BBD #17 – Sourdough Rye Bread

This month’s Bread Baking Day #17 was hosted by Lien from Notitie van Lien.  She has a wonderful blog/website.  The theme Lien chose was “Bread and Potatoes.”  Potatoes had to be an integral ingredient of the bread.  I thumbed through my cookbook, The Bread Book:  A Baker’s Almanac, for ideas.  I found a recipe for a potato water sourdough starter and decided to start my recipe idea with sourdough.  I’ve wanted to make a sourdough starter for a while and thought what the heck…now’s as good a time as any to make one!  It was a lot of fun getting the starter going.  I’ve already made several other breads with it, all of which will end up here on the blog as well :).  Here’s a picture of the starter:


It’s separated because I just pulled it out of the fridge.  I have it stored in this Mason jar with a piece of plastic wrap between the cap and the jar so the metal doesn’t touch the starter. 

Potato Water Starter  (Courtesy of The Bread Book:  A Baker’s Almanac)


  • 1 T dry yeast
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 c warm water in which potatoes have been cooked
  • 2 additional cups water
  • 2 c unbleached white flour, or other flour of your choice (I used 1 c unbleached white flour and 1 c  Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Graham Flour)


1.  Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm potato water.  Put in a glass, plastic, or crockery bowl; cover with towel and let it sit in a warm place for about 48 hours. 

2.  At the end of this time, stir in 2 more cups warm water and two cups flour.  Cover.  Let stand overnight or longer, until the whole mixture is frothy and smells sour.  Make sure your bowl is large enough to allow for expansion. 

3.  Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator (Note – Don’t use metal bowls or utensils or store your starter in a metal container).  

4.  You’ll need to feed your starter about once a week.  Remove ½ to 1 c of starter (either discard or use in a recipe or use what the recipe directs).  Add equal parts water/flour (½ c water and ½ flour, for example, if you remove ½ c starter) and stir well.  Let it sit at room temperature for several hours, stir, and return to the fridge.

For the bread, I decided on a sourdough rye.  Rye bread is one of my favorites, and I liked this recipe because of the orange peel and seeds it contained.  It was rather dense but good.


Sourdough Rye Bread (Courtesy of The Bread Book:  A Baker’s Almanac)


  • 1 c sourdough starter
  • 3½ c rye flour, preferably stone-ground (I used Hodgson Mill brand)
  • 3½ to 4½ c unbleached white flour
  • ½ c warm water
  • 1 T dry yeast
  • ½ c warm water
  • 2 T honey or maple syrup
  • ½ c mashed potatoes
  • 2 T light oil
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t fennel seeds
  • 1 t caraway seeds
  • ½ t grated orange peel
  • ¼ c unsulphured molasses

1.  In a large plastic, glass, or crockery bowl, mix together the starter, ½ c each of the rye and white flours, and ½ warm water.  If the batter seems too stiff, add a little more water.  Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit 6 hours or overnight.
2.  Add to the bowl the yeast, ½ c warm water, honey or maple syrup, mashed potatoes, and 1 c each of rye and white flours.  Mix and let stand again, covered, at least 6 hours or until the next day.
3.  Add the oil, salt, fennel, and caraway seeds, orange peel, molasses, and 2 c each of rye flour and white flour, stirring until the dough is too stiff to mix further by hand.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding a little more white flour if the dough remains sticky but don’t add too much otherwise the dough will be too dry.  Put the dough in a buttered or oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk.
4.  Punch the dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times to press out the air bubbles, and divide in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
5.  Grease a cookie sheet and dust with cornmeal.  Shape the dough into two ovals or rounds, place on the sheet, and slash the top with a sharp knife if desired.  Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled.
6.  Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Bake for 15 minutes.  During this time you can mist or brush the loaves with cold water two or three times for a hard crust.  Reduce the heat to 350° F and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.  Brush the loaves with melted butter.  Cool on a rack.
Makes 2 loaves

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm  Comments (21)  

February 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge – Chocolate Valentino and Coffee Ice Cream

This was my first Daring Bakers Challenge.  The Daring Bakers are a group of mainly food bloggers who make a “challenge” chosen by two members and blog about it.  It’s all secretive as far as they have their own private forum where they post info about the challenge and where members can discuss them.  We all have to post our completed challenge on our blog on the same day…no earlier!  It’s really fun!  I figured it would be a good way for me to try new recipes and perhaps meet some fellow bloggers. 

Here’s the gist of this month’s challenge:  The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.  We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I was pretty excited when I got the info for this month’s challenge.  I’ve never made a flourless chocolate cake before.  Oh I’ve drooled many times over the thought of it, so this was a especially fun for me.  I couldn’t believe there were only three ingredients.  I cut the recipe in half and baked it in muffin cups.  It turned out well!  The finished product looked like a brownie, but it wasn’t nearly as dense.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t rich :)!

Another component of the challenge was to make ice cream to serve with the cake.  They gave us recipes for two versions of vanilla ice cream to use or we could use a recipe of our own choosing.  I decided to make a different version.  I thought what would be better than coffee flavored ice cream to go with the rich chocolate cake?  I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I had to improvise.  They provided us with a link to the always awesome David Lebovitz’s website (a very good food website I might add) on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.  Worked like a charm!  Knowing how easy it is to make it this way I might have to experiment with other recipes.

I used two types of chocolate:  Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet and 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Bars.  Here’s the chocolate and butter in the double boiler melting:


I couldn’t help but include this…the chocolate looked too good!

Here’s the finished product in the muffin pan:


 And here’s the cake and the ice cream together:


All I have to say is holy crap….this was sooooo good!  The cake was very dark chocolatey, which is my favorate type of chocolate, and the coffee ice cream had a subtle coffee flavor which paired well with the cake.  Overall, a great success!  I can’t wait till next month’s challenge.

Chocolate Valentino


  •  16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated


1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling, butter your pan.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Coffee Ice Cream (Adapted from All Recipes)


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

  • 1 vanilla pod

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 cups whipping cream


1.  In a saucepan, stir sugar, cornstarch, coffee and butter until blended.  Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds, and add both the pod and the seeds to the saucepan.  Stir in the milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.  Stir in the condensed milk.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold into milk mixture.  Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Follow these instructions from David Lebovitz’s website on how to freeze the ice cream to complete the recipe.

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm  Comments (16)  

Dark Rye Bread

I love bread, and rye bread is one of my favorite kinds due to its rich, earthy flavor.  I found this recipe for a pumpernickel-style rye bread in my cookbook The Bread Book:  A Baker’s Almanac.  I highly recommend this book.  It has lots of info on bread baking and good recipes.  The loaf didn’t rise very high given the amount of rye flour the recipe calls for.  I used Hodgson Mill’s Whole Grain Rye flour.  Hodgson Mills has the best whole grain products.  This bread was awesome.  It was really good toasted with marmalade or with melted swiss and red cabbage.



Dark Rye Bread (Courtesy of The Bread Book:  A Baker’s Almanac)


  • 2 T dry yeast
  • 2 c warm water
  • ½ t sugar or honey
  • ¼ c blackstrap molasses
  • ¼ c maple syrup (or 2 T honey and 2 T unsulphured molasses)
  • ¼ c butter, softened
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 T cocoa
  • 1 T caraway seeds
  • 3 – 4 c unbleached white flour
  • 3 c rye flour, preferably stone-ground
  • Cornmeal


1.  In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the sugar or honey.  Let sit until bubbly.
2.  Add the blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, butter, salt, cocoa, and caraway seeds and beat well.
3.  Add 3 cups of the white flour and beat 2 minutes with an electric mixer or at least 200 strokes by hand.
4.  Add the rye flour and mix until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
5.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic.  Sprinkle with a little more white flour if it remains too sticky to handle.  When it becomes elastic, stop kneading even if it remains a little clingy to your fingers.
6.  Put the dough in a buttered bowl; turn to coat all sides.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
7.  Punch the dough down, turn it out onto the board, and knead a few times to press out air bubbles.  Cut in half, cover with the towel, and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
8.  Shape the dough into two round or oval loaves and put on a greased baking sheet that’s dusted with cornmeal.  You may cut a cross or other design in the tops with a sharp knife.  Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter, cover with the towel, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
9.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.  Cool on a rack.  

Makes 2 loaves

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 8:25 pm  Comments (8)  


My name is Shelly, and I’m a hummus addict.  I eat this stuff all the time!  One of my favorite brands of hummus is Sabra.  This stuff is soooo good but very expensive.  A small container at the store is almost $5.  Yikes!  I’ve made hummus before, so I decided to make my own before Sabra broke me.  It’s really very easy to make.  Tahini paste, a paste made of ground sesame seed, is much easier to find in you store than it once was.  I used the Arrowhead Mills brand:


It was really good.  I’ve also used the Joyva brand with success.  Tahini has a nice, nutty flavor.  It generally needs to be refrigerated, otherwise it’ll turn rancid real quick.  I like to serve it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with paprika.


Hummus (Courtesy of Recipezaar)


  • 2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans 
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper


1.  Drain beans and reserve the liquid when you do so.

2.  Blend beans, along with the other ingredients and 1/4 cup of the liquid.

3.  Process until the mixture is smooth.

4.  Add liquid until the desired consistency is reached.

5.  Adjust seasonings alongwith more cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm  Comments (4)  

Fugassa Bread

I’m a big fan of Zorra’s blog, 1x umrühren bitte.  She always has such fantastic recipes and photography.  Zorra is the founder of Bread Baking Day, which is a monthly event for bread bakers to indulge in their passion for baking bread and to share recipes and experiences.  I love to make bread, so I decided this would be a fun way to motivate me to bake and to try new recipes.  This month’s event was hosted by Temperance from High on the Hog.  For this month’s theme, she chose bread with cheese somehow incorporated in it as a major flavor.  Considering I’m a big fan of both bread and cheese, I was excited for this event!  I chose to make Fugassa Bread from King Arthur Flour’s website.  This stuff was really good!  The sharp cheddar and peppers and onion complemented each other nicely.  I put Maldon sea salt on top before I baked it, hence the sparkles :).


 Check out the interior….yum!


Fugassa Bread (Courtesy of King Arthur Flour)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peppers (this can be one color or a combination of colors)
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • coarse sea salt (optional)


 1.  Cook oil, onions and peppers slowly in a large skillet over medium-low heat until the onions are transparent. When you cook onions and peppers slowly, the natural sugars caramelize, and they become quite sweet. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

2.  In a large bowl, stir yeast into warm water to soften. Add salt, sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 cup cheese, and the cooled peppers. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

3.  Gradually add flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

4.  Turn the dough out onto work surface. Knead in the remaining 1 cup cheese, leaving large streaks of the cheese visible. The streaks will toast and add an attractive look to the bread, not to mention a marvelous flavor.

5.  Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten the top slightly, and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

6.  Just before baking, brush the tops of the loaves with cold water and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired. Slit the loaf in three places, about 1/2-inch deep, across the top.

7.  For added crispness, steam should be added to the oven for the first 10 minutes of baking. I put 2 cups of ice cubes directly on the floor of my oven. By the time they have melted and evaporated the 10 minutes is usually up. Since some people have trouble working with this theory, you can also put a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and remove it after the first 10 minutes of baking. Just be sure to work quickly to prevent loss of oven heat.

8.  Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 30 minutes, or until done. Immediately remove bread from baking sheet and cool on a rack. Makes 1 large loaf.

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm  Comments (6)