Saturday, January 31, 2015

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread

Just a quick check-in. I wasn't going to blog this but I enjoyed this loaf so much that I thought I'd tell you about it so you can bake a loaf too. The recipe can be found on Joy the Baker. However, if you prefer baking with weights, you can find that on King Arthur's Website. It's a really delicious loaf that smells so amazing while it bakes. It's a little on the sweet side so when I make it again, I am going to use less sugar. I may or may not have eaten half a loaf in one sitting.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quinoa & Lemongrass Bread - Crazy Ingredients Challenge

For this month's Crazy Ingredients Challenge, we are working with quinoa and lemongrass. I have worked with quinoa before but lemongrass was new to me. In Jamaica, it's called fever grass and is used to make a tea to, you guessed it, cure a fever. I have never tasted it before though. I really wanted to make dessert and was pretty much set on making a ginger quinoa quick bread with a lemongrass glaze. That was until I went on a sugar binge and realised that I needed a sugar time out. I tried to think of savoury dishes. A chili? I LOVE a quinoa chili that I made over a year ago but would the lemongrass work there? I didn't feel like messing with a good chili so I decided to stay in the bread family but just ditch the sugar.

The lemongrass is really faint here. I'm really not sure just how much I would have needed to have to have a strong lemongrass presence or if I really wanted a strong lemongrass presence. But to ensure that I really had some lemongrass flavour when I bit into my bread, I added some lemongrass butter. The butter is simply 1 chopped stalk of lemongrass per quarter cup of warm, melted butter. The lemongrass steeps for 30 minutes then is strained and the butter chilled.

Quinoa & Lemongrass Bread
Recipe by: Kelster    
Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small ones
95 grams whole wheat flour
105 grams water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

50 grams quinoa
50 grams old fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 grams boiling water
 Lemograss Tea
4 stalks lemongrass, green leaves removed and the white pieces finely chopped
120 grams boiling water

all of the levain
120 grams lemongrass tea
300 grams all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
5 grams salt
all the soaker

Mix together the levain ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and leave overnight.
Place quinoa, oats and salt in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water. Cover and leave overnight.
Pour hot water over the lemongrass pieces and leave overnight also.

The next day, strain the lemongrass tea and add to levain. Whisk together in a stand mixer for a minute until aerated. Add the flour and yeast, mix together until just incorporated and let rest for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and soaker and knead until soaker incorporated and then knead for an additional 5 minutes. The dough is soft and tacky and clears the sides of the bowl. If it's very sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest until doubled. This could take up to 1-2 hours depending on the room temperature.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. If making one large dough, shape into a loose ball and let rest for 15 minutes or divide dough into two, preshape and let rest.

Shape the dough into the final shape, cover and let rest until doubled. This could take up to an hour.

At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450F. Place a heavy covered baking vessel such as a dutch oven, crock or cloche in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, score the dough and then carefully transfer the dough to the hot vessel. You can simply place the dough in the vessel on the parchment paper or carefully turn the dough out into vessel.
Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until the loaf is well-browned and registers 200 F. Cool completely before slicing.

  • If you do not have a vessel with a cover, foil can be used to cover the vessel. Or you can incorporate steam into the oven for those first 20 minutes.
  • If you're not interested in a lemongrass flavoured loaf, simply use plain water.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gizzada Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

I need a tape recorder for my brain. You see, I compose these amazing blog posts in my head, but when it's time to sit and type, I can't remember most of it. Case in point: today's post. I guess I'll blab and you'll get the gist or just scroll down to the recipe. I really should just start using the voice recorder on my phone. I'm a little "weirded" out by the sound of my own voice though so someone else would need to transcribe.

Let's get down to business. It's the third Thursday of the month and that means it's Bundt Bakers day. This month, our host, Terri, chose coconut for the theme. Upon hearing the theme, I immediately knew that I wanted to recreate one of Jamaica's coconut desserts in cake form. I opted for the gizzada which is a small tart. The tart shell is filled with a mixture of grated coconut, brown sugar and nutmeg - a lot of nutmeg. The nutmeg shines boldly here. It's not just a hint. If you don't like nutmeg, back away from gizzadas. In fact, there are times when given a choice, I opt for a coconut treat other than gizzada. Some persons use way too much nutmeg. While I was grating the nutmeg for this, I was immediately brought back to smelling it wafting from my mother's kitchen. She adds nutmeg to porridge and hot chocolate. I didn't drink either but nutmeg will always remind me of her making breakfast.You know, I think this weekend I will try to find chocolate balls at a Jamaican supermarket then call my mother and have her talk me through making her hot chocolate. I know it's simple - boiling water, grated ball (or not depending on size and quantity needed), nutmeg and a cinnamon leaf (I think).


My original idea for Gizzada Bundts was to add the coconut mixture as a filling in my mini Bundts. As I said, the filling in a gizzada is just coconut, brown sugar and nutmeg and can be a bit dry sometimes (bakers vary). I added a bit of milk and an egg yolk so that it could be more moist for the cake. I imagined cutting into the little cakes and seeing a coconut surprise (well, surprise for anyone I served this to). Ha. My mini bundts had other plans. They simply refused to come out of the tins in one piece. I could have kept trying - probably use an egg white instead of yolk for a lighter filling. Maybe even switch to a large Bundt where I knew the filling would be less likely to touch the sides of the pan. But since I was eating each "failed" mini Bundt as soon as I realised it wasn't coming out properly, I had to change to something that would definitely work. I was inhaling way too many cakes. It's a good thing that I made these in small batches. It was a delicious afternoon though. I wish that I had seen Stacy's suggestion to make a trifle before I (happily) ate them all. There's one that I didn't immediately eat. I actually put it back into the tin and the next day, it came out as one piece. But it looked lonely so I quickly ate him. Normally, a glaze would help here but I wanted to stay as true to the gizzada as possible. So the new plan was simply to top the little cakes with the coconut filling.

No more broken cakes! Though these didn't come out as cleanly as I would have liked. The cake base here is now my new favourite. I slightly adapted it form King Arthur's Lemon Bliss and it may be the vanilla base that I use from now on. Moist. Buttery. Delicious. Loved the filling too - more than a traditional gizzada since I could control my nutmeg. I'm thinking about making a large filled one for a friend's birthday next week. We'll see. So are you a coconut lover or LOVER? I've heard rumours about people who don't like coconut but I've filed that along with stories about the existence of Big Foot. Lots of coconut deliciousness for you this month. Scroll down to see what the other Bundt Bakers made.

Gizzada Mini Bundts
Recipe by: Kelster    Cake adapted from King Arthur's Lemon Bliss
Yield: 3 one cup size mini Bundts
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons evaporated milk (or cream)
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 F and thoroughly grease and flour 3 one cup size mini Bundt pans
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. 
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Then add vanilla to milk in a separate container. 
Alternate adding dry ingredients and the wet ingredients to the butter mixture starting and ending with dry. Pour into mini Bundt pans and bake for 16 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 
While the cakes are baking, prepare the topping. 
Put sugar, evaporated milk, sugar, butter and yolk in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly. Don't walk away! It's ready when the mixture coats the back of a spoon and is bubbly. 
Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg and coconut. Cool.
When cakes are finished, cool then top with gizzada topping.

  • Dark brown sugar is typically used in gizzadas. You can use light brown or even a mixture of brown and white sugar.
  • If using sweetened coconut, use a bit less sugar. 
  • Start with less than the recommended freshly grated nutmeg. If you like more nutmeg, add more.


Almond Joy Bundtlettes from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Candy Bar Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake from Love and Confections
Chocolate Italian Cake from Magnolia Days
Coconut & Banana Bundt Cake from Just One Bite Baking
Coconut Banana Bundt Cake from Basic N Delicious
Coconut Carrot Bundt Cake from Media Racion Doble, Por Favor
Coconut Cream Bundt Cake from Adventures in All Things Food
Coconut Hummingbird Bundt Cake from Patty's Cake
Coconut Milk Bundt Cake from I Love Bundt Cakes
Coconut Milk Bundt Cake from Un Mordisco Un Pecado
Coconut Oil Pound Cake from The Spiced Life
Coconut Sugar Banana Cake from A Kingdom for a Cake
Cranberry and Coconut Bundt Cake from La Cocina de Aisha
Cranberry, Orange and Coconut Bundt Cake from Kids & Chic
German Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Freshman Cook
Glazed Chocolate Macaroon Bundt Cake from Food Lust People Love
Gluten-free Coconut Orange Bundt Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream from Cassie's Kitchen
Gizzada Mini Bundts from Passion Kneaded
Key Lime and Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake from Eat, Drink and Be Mighty
Key Lime Coconut Cream Bundt from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Mini Samoa Bundt Cakes from Making Miracles
Orange & Coconut Bundt Cake from Living the Gourmet
Oreo Coconut Bundt Cake from Indian Curries/Stew
Pina Colada Bundt Cake from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Rhubarb n Rose Coconut Frosted Bundt Cake from Baking in Pyjamas
Rum Bundt Cake with Coconut and Lime from Bourbon and Brown Sugar
Toasted Coconut and Sweet Potato Bundt from Tea and Scones
Toasted Coconut Lime Bundt Cake with Chili Lime Glaze from Brooklyn Homemaker

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rye and Whole Wheat Bread - #BreadBakers

"...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition 

On December 23, I got some bad news. I accidentally called my mother (touch screens, gotta love them) as I was sitting down to dinner. She picked up and after a moment of "Did you call?" "Or did I call?" she said, "Well, I wasn't going to tell you this, but since you called..." My world stopped at that point. Looking back, it really wasn't the worst news - I've imagined worse - but if left as is, things could have gotten really, really, really bad. I was helplessly hundreds of miles away (in a different country) while she was there alone not having any idea how to fix things - and I didn't either. I broke down. I prayed. I cried some more. My dinner forgotten. I spent the next 22 hours alternating between praying and trying not to cry. Luckily, others got the ball rolling and the situation was resolved. We even laughed a bit while she related what happened during those 22 painful hours. I know she probably left any bad out but the final outcome was good so I won't dwell on it.

Round #3

During that time, I had the strong urge to lose myself in bread-making. I started baking more often 3 years ago when bad news paused my life. I didn't know what to do so I went to the kitchen and baked cakes and didn't stop baking for a while. Earlier that year, I had taken up growing a sourdough starter and bread baking to deal with the anniversary of a death. Before that, there was an uptick in baking when I found out that I had a brain tumour. Baking is my therapy. (Oh, I guess I shouldn't just casually mention a brain tumour. I'll write about that more in the future or link to my other blog that has more info. Short story: I had surgery and hopefully, it isn't growing back. )

Back to December 23.  I grabbed pencil and paper and started scribbling notes for this month's Bread Bakers. Anshie challenged us to bake with rye using no refined sugars or refined grains. Oh boy. I have worked with 100% whole grain doughs before. A friend introduced me to white whole wheat. Wait. Can we talk about white whole wheat for a second? Why not call it whole white wheat? Saying white whole wheat makes it sound like bleached whole wheat. I guess since we don't call the other one red wheat, saying white wheat would be just as confusing to those just hearing about it. I still prefer to say whole white wheat. Now as I was saying. I worked with white whole wheat a lot so a 100% whole grain dough shouldn't have been too scary. But for some reason, I was apprehensive. It didn't help that I couldn't find any white whole wheat around here and had to "settle" for traditional red whole wheat. Confession: This was the FIRST time I was ever buying/using red whole wheat.

Round #2
It really wasn't that bad to work with. With the addition of rye, the texture of the dough was like nothing I had ever worked with before. I actually made this bread three times in the last three weeks. For the first loaf, I used 40% rye & 60% whole wheat. I didn't like it that much. I think it baked a little too long but the main reason was that I forgot salt. A lean dough without salt or any other flavoring. Yeah, I almost turned it into bread pudding. For the second and third rounds, I lowered the rye to 30% and added a bit of whole wheat to the poolish. I definitely preferred to feel of the dough. And I most definitely did not forget salt after autolysis. I'll try 40% rye again but with all purpose flour and maybe some flavor additions.

My final products were decent enough - not my favourites. But I think I need to get used to the taste of traditional red whole wheat. The crumb is dense (as I expected) but I managed to avoid the gumminess than can plague rye doughs. I read that letting the bread cool overnight could reduce this. Now, I don't know if that definitely helped or if I just baked to the right temperature. But I did not have a gummy loaf - dense but not gummy. I am eating a slice of round #3 as I type this. Lightly toasted with butter. I think I prefer it toasted.

I am looking forward to what the other Bread Bakers made with rye this month. Scroll down to see the list below.

Round #3's Crumb
Rye & Whole Wheat Bread
Recipe by: Kelly   
Yield: one ~680g (1.5lb) loaf
136 grams rye flour
44 grams whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
180 grams water

Final dough
All of poolish
275 grams red whole wheat
14 grams vital wheat gluten
130 grams water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all the poolish ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and leave overnight (8 - 10 hours). The mixture will be puffed not bubbly.
Add all the remaining ingredients except salt. Knead for 2 minutes and then let rest for 20 minutes. After resting, add salt and knead for an additional 6 - 8 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled at room temperature 1 - 2 hours.

After dough has risen, shape into a ball and then let rest for ten minutes. After resting, shape into a tight boule. Allow to rest until almost doubled. This could take 45 to 60 minutes depending on the temperature of the room.

While dough is rising, preheat oven with a covered baking vessel to 450 F.

Slash the dough and carefully place in the hot vessel. Bake covered for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 425 F, remove cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the loaf reaches 200 F.
  •  Covered vessel examples - bread cloche, Dutch oven, oven safe slow cooker insert with foil. You could also create steam in the oven for those first 15 minutes.

Tangzhong Rye Bread by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
Sourdough Rye Bread by Ansh at Spiceroots
Potato Onion Rye Meteil by Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories
Swedish Rye Bread (Limpa) by Nicole at The 2nd 35 Years
Rye Fennel Crackers by Renee at Magnolia Days
Caraway Rye Crackers with Reuben spread by Jenni at Pastry Chef Online
Artisan Dark Rye Bread by Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writing
Chocolate rye bread by Rocio at Kidsandchic
Pain d'Epice by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
Danish Rye Bread by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
Hapanleipä - Finnish Sour Rye Bread by Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story
Banana Rye Muffins by Adam at Bakers and Best
Boston Brown Bread by Holly at A Baker's House
Rye and Whole Wheat Bread by Kelly at Passion Kneaded
Slow Cooker Boston Brown Bread by Mireille at Chef Mireille's East West Realm

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oat Cinnamon Rolls - #FoodieExtravaganza

January is Oatmeal Month and the theme for this month's Foodie Extravaganza. This is a special month with the chance to win a cookbook. Read on for more. 

Hi, my name is Kelly and I am a cinnamon roll junkie. I am also a "throw a handful of oats into bread dough" junkie. This oat cinnamon roll is a meeting of the two. I had no intention of adding oats to cinnamon rolls. My tendency to grab a bag of 5 grain cereal or oatmeal and throw some into dough was always limited to non-sweet doughs.In fact, I had a completely different plan for this month's Foodie Extravganaza - still dessert though because, truthfully, I don't like making savoury dishes. Two weeks ago, I promised some friends a batch of cinnamon rolls and as I walked into the kitchen to start working on it, I thought to myself, "Why not add some oats to the dough?" So I did. Great decision. 

You don't taste the oats. You can tell there's a little something different about the dough but it is in the texture rather than the flavour. And no, it's not the heaviness that you might get from whole wheat. It's a subtle difference that could be attributed to added hydration rather than addition of a whole grain. I almost added the oats/an oat streusel to the filling of the rolls. That would make them even more "oaty". However, as I said, I was making these for friends and I wasn't sure how they'd feel about biting into an oat filling when they were expecting just cinnamon. Plus, and this may be the main reason - rolling doughs with uneven fillings is always hit and miss for me. So I wanted to try first with just the oats in the dough.  I'll try an oatmeal filling the next time a cinnamon roll craving hits me. The cravings happen a lot.

Oat Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe by: Kelster    
Yield: ~ 20 servings
2/3 cups oatmeal
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more as needed)


1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, softened
Pour hot water over the oatmeal, cover and let sit for at least two hours or until the oats are softened. You can let this sit overnight also.
Add yeast, sugar, buttermilk, beaten egg, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the soaked oatmeal. Combine thoroughly then slowly knead in the remaining cup of flour. Knead for 6 minutes. Dough should be soft and tacky. If dough is extremely sticky, add additional flour by the tablespoon. If dough is dry, add water or buttermilk by the teaspoon.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and allow to rest at room temperature until doubled. This could take 1- 2 hours depending on the room temperature.

Combine all the filling ingredients except the butter. Grease two 9" - 10" round baking pans.

After dough has risen,divide into two pieces and roll one  piece out to an approximately 13" x 13" square. Spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over the dough. Evenly sprinkle on half the sugar mixture then tightly roll up the dough. Trim the ends, if needed but be sure to bake those trimmings too! Slice into ~1 inch slices and place in a greased baking pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  • Here's a great visual for tacky vs sticky dough
  • Pan sizes are a little tricky here. With 1 inch slices, I actually had about 3 more rolls than could fit in my two pans. If you slice a little bigger than 1 inch, you won't have that problem. I just baked them on a small sheet and those became my testers. 
  • I find it a lot easier to chill dough just before rolling up and again just before slicing. I get tighter rolls and neater slices.
  • I prefer to use floss to slice my rolls. 
  • I didn't use a glaze. Well, I started to and changed my mind. I love glazes but find that  recently, I prefer to keep rolls unglazed. If you can't live without a glaze, use your favourite or mix together  1/4 cup softened margarine, 1 t vanilla, 1 cup of powdered sugar and enough milk for your preferred consistency. Pour about half over the hot rolls then add the rest when the rolls are cool.  


We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food!  Each month we will decide on a National Monthly Food Holiday on which we will base our recipes around. This month's the ingredient is oatmeal.  We hope you all enjoy our delicious oatmeal treats this month and come back to see what we bring for you next month.  If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza.  We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE

The oat-guru Kathy Hester has been so generous in donating one of her books to one of our lucky Foodie Extravaganza readers. With her book OATrageous Oatmeals: Delicious & Surprising Plant-Based Dishes From This Humble, Heart-Healthy Grain  (affiliate link), you will learn how to use heart-healthy oatmeal in new and exciting ways! You can find recipes such as Steel-cut Oat Sausage Crumbles, Chickpea Veggie Soup, and Blackberry Mojito Overnight Oats. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win. The widget may take a little while to load so be patient. If you don't win, feel free to grab the link from above to purchase your own. 
 OATrageous Oatmeals Cookbook -- From Gate to Plate -- FoodieExtravaganza Givea
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only, age 18 and older. The OATragous Oatmeals Cookbook giveaway runs from Wednesday, January 7, 2015 12:00am ET through Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:00am ET. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on January 16, 2015. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 24 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.