Tomato Cheese Sourdough with Rosemary

Tomato Cheese

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

This bread came out a tasty success of adding in some mix-ins. We all know tomato and cheese taste great together, so add in the bread and you basically just have pizza in a (marginally) different form. It’s probably all more or less the same inside you right? In any case, this bread was fun and easy to make, despite little cheese cubes trying to run away during kneading. And bonus: it makes your apartment smell amazing and will make all of your neighbours jealous.

2015-02-21-tomato cheese bread sliced2

I was inspired by this post on The Fresh Loaf, which is, by the way, a great resource for bread tips and troubleshooting. I made some adjustments to the recipe, mainly because I wanted a longer overnight rise so I could start making it the second I saw the post at night and be able to bake it the next morning. That is how almost all breads end up being made in my home: while putting off work and procrastibaking.

photo (2)

Tomato Cheese Sourdough with Rosemary

Yield: I made one standard-sized loaf, a small oval loaf, and a fougasse out of this batch

110 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
450 g white bread flour
150 g whole wheat flour
410 g warm water
12 g salt
1 tsp dried rosemary
50 g gouda, cheddar, any cheese you have
50 g parmesan, grana padano, or some other kind of hard salty cheese
70 g sun-dried tomato (mine came packed in oil)

Combine the flours, water, and sourdough starter, and leave at room temp for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the cheeses and tomato in small cubes.

Add the salt to the dough and knead 5 minutes by hand. Then add the rosemary and knead another 5 minutes by hand until the gluten is moderately developed. Now add the diced cheese and tomato, and knead another 5 minutes to incorporate. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover, and leave to rise at room temperature for 2 hours, folding the dough every 30 minutes. Then, place in the fridge overnight.

The next day, the dough should have risen a fair amount and look quite poofy. Take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temp for about 1 hour, then shape it however you please. Preheat the oven to 475F, and bake with steam for 10 minutes, then in a dry oven for another 15ish (baking times will depend on what shape and size you’ve made). Let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

And lastly, here is a friendly reminder to line your pans! I forgot, and this is what I’ve been left with:


More Tales of Bread

2015-02-19-mini baguette

I’ve been obsessed with making bread lately. Ever since I realized just how easy it was to make a sourdough starter, I’ve been constantly whipping up batches of naturally leavened bread (no literal whipping involved). I like my bread with a chewy crust, an open crumb, and a light sourdough flavour, so I’ve been on a mission to create just that: my favourite form of carbs.

After doing some research, I learned that the large irregular holes are created with a high hydration, or ‘wet’ dough. Working with a baker’s percentage, this means that the 100% flour is mixed with about 75-85% water by weight. A lower hydration dough would be something more like 50% water to 100% flour, and would produce a finer crumb (think sandwich bread).

Boule Crumb

The only thing about working with wet doughs is that they are very sticky, and I mean very sticky. But, with the right techniques, they can be easy to work with. No knead breads are also very wet doughs, and are made with very little handling (and therefore, very little sticking to your hands). But there are also ways to knead wet doughs that help to minimize the sticking.

Here is an absolutely stellar video demonstrating the French folding technique, sometimes referred to as the “slap and fold” method. Though you can get basically the same end results with just a gentle stretch and fold of the dough in the bowl (great example here), I actually really enjoy kneading dough. No knead breads may be easy, but for me, it also takes away all of the fun! I’ve recently been making my way through all the QI episodes, and kneading dough has been the perfect accompaniment.


Continue reading More Tales of Bread

Adventures in Bread

I’ve been trying my best to document my bread experiments as of late. I am relatively new to bread baking and I still have a LOT to learn, but so far it’s been so much fun!

Challah à la Smitten Kitchen


English Muffins
English Muffins: Christina Tosi’s very thoroughly written recipe with progress photos available here.
The English Muffins became a part of this heavenly brunch.
The English Muffins became a part of this heavenly eggs benedict brunch.
After a week of feeding, my sourdough was finally ready for some bread baking.
After a week of feeding, my sourdough was finally ready for some bread baking.

Sourdough Breads
Sourdough Breads
Bread turned breakfast! Topped with sauteed mushrooms and creamy scrambled eggs.
Bread turned breakfast! Topped with sauteed mushrooms and creamy scrambled eggs.

cinnamon brown butter pull apart bread

Cinnamon, sugar, yeasty sweet bread and browned butter. Need I say more? This recipe is super easy to make and I had no problems mixing the dough with just a good ol’ spatula, although a stand mixer would also work wonderfully.


This gem of a recipe was found at Joy the Baker


2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar, granulated

1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk, preferably whole

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cups all purpose flour


3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup butter, melted and browned

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt). Set aside.

Whisk the eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute, or until it registers 115-125 F.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a spatula. Add the eggs and mix until they are well incorporated. The mixture will look a little soupy at first, but just keep mixing and it will come together soon enough. Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and stir until well incorporated. The mixture will be quite sticky, just the way we want it.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm space to let it rise. I like to turn my oven on low heat for a couple minutes, then crack the door slightly and stick the bowl in the oven to rise. Ideally, it should double in size in about one hour. Mine only grew about 50% larger but I had no problems with the final result. (If you manage to get the dough to double, it will make a softer bread, but don’t fret if it doesn’t quite grow that much.)

While the dough is rising, whisk together the dry ingredients (sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg) for the filling. Melt the 1/4 cup butter until browned and set aside. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.

Deflate the risen dough and knead in about 2 tablespoons of flour. Let it rise for a couple minutes, then roll it out to a rectangle, roughly 12×20 inches. Brush the melted butter over the whole thing, and sprinkle with all of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Slice the dough into six equal strips, stack the strips, and slice into six equal slice again. This should make a whole bunch of squares. Layer them into the loaf pan. Place a towel over the pan, and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake in the centre of the oven until the top is a deep gold brown, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let it cool for 15 minutes. It’ll be hard to wait that long since your entire kitchen will smell heavenly, so let’s say just a couple minutes to be realistic.

It is absolutely lovely enjoyed right after baking, although I’m sure it could keep in an airtight container for another 1 or 2 days. But trust me, this will never last that long, they’ll be snatched off the table in an instant.

braided lemon bread

Recipe from  Smitten Kitchen

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour

Sponge (above)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

Lemon cream cheese filling
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (5/8 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) homemade (recipe below) or prepared lemon curd

Make sponge: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make dough in a stand mixer: Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes. ??Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.

Make dough by hand: Whisk together sour cream, butter, egg, sugar and vanilla in a large, wide bowl. Stir in sponge. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon as best as you can; you may need to get your hands in there to form it into a shaggy ball. Turn ball of dough and any incorporated scraps onto a counter and knead until a smooth, soft dough forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.

Make the filling (while dough rises): Combine all the filling ingredients (except the lemon curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.

Prepare bread: Gently deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper, please; I did not and it led to all sorts of trouble. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling. (Like so.) Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.

To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper; if you have a bench scraper, this is a great time to use it. Remove the four corner segments. (Like so.) To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips (like so) until you are out. You can tuck the last couple that hand off decoratively under the end of the braid.

Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy.

Bake bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with pearl or coarse sparkling sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and your apartment smells like a doughnut factory. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Lemon Curd

Makes a little shy of 1/2 cup

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, finely grated
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and egg in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.