pepper.

Mix well using a fork to break up the eggs.

Place the bread cups in the preheated oven to crisp for ten minutes.

Remove from oven, while hot place one triangle of cheese in each bread cup, pour egg mixture over each.  Wait 30 seconds for egg to be absorbed and top off each cup with remaining egg.

Bake for 20 -25 minutes.  Cool slightly, eat!

“The Laughing Cow® provided me with product for this review.”


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