Category Archives: Breads/rolls

Let’s Talk Turkey-Post Holiday and My Stuffing Recipe

Now that roasting pans have been put back into storage and the pie plates nestled where light rarely hits, it’s time to review what we could have done to the make the process less hectic and a more “thankful” affair.  Every year I strive to not over-cook the only dish I will not sample, produce  potatoes that are thoroughly cooked, and supply a  veggie dish worthy of coming out of a vegetarian’s kitchen.  Combined with rolls and pies I make myself, and a more newer tradition, making my own bread cubes for stuffing, is there any wonder I am a stressed out cook every Turkey Day?  Ease up, you say? Well, that’s just not how I’m wired.  One year, I will find a way to do it all and do it all well.  And it’s going to be next year.

-One trick I found this year was to prepare the pumpkin pie crusts ahead of time.  I rolled out the crusts, pre-baked them and then froze the pie dish and in a jumbo sized Hefty bag.  That really alleviated a lot of mess stress closer to T-Day.

-Of course I made the rolls ahead of time and froze them.  It was a new recipe and they  were a huge success(recipe link below).  I also made polenta corn-bread the night before T-day.

-I didn’t do it this year, but I am going to investigate doing mashed potatoes in the slow cooker.  I made scalloped potatoes this year.

-This last one is not new for me but one I think you will want to know more about.  I do the stuffing in the slow cooker.  It goes on first thing T-Day morning, and it makes the house smell like…well…Thanksgiving.


This recipe is the halved version


Bread cubes, sliced mushrooms, veggie broth, chopped parsley, butter, 1 egg,  onions, celery and poultry spice(the other spices not pictured).

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The sauteed veggies and then added to the crock pot.


The stuffing

Crock Pot Stuffing

I pulled this off the internet in 1996 or 1997.  I still have the original print-out with doodles from my youngest on the back of it.  I usually halve this recipe because it comfortably feeds 6-7 folks.


-1 cup unsalted butter

-2 cups chopped onion

-2 cups chopped celery

-1/4 cup parsley spring(I chop up a handful)

-1 12 oz package of mushrooms, sliced

-12-13 cups slightly dry bread crumbs*

-1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

-1 1/2 teaspoon salt

-1 1/2 teaspoon sage

-1 teaspoon thyme

-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-1/2 teaspoon marjoram

-3 1/2 to 4 1/2 Cups broth(I use veggie)

-2 eggs, well beaten



1. Melt butter in a skillet. Saute onion, celery, mushrooms, and parsley on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Pour sauteed vegetables over bread cubes in a very large bowl. Add seasonings and toss together. Pour in enough broth to moisten., add beaten eggs and mix together well.

3. Pack stuffing lightly into crock pot and cook on high for 45 minutes. Reduce to low and cook for 4 to 8 hours more.


*I make my own bread cubes by making a a loaf of white and wheat, and if they are fresh loaves, slice them and leave the slices to sit overnight.  I then cubed them and put them in the dehydrator for 3-4 hours to get them good and crispy. Painstaking? You bet but it really makes a difference in the stuffing.  You can also do this weeks before the holiday and freeze the slices or cubes.



Here’s the doodle.  Seeing she’s turning 25 in a few weeks,  this stuffing has been served at Thanksgiving for many years.  It always turns out and is always a big hit.

Italian Breakfast Bread

I know I’m late to post this for Easter so let’s just make this bread in celebration of spring and the new life that blooms all around us.

There are a lot of breads I am excited to make, but this one caught my eye on Pinterest. It wasn’t hot cross buns or the traditional Easter breads with little pockets meant for the dyed eggs. No, this had dried fruit and looked delicious in it’s simplicity.  In case you haven’t noticed, I look for traditions from other cultures, and I do a little testing, complexity, healthy(sometimes), and taste, and I decide from those criteria if it stays or goes.  This is a delicious sweet bread that is very reminiscent of a dressed-down stollen. The eggs make it a tasty egg-bread and the dried fruit gives it sweet/tart flavor. No added fats like butter or oil weigh it down, so I was thrilled with that and didn’t feel guilty when I smeared a little cream cheese on it.

Italian Breakfast Bread

Start out with  one cup of warm water(110-112 Fahrenheit), 2 Tablespoons white sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of active yeast. I activated the yeast in a pyrex measuring cup.

While the yeast, sugar and water worked it’s wonders, I got a half cup of yogurt, a teaspoon of vanilla, two eggs and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and a teaspoon of salt ready for the mixer.

With the paddle attachment, add all ingredients above(including the yeast) and mix thoroughly. Change over to the dough hook and start adding all-purpose flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, and waiting until fully combined until adding more. Add enough flour to make a non-sticky, solid ball.  It took me around 5 1/2 cups.

Spray a large bowl and place the dough into it, making sure to rub the ball of dough into the oil. Cover with a towel and let rise one hour or more. While the dough is rising, prepare the dried fruit.  I added diced raisins, cranberries and apricots.

Punch it down and roll it onto a floured surface.  Create a loaf with a seam and add some of the dried fruit. Once you combine the fruit into the dough, make another seam and repeat.

Once all of the dried fruit is hiding, place the dough into a pan for baking(a 9×9 cake pan is not large enough-trust me). Place the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. My dough rose within three hours. Take it out and let it warm up at room temperature for an hour.  Bake in a 350 Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes.

This was an easy and wonderful dough to work with.  It’s time consuming(as all yeast breads are) but not labor intensive. The taste was mildly sweet but not overpowering like stollen can be.  I’ll keep this recipe in my recipe box–absolutely.  Now onto Brioche.

Italian Sweet Breakfast Bread 
Makes one 10-inch round loaf

2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs. white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped candied lemon peel

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine yeast, water and sugar. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, or until foamy.  (If yeast does not foam, discard and begin again with new yeast.)  Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well. With the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, stir in flour ½ cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl down, until dough starts to form (after adding ~3 cups).  Switch to the dough hook and continue adding flour (about 1 more cup) until dough forms a manageable mass.  Continue kneading for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky (up to 5 cups).
Form dough into a large ball and coat all sides with vegetable oil.  (I like to lift the dough out of the bowl, pour a tablespoon of oil in, then turn the dough around in the oil until the dough, as well as the sides of the bowl, are greased.)  Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down in bowl, transfer to a floured surface, and knead in the dried fruits.  The goal is to get the fruits uniformly throughout the dough without any of them actually bursting out into the exterior of the bread (as they will burn if exposed in the oven).
Form dough into a ball and place in a greased 9-10 inch round pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cool rise in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, remove pan from refrigerator and let come to room temperature (about 1 hour before baking).  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F  for 45 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (If bread browns too quickly on top, cover with a piece of foil.)

Leon and me at the Milwaukee Domes

It is with a heavy heart I announce the passing of my brother, Leon. He passed on April 2nd from pancreatic cancer at the young age of 55. To the man who loved to eat, this blog entry and loaf of bread are dedicated to you.

Whole Wheat Beer & Honey Bread Machine Rolls

Coming back to my blog feels great.  Only the reasons to keep me away this long are: My brother dying of pancreatic cancer, and I have had a killer head/chest cold.

This entry may be interpreted as cheating, and yes, it kind of is.  But sometimes even the DIY queen in the kitchen needs a shortcut. I found this recipe a year ago, and I make a batch every weekend.  I throw the ingredients into the bread maker, and I don’t think about rolls for an hour and a half. Truth be told: I just like opening a beer in the am on a Sunday and drinking the 6ozs of the remaining brew. Oh, and I get a mini panic attack when I don’t have a delicious bun to throw two of my girls’ eggs on.  I toast the bun, slather it with mustard or tapenade, half an avocado and over-easy eggs. The sandwich is open-faced, so I can justify an extra scoop of tapenade or two.

Gather the ingredients: Bread flour, whole wheat flour, instant yeast, beer, water honey, oil, and salt.

Combine 6ozs beer, 1/4 cup water, 1/8 cup honey, two tablespoons of oil(I use canola)and heat for 1 minute in microwave or until 110-115 Fahrenheit. Add salt and add to bread pan.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of bread and whole wheat flours and two teaspoons of yeast. Start bread machine on roll option.

Take dough out of machine when finished, punch down and knead a few times. I weigh the dough to anticipate the size of the rolls.

Break dough off and form into rolls  I weigh dough to make sure it’s 3-3.25 ozs(I’m making sandwich rolls here). I make 8 for sandwich rolls but for traditional rolls, the yield should be 12. Make sure to grease cake pan or a 13×9 pan.

I put the oven light on for warmth, and I cover with a clean kitchen towel for the final rise. When you are baking with whole wheat flour, it needs the extra heat to rise.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove from pan within a few minutes and place on a wire rack to cool completely. I store the rolls in the fridge and they last about a week.

Here’s a toasted roll with fixings I described above. This makes for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Whole Wheat Beer & Honey Bread Machine Rolls


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/8 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
6 ounces beer (flat)
2 tablespoons oil



1 Mix honey,salt,water,oil and beer in small mixing bowl , heat in microwave 1 minute, stir until well blended.

2 Place honey mix with remaining ingredients into bread machine according to manufacturers directions.

3 Select dough cycle.

4 When cycle is complete, shape dough into rolls.

5 Place in lightly greased pans. ( I like to use pie pans instead of a baking sheet so rolls are wedged next to each other).

6 Cover rolls with a damp cloth and let rise about 30-40 minute or until doubled in size. When using whole wheat flour I like to set pans on an electric heating pad set on medium. (That makes the whole wheat flour rise faster,If you don’t use the heating pad, not to worry, you might need more rise time.).

7 When rolls have doubled, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 15-20 min , brush tops with melted butter

Recipe from:

Happy St. Patrick’s Day-Let’s bake some bread

I wanted to publish an entry in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day coming up soon.  I’m a little Irish but not enough Irish to have grown up with recipes handed down from my mother or grandmother.  I can’t remember my mother cooking or baking anything remotely Irish except for maybe boiled potatoes.  I’ve scoured my cookbooks looking for a recipe resembling Irish fare, and I came up empty handed.  I found some cookies made with whiskey but that’s as close as I came. When I voiced my aggravation out-loud, my husband quickly suggested a bread his mother had made for him.  He was so anxious for me to make it, he forwarded a recipe from the internet to me. Ok, dear, I got the hint. Sometimes it takes a pan to fall off its hook and hit me on head to make something obvious, and this is a perfect example.

Whenever I am unfamiliar with a dish, I consult Cook’s Illustrated for a little direction. And of course, they did not disappoint. I have never had Irish Soda Bread, so I have really no idea what’s good and what is traditional, but after testing this recipe, I’m not sure I care.  So much quicker than a bread with yeast, and the taste was of a hearty wheat; crisp on the inside and moist on the inside. With so few ingredients, I never thought this bread was going to have the complexity of taste I require but here it is.

So the bread takes an hour to make(including baking time), and it tastes great; I guess this means I won’t be baking this bread just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Brown Irish Soda Bread

In a large mixing bowl combine: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cake flour, wheat germ(I used ground flax instead), cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sugar.

Incorporate the butter into the flour mixture–I used my hands for the heat to help work in the butter.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk.  Work the flour and buttermilk(important to use buttermilk and not just regular milk) until fully incorporated. Cook’s recommends a cup and a half of buttermilk, but I added a quarter cup more due to the dryness.

Form into a round loaf and add to the cast iron skillet. Take a sharp knife and cut a shallow “X” on the top(Irish did this to ward of the devil and protect the household).  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

    The bread right out of the oven and drizzled with butter.

   Here’s my dinner: sliced Irish Soda Bread with tapenadeTapenade Blog Entry and eggs from my girls. 

The recipe below is taken from  Cooks Illustrated.

Brown Irish Soda Bread


If you do not have a cast iron pan the bread can be baked on a baking sheet although the crust won’t be quite as crunchy. Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is baked but does keep well covered and stored at room temperature for a couple of days after which time it will become dry.


  • 1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 1/2teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2teaspoons salt
  • 3tablespoons sugar
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1tablespoon melted butter, optional


  1. 1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and adjust a rack to the center position. Place the flours, wheat germ, cream of tartar, soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingers until it is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Work the liquid into the flour mixture using a fork until the dough comes together in large clumps. Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead briefly until the loose flour is just moistened. The dough will be sticky and you may add a small amount of flour as you knead. The dough will still be scrappy and uneven.
    2. Form the dough into a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter and place in a cast iron skillet. Score a deep cross on top of the loaf and place in the heated oven. Bake until nicely browned and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with a tablespoon of melted butter if desired. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.