Tag Archives: bread

Cranberry Orange Mini Loaves for the Holidays

I enjoy baking during the Holidays.  The house smells so good, and it is rewarding to share gifts from the heart with neighbors and friends.  Loaves of bread make wonderful gifts, but with all of the activities going on during the Holidays, it can be hard to find time to bake.


These Cranberry Orange Mini Loaves make great gifts.  They are quick breads which means they don’t require much hands-on time or effort. Quick breads are batter breads that are not kneaded and do not rise before being baked.  These mini loaves are quick and easy to make, and you can make several loaves at once — a definite time saver.

My adapted version is made with all-purpose flour and a little bit of sprouted whole wheat flour, but feel free to make them with all white flour if you prefer.  I reduced the amount of sugar and butter called for in the original recipe because sprouted wheat flour is sweeter than normal flour.  The loaves are slightly tart due to the fresh cranberries and they make great breakfast or snack bread.  Serve them warm with butter for a special treat.

Cranberry Orange Mini Loaves

Makes: 3 mini loaves or 1 9×5-inch loaf

Adapted from this Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sprouted wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar (I used organic pure cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the orange peel, orange juice and eggs; mix well.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until moistened.  Gently stir in cranberries and almonds.

Divide batter evenly among 3 greased 5 1/2×3-inch mini-loaf pans.


Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack.


You can bake these loaves in pretty loaf pans and give them away in the same pan.  Just be sure to remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before you wrap them up.  Otherwise, the bottom of the loaves will be soggy.


Note: If you don’t have fresh cranberries on hand, you can substitute dried cranberries. Just “plump” them by pouring 2 cups of boiling water over them and let them soak for 15 minutes before draining and using.

Happy Holidays from the Bread Experience!




Butternut Squash Dinner Rolls

You don’t have to wait till Halloween or Thanksgiving to add a festive touch to your dinner table. These dinner rolls offer a delicious autumn touch right now.



Butternut Squash Dinner Rolls

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon plus 1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 cups warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup wheat flour
10-11 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Additional butter, melted

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 3/4 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, squash, salt and remaining sugar; mix until smooth. Add wheat flour and 4 cups all-purpose flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3. Punch dough down and divide into thirds; divide each portion into 20 pieces. Shape into balls. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter. Remove to wire racks.

Yield: 5 dozen.

Stuffed Dinner Loaf Finished

Quick & Easy Dinner Loaf

Need a quick and easy supper? Something filling but light? A recipe that only takes 5 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake? Easy to eat and appealing to all ages? This recipe is for you!

Using a packaged pizza crust, deli meats and cheeses, this stuffed loaf works well as a part of the meal when served with soup or salad. It will also stand alone supported by some chips and a cold drink.

Stuffed Dinner Loaf

Makes: About 4 servings

1 package refrigerated pizza dough
4 tablespoons Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar/mozzarella cheese
6 slices Swiss cheese
12 slices of turkey
2 tablespoons Italian spices

Preheat oven to 350°F. Open pizza dough package and spread over 9×13-inch pan. Stretch the dough until you have a uniform rectangle.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing and spread evenly over dough. Sprinkle the shredded cheese mixture evenly.

Layer half the slices of turkey on top the shredded cheese. Spread the Swiss cheese slices to cover the turkey. Finish layering with the remaining turkey slices.

Fold one third of the dough and layers toward the middle of the loaf. Fold the bottom third of the dough on top of the first fold. Seal the ends and along the edge of the top layer by pressing with your fingers.

Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Italian dressing over and spread evenly. Shake the Italian spices over the dressing for additional flavor and color.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on rack for 10 minutes. Cut into serving portions and serve with ranch dressing for dipping sauce.


Approximate Nutritional Information:

Amount per serving: Calories:653, Total Fat: 34g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 2391mg, Total Carbs: 49g, Protein: 39g.

Remember that the fillings you choose will affect the nutritional content, so if you’re restricting sodium or counting fat grams, you’ll want to pay attention to the labels of the items you select.


Italian – Tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni
Ham & Cheese – Ham, cheddar cheese, mustard
Philly – Roast beef, provolone, mushrooms
Veggie – Mushroom, onion, green pepper, onions

If you’re trying to please children, you may find that traditional pizza type fillings more appealing to their palate. The beauty of this recipe is the flexibility and variety that can be adapted to suit your tastes or dinner theme.

Rustic and Country Bread

A few weeks ago, I attended the Eighth Annual Asheville Bread Baking Festival. The city of Asheville, nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, provides a wonderful backdrop for a bread-baking event. The theme for this year’s festival was “Local Grain, Local Flour, and Local Bread”. The event featured experts on local grain production, milling, and baking with local and heirloom wheat.

During the bakers’ showcase, local artisans showcased their beautiful breads and other baked goods.  At one of the booths, Emily Buehler, author of Bread Science demonstrated how using different fermentation times brings out the depth and flavor in breads.

We tasted two sourdough breads: a 20-hour rustic bread and a 44-hour country bread.

Rustic Bread

Rustic Bread

Country Bread

Country Bread

Both loaves were made using the same dough; the difference being the fermentation time was extended for the second loaf. The first loaf was good, but the second loaf definitely had a little more flavor and a slightly different texture.

The basic formula for these breads is courtesy of the artisan bakery where Emily worked. She doesn’t know who created the original formula, but she gave me permission to share it with you.

Rustic and Country Bread Recipe

Makes: 2 one-pound loaves


  • 420g white flour (~3 cups)
  • 52g whole wheat flour (~1/3 cup)
  • 5 g wheat bran (1 Tbsp)
  • 113g sourdough starter (~1/2 to 3/4 cup)
  • 309g warm water (~1 1/3 cups)
  • 11g salt (1 3/4 tsp)



0 Hours:

Feed sourdough starter. Let 113g of it rise at room temperature. It will be ready in 8-10 hours. Refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.

Mixing Rustic Country

Mix ingredients except salt. You want a mixture that is slightly sticky with no large dry spots. Don’t start kneading! Let the mix rest 20 minutes. Add the salt and knead. Let dough rise (1.5 hours for dough that is 75-80 degrees F.) Fold dough. Put half, covered, in the refrigerator. Let half rise again.


Rustic Bread (20 hours):Rustic Bread in Proofing Basket

When the dough is risen, smack the gas out, fold it into a tight block, and let it rise again on a floured towel in a basket or bowl. Instead of folding the dough into a tight block, I shaped it into a ball and placed it in a round proofing basket, sprinkled with a mixture of all-purpose and rice flour.

Scoring Rustic Bread

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. for at least an hour, with a pizza stone on the middle shelf and a steam pan on the bottom shelf. When dough is fully risen (about an hour or so), flip it over onto a baking sheet or baker’s peel sprinkled with cornmeal. I used a parchment-lined, baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Score the top in the desired pattern using a lame or serrated knife.


Slide the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the hot pizza stone. Carefully add a cup of hot water to the steam pan. Spray the loaf with water, then lower the temperature to 450 degrees F. and bake 20-30 minutes until the loaf is browned and makes a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to ensure the bottom gets baked through.


Country Bread ( 44 hours):

The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator, smack the gas out, and pre-shape into a ball. Cover and let dough relax for 2 hours. Shape into a batard. Refer to this tutorial for more info on shaping a batard shape. Let it rise for 2-3 hours, covered, on cornmeal on a towel, or on parchment paper on a baking sheet. I placed the dough on parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal.


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. for at least an hour, with a pizza stone on the middle shelf and a steam pan on the bottom shelf. When dough is fully risen (about an hour or so), score the top in the desired pattern using a lame or serrated knife.


Slide the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the hot pizza stone. Carefully add a cup of hot water to the steam pan. Spray the loaf with water, then lower the temperature to 450 degrees F. and bake 20-30 minutes until the loaf is browned and makes a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to ensure the bottom gets baked through.


General Notes:
The recipe will change with the type of flour and season. Adjust water to get a slightly sticky dough before the rest period. Add flour by flouring your hands, if necessary, while kneading, but don’t overdo it. Adjust water temperature for a final dough temperature of ~77 degrees F. In general, dough rises until it is full of gas, before folding or shaping. Refrigerated dough will feel less gassy and active.



Irish Soda Bread Slices

Irish Soda Bread

March is here! My crocuses are starting to bloom! St. Patrick’s Day is almost here!

This winter has been very mild in North Central Ohio and I forgot that spring was on the way. There are a few things that I really love about spring. Warm sunshine and flowers are top on the list. But St. Patrick’s Day is right at the top too.

When my kids were in elementary school, we had a big deal every year when March rolled around. We had to make sure they had something green to wear on the 17th. They believed in a tradition, which claimed that if you didn’t wear green, you’d get pinched. I’m not sure the school system endorsed the pinching part of the deal, but they sure did go along with the wearing of the green!

At home, we began a tradition of our own. Each year, I got the kids a new green t-shirt or pair of socks. My daughter was always excited about crazy socks. She went through a phase at about seven-years-old during which she would only wear toe-socks. Those things can’t be comfortable, but they sure made a fashion statement!

After a couple of years, we began experimenting with Irish foods. We started out easy. The local bakery made cupcakes iced with green frosting and decorated with seasonal sprinkles. Then they started making Irish Soda Bread and packaged it in a cloverleaf printed bag. We ate our share of those baked goods!

When my son reached middle school, he decided to embrace his Irish heritage. He wanted to have an all Irish cuisine meal on St. Patrick’s Day. Since the area where we live contains more German or Italian descendants than Irish, we had to do some research.

I found some recipes for Irish Soda bread and we made our own version. The recipe I’m making this year is one of the simple ones and what it lacks in complicated processes, it makes up for in flavor.

This recipe was originally printed in a cookbook titled, “British and Irish Cooking” by author Tony Schmaeling. I’ve started buying Irish cookbooks whenever I find them, but this treasure was at my local library. If you’re looking for a recipe, spend a few minutes at the library, you might be surprised what they have on the shelf!

Irish Soda Bread

6 cups flour
¼ Tb baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cups butter milk or sour milk

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6. Mix all the dry ingredients in a basin and make a well in the center. Stir in the milk vigorously, if necessary add more milk, but the mixture should not be too thin. On a floured board, flatten the dough into a circle approximately 4 cm (1 1/2 in) thick. With a floured knife, make a cross in the dough. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes.

Approximate Nutritional Values: Servings 12
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228, Total Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 1027mg, Total Carbs: 47g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 7g

Make it a meal: Serve with your favorite coffee or tea. If you’re looking for some extra sweetness, you might drizzle your toasted bread with some honey. Raisins are often added to soda bread; you could mix them in before baking the bread. I would suggest serving this crusty bread with your favorite soup.

One year, on vacation in Florida, we found a neat Irish pub that sold Irish Parliament Bean Soup for 18 cents per serving. The story around this menu item is that they use the same recipe as Parliament has used for centuries in the cafeteria and the price has been the same for nearly a century. I loved the story almost as much as I loved the soup.

I did some Internet searching and found a recipe that was supposed to be exactly the same as the one used by this Irish pub. I decided to follow the recipe, since we liked the soup. Let me tell you! It’s a darn good thing we liked the soup, since the recipe was for restaurant proportions and I ended up with several gallons of bean soup! You can read the full story here.

This year, I think I’m going to make a nice small shepherd’s pie casserole to go with the soda bread and save the soup for the next time I’m hosting the entire clan for dinner.

I don’t know about you, but a really nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon is spent at the kitchen table with a hot cuppa tea and some warm bread. Spread some butter on the bread and watch the squirrels raid the bird feeder outside the kitchen window. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make a list of flower bulbs that I want to plant in the flower beds.