Studded Spiral Cinnamon Brioche

It’s been a while since I’ve posted… blame the warmer (read: gardening) weather coupled with end-of-the-year school stuff, and spending time at the computer just doesn’t hold the same allure! Besides the usual annual demands for time, I was stuck with a slowly dying laptop which I (finally) replaced this past weekend! Hopefully, this will mean things are back to their slightly-less-sporadic posting… I still have lots to feed you!

Studded Spiral Cinnamon BriocheIf you know me at all, you know that the best way for me to blow off steam is to cook or bake something. Between the rhythm of preparing, mixing and cooking, the ability to be creative, the control over the situation and the smells that emanate while doing so, I don’t see any better solution on the pharmacy shelf! I must come by that trait honestly, since my grandfather would do the same – and, like me, he found bread to be the answer to all. 

Of course, just because bread is the ultimate tamer of hunger and nerves doesn’t mean it always has to be a plain old loaf of white or wheat! With the end of a carton of eggs and a container of Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter sitting in the fridge (it’s the new “cinnamon toast” staple here), I was thinking about a rich, exotically inspired loaf. Of course, I went back to the Middle East for inspiration after finding a neat spiraled Tahini Bread , this Noon Rogani loaf and this flaky pastry along with my stepsister-in-law’s donation of baklava to a family dinner. My mom (my bread-eater) prefers pecans to any other nut, and for me using them in the filling for my version of a spiral bread was only natural, as was using good ol’ Canadian dried cranberries and the same local honey I made this batch of butter with. To keep the filling in, I turned to this handy tip from King Arthur Flour and used the whites left over from my yolk-based egg wash. A spring-form pan coated with semolina helped the bread keep its shape while adding a light crunch.

Cutting into the loaf, the most incredible aroma wafts out and boldly declares that it is anything other than the ordinary. It was perfectly moist and tender, remaining so for days, and when toasted was the perfect foil for the Toast Toppers in the fridge. 


Studded Spiral Cinnamon Brioche

Studded Spiral Cinnamon Brioche
Makes 1 large loaf, 20 slices
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
½ cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp skim milk powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2/3 cup recently fed sourdough starter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp orange flower water (optional)
2 large eggs
⅓ cup Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter

¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup diced pecans
1 tbsp honey
2 egg whites

¼ cup semolina, for dusting
2 egg yolks, beaten with 2 tbsp water, for egg wash


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the sourdough starter and flavourings, mixing well.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in well.
  4. Add the butter in small pieces, beating it in gradually. Continue beating until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 1 ½ hours.

Filling and Assembly:

  1. Line a greased 10” springform pan with parchment and dust the bottom with semolina.
  2. Punch down and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 9 inches wide and 3 feet long. Let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cranberries, pecans, honey and egg whites.
  4. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the filling mixture.
  5. Beginning with a long edge, roll the dough into a log.
  6. Spiral the log into pan or other deep, round pan, tucking the end into the middle.
  7. Cover and let rise in a warm place until very puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  9. Brush the risen loaf with the egg wash.
  10. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until its internal temperature is at least 190ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Check after 20 minutes and tent with foil if it’s browning too quickly.
  11. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently unmould onto a rack to cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 129.2
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 41.4 mg
Sodium: 146.9 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 4.4 g


Butterscotch Apple Bread – #WBD2015

Wow, another whole year has passed since we last celebrated ! While we’re all a year older (and maybe – just maybe – a year wiser), the love for the yeasty, crusty carbohydrate is still going strong!

World Bread Day 2015 (October 16)This year, I knew without a doubt which of my recent loaves would make the cut for our celebration, especially since the holiday falls smack in the middle of Autumn. My family is a gang of tried and true apple dessert fanatics – from the classic pie to my mom’s infamous apple squares, earthy buckwheat-battered rings, granola, bagels and cake. Nothing, though, has ever managed to beat the decadence of piping hot, luscious apple fritters on the blustery Fall days of my youth. True apple fritters – those made with real apples dredged in lightly sweetened batter and fried in lard or (even better) bacon fat – are almost non-existent these days, and while I’m sure our waistlines are better for it every harvest season, I still miss that occasional indulgence.

A few weeks ago, I found myself with all the makings of a great apple dessert in my pantry and fridge begging to be used up. A fresh batch of tallow was packed in jars alongside a big jar of Simple Salted Caramel Sauce and a few desolate apples from lunchboxes gone by. Originally, I was toying with the notion of yet another pie or turnover – but the fact that I was home by myself for three weeks squelched that idea almost as fast. As lovely and decadent as pastry is, it simply doesn’t hold well – whatever I made would more than likely be better off as doorstops than dessert by the time people got to eating it. Only after I delved into the deep freezer to “harvest” some produce from the Summer did I realize that I had been remiss in my breadmaking – Mom would be coming back from her vacation to nothing but the spongy, salty white bread my stepfather adores if I didn’t get my butt in gear.

Butterscotch Apple Twist Bread

The need sparked an idea that just made so much sense I couldn’t wait to try it out – a slightly sweet, “old-fashioned doughnut” flavoured yeast bread filled with swirls of caramel and apple inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour. In the dough, I not only added nutmeg for the classic “doughnut” nuance, but I switched up the butter for my organic tallow, jaggery for the sugar and whole wheat for some of the white flour. The filling was cobbled together from the goodies in my fridge – I diced up the apples and steam-fried them before drenching them in Scotch and salted caramel, making a gooey, totally dessert-worthy centre. Swirling the dough together a la the original recipe proved more problematic than I thought, but beauty contest aside the final loaf was a winner through and through – proof that looks are definitely not everything (especially when the result is edible!).

Butterscotch Apple Twist Bread

Be sure to keep an eye out on Zorra’s site for the full #WBD2015 roundup!

Butterscotch Apple Bread
Makes one large loaf, 26 slices 
Adapted from KAF

¼ cup water or apple juice
3 medium apples, peeled and diced
2 tbsp Scotch whiskey (optional)
½ cup thin caramel sauce
generous pinch salt (omit if using salted caramel like Simple Salted Caramel Sauce)

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
¼ cup potato flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ oz soy lecithin granules
¼ cup crushed jaggery or coconut palm sugar (brown sugar can be used too)
½ tbsp instant yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
2 oz tallow or butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water, for egg wash


  1. Heat water apple juice in a small pot over medium-high heat and add the apple pieces.
  2. Cover and cook 2 minutes, then uncover and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the Scotch, immediately followed by the caramel sauce and salt.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and cool completely.


  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the tallow (or butter), vanilla, 1 egg and milk, then mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Knead the dough for 12 minutes, until it feels slightly sticky and soft.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let the dough rise 2 hours, until it’s almost doubled.
  6. Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Press into a large rectangle.
  7. Spread the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin clear of filling along all sides.
  8. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise.
  9. Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together.
  10. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  11. In the morning, remove the loaf from the fridge and set aside to rise for 2 hours.
  12. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  13. Beat together the remaining egg and water, then brush over the entire surface of the dough to seal the filling to the surface as best you can.
  14. Bake loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges.
  15. Cool completely before slicing.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 124.6
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 16.9 mg
Sodium: 180.9 mg
Total Carbs: 21.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 3.0 g

Apple – Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread #SundaySupper

Well, Fall is here. Amidst the collective grumblings of parents, kids and kid-like adults, this beautiful season is beginning to lend its colours and flavours to the neighbourhood and table. I recently picked up a few of my favourite Winter squash – delicata – at the farmers market and can’t wait for the crops of crispy local apples to start coming in. With luck, we’lleven have a chance to go picking again this year, after last year’s harvest was wiped out by the previous Winter’s ice storm.

Fall is also the opportunity to embrace the warmth and comfort of the baker’s kitchen again, after avoiding any significant prolonged sources of heat for the past few months. I love diving headfirst into the brisk temperatures with pies, muffins and loaves – and this year there’s nothing more Autumnal than this spicy-sweet yeast bread! I started with a pumpkin-packed whole wheat dough laced with warm spices, then rolled a ribbon of luxurious, unsweetened apple butter inside. The apple butter keeps the bread moist and tender for days on end, and is a fantastic addition to breakfast either toasted (with cultured butter or cream cheese!) or straight up. I’ve been enjoying it so much that I actually need to procure some more apples now – I have more Fall treats to try!

Apple Butter-Swirled Pumpkin Bread

#SundaySupper this week is celebrating the arrival of Fall as well, featuring all types of dishes suiting the cooler climate. What’s your favourite Fall treat?

Apple-Currant Dutch Baby Pancake by The Weekend Gourmet
Apple Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread by What Smells So Good?
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread by Party Food and Entertaining
Giant Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart by Pies and Plots
Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits by Tara’s Multicultural Table

Appetizers and Sides
Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Cabbage Soup with Lentils by Monica’s Table
Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins by Pancake Warriors
Pumpkin Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes by Love and Confections
Roasted Veggie Tart by Books n’ Cooks

Main Dishes
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Roasted Veggies & Couscous by Momma’s Meals
Butternut Squash Lentil Curry Soup by Food Done Light
Curry Beef Pies by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Fantasy Rice by The Petit Gourmet
King Prawns in Red Sauce – Mauritian Style Creole Sauce by Peachy Tales
Pasta with Creamy Butternut & Bacon by Cooking Chat
Pork Chops with Apple Dijon Sauce and Arugula Salad by Crazy Foodie Stunts
Pork Chops with Glazed Apples and Vegetables by The Complete Savorist
Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash by Feeding Big and More
Roasted Tomato Soup with Bacon/Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich by A Gouda Life
Salt Roasted Salmon over Roasted Butternut & Yam Soup by Lifestyle Food Artistry
Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken, Delicata Squash and Olives by Foodie Tots
Sweet Potato French Bean Lentil Salad by Food Lust People Love
Sweet Potato Alfredo Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup by Eating in Instead
Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables by Life Tastes Good

Desserts and Cocktails
Apfelkuchen by Curious Cuisiniere
Applesauce Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirls by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Apple Gingersnap Refrigerator Dessert by Recipes Food and Cooking
Autumn Bellini by An Appealing Plan
Autumn Spice Cookies by Desserts Required
Caramel Apple Napoleons by The Crumby Cupcake
Caramel Apple Pie Bundles by The Freshman Cook
Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins by The Redhead Baker
Caramel Apple Swirl Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Cheesecake Swirl Pumpkin Muffins by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Chestnut and Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream by Caroline’s Cooking
Dark Chocolate-Espresso Pumpkin Tiramisu by Brunch with Joy
Dutch Apple Pie by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Drizzle by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Pumpkin Crisp by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake by Flour On My Face
Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cookies by Palatable Pastime
Roasted Maple Pears by Amee’s Savory Dish
Spiced Pear Cake by Simply Healthy Family
Spiced Pumpkin Bread by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
Sweet Apple Skillet Cake by Nosh My Way

Plus, A Guide to Apples plus Best Fall Recipes Ideas for #SundaySupper

    Sunday Supper Movement 
    Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    Apple – Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread
    Makes one loaf, 16 slices
    ¼ cup maple sugar
    2 tsp instant yeast
    2 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
    2 tbsp chickpea flour
    ¾ cup all purpose flour
    1 tsp salt
    ½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice
    ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk (I used Westsoy®)
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    ¼ cup unsweetened apple butter

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, yeast, flours, salt and spice.
    2. Combine the soy milk and pumpkin in a bowl and microwave until lukewarm, then add to the mixer.
    3. Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes, until soft but not sticky.
    4. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
    5. Press dough into a rectangle and spread with an even layer of apple butter, leaving 1” space on one “short” end.
    6. Starting from the filled end, roll up into a loaf and place in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
    7. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes.
    8. Preheat your oven to 350°F and bake loaf for 45 to 50 minutes – or until the center reads 190°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer.
    9. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan immediately.
    10. Cool before slicing.

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 112.4
    Total Fat: 0.6 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 13.0 mg
    Total Carbs: 24.4 g
    Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
    Protein: 3.7 g

    Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough

    Is there a person who doesn’t love pizza? The idea of a topped flatbread is so appealing that it spans cultures, generations and dietary preferences, leading to regional “standard” favourites like Chicago deep-dish and blistered, cracker-thin Neapolitan as well as international variations on the theme like Turkish pide, German flammkuchen, and Macedonian pastrmajlija. Here at home – especially at my house – the more or less traditional Italian style of pizza takes precedence, but it’s more often enjoyed via a phone call to the local delivery guys. My stepbrother, however, discovered the delights of homemade pizza and from what I hear has since been making some fabulous ones for himself and his wife. After tasting one of these, my mom started talking about the possibilities of homemade pizza too – especially now that she’s retired and getting back into the foodie scene. All she needed was a recipe!

    Sourdough Pizza Crust

    Luckily, I had a few options that I was keen on trying out, from the sweeter Dessert Pizza crust I shared a few weeks back to a re-tooling of the Higher Protein Pizza Dough, a crispy semolina and spelt base (riffed from this one) and even a recipe touted as the key to “Light-as-Air” Pizza. In the end, though, the need to both use up some sourdough toss-off and make a larger batch of dough to account for my Summer Camp group brought me to KAF’s Sourdough Pizza Crust, and I have to say the results tasted better than any other pizza dough I’ve had. As sourdough lovers, both Mom and I were easily drawn to the tangy, yeasty aroma the dough had as it was rising and, later, par-baking. I wound up freezing half a batch for later, since Mom declared she could eat the whole pizza herself as well as the leftover crusts! That said, the dough both freezes and thaws perfectly, and the ability of it to slowly thaw and rise in the fridge afterwards, in my opinion, improves the flavour even more.

    Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough
    Makes 2 thin crusts or 1 thick crust 
    Sourdough Pizza Crust1 cup sourdough starter, unfed (straight from the fridge)
    ½ cup warm tap water
    1 cup flour
    2 cups whole wheat bread flour
    2 tbsp soy flour
    ½ cup semolina
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp instant yeast
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
    1 tsp fresh thyme

    1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix all the ingredients to combine.
    2. Increase the speed to medium and knead 8 minutes, until smooth and slightly sticky.
    3. Place in a lightly greased container, cover and let rise until doubled – about 1 – 1 ½ hours.


    For two round, super-thin crust pizzas:

    1. Drizzle two 12″ round pizza pans with olive oil, tilting the pans to coat the bottom. Sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
    2. Punch down the dough and divide in half, cover and let rest 15 minutes.
    3. With a rolling pin, begin flattening the dough into a round, always starting from the centre of the ball and moving outwards.
    4. When the dough starts to shrink back, cover and let it rest again for 15 minutes, then place in the prepared pan and finish by pressing the dough to the edges of the pans.
    5. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. 
    6. If freezing dough, wrap in plastic, then foil and store in a freezer bag up to 6 months. Unwrap and thaw in the fridge before proceeding.

    For one thick crust pizza:

    1. Drizzle olive oil into a rimmed 10″ x 15″ cookie sheet or a 14″ round pizza pan, tilting the pan to coat with the oil. Sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
    2. Punch down the dough and shape into a flattened disk.
    3. Place in the pan, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    4. Push the dough towards the edges of the pan. If it starts to shrink back, re-cover and let it rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.
    5. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until desired thickness is reached.


    1. Heat your oven to 450°F.
    2. For thin crusts, par-bake the dough for 4 minutes, then top and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
    3. For a thicker crust, par-bake the crust for 8 minutes before topping. Top and bake 10 minutes longer.

    To Freeze:

    1. Par-bake the crust(s) as described above and cool completely.
    2. Wrap in plastic, then foil, and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw completely before proceeding.

    Amount Per Whole Recipe
    Calories: 1,813.5
    Total Fat: 7.9 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 20.8 mg
    Total Carbs: 378.7 g
    Dietary Fiber: 45.4 g
    Protein: 70.4 g

    Sourdough Pizza Crust

    Studded Zucchini Yeast Bread (A #BreadBakers Summer Bounty Recipe)

    It’s prime zucchini weather here. I don’t know why I’m still surprised that we’re pulling behemoth Summer squashes out of the garden every other afternoon, since in the past 5 years there were only two Summers that yielded a less-than-robust harvest. One thing’s for sure, though, and that’s the fact that once again, we’re putting zucchini into almost everything we can think of – alongside the “usual” zucchini bread, I’ve thrown it into soups, stir fries, tomato sauces and brownies, tossed it on the grill for a side dish and even sliced it into sticks for crudite platters. Last year I shredded and froze a ton of  the squash into 1-cup “zucchini pucks” for baking with, and even then I wound up dehydrating some for pantry storage… we were running out of freezer space!

    You would never guess the secret ingredient in this tender, trail mix studded loaf was shredded zucchini!

    I was excited to find a “zucchini bread” from Green Gourmet Giraffe that not only used up a good amount of the vegetable but wasn’t a sweet quickbread. Since I’m baking loaves for Mom most weeks anyway, this one made it into rotation and has been her (very vocalized!) favourite of the most recent few. The zucchini does what it does best in baking, disappearing without leaving any trace of flavour but lending a moisture and tenderness to the crumb. The trail mix peppers the dough with bits of crunch and a light sweetness, and the combination makes slices great for French toast in the morning or supporting a roasted chicken or turkey sandwich for lunch. Of course, smearing your favourite Toast Topper on a slice is always a delicious and quick option – especially if it’s over peanut butter!

    The #BreadBakers are serving up the best of Summer’s bounty this time around!

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers 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 an email with your blog URL to


    Studded Zucchini Yeast Bread
    Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices
    2 ½ tsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp maple sugar or brown sugar
    1 cup flour
    2 ¼ – 2 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
    1 ⅓ cups warm unsweetened milk alternative (I used almond)
    350 g zucchini, grated and squeezed of excess water (about 2 cups before draining)
    ½ cup trail mix (mine was called “Cranberry Classic” and had dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and golden raisins – use your favourite, preferably with both fruit and nuts/seeds)
    2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp melted coconut oil
    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine yeast, sugar, flours, milk and zucchini. Mix for 2 minutes, then cover and let rest 10 minutes.
    2. Add cranberries, salt and coconut oil and knead for 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
    3. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
    4. Punch down the dough and shape into a log. Place in a greased loaf pan and re-cover.
    5. Let rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
    6. During the second rise, preheat oven to 430F.
    7. Bake for 15 minutes, then tent with foil and bake 20 minutes more, until dark golden and hollow sounding when tapped.
    8. Turn out immediately and cool on a rack.

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 143.5
    Total Fat: 4.1 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 308.1 mg
    Total Carbs: 23.1 g
    Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
    Protein: 4.5 g

    Multigrain Twist Bread – #BreadBakers

    Given how much bread is consumed in our household, it’s rare that I ever really get to spend time churning out decorative or lengthy preparation loaves during the school year. Now that we’re in the throes of Summer vacation (though granted, I’m still working at our Summer School until August), a small but workable window of extra time has opened up it’s arms to me, allowing me the opportunity to garden, read, (start) typing up some long overdue cookbook reviews, begin this year’s canning projects and – yes – even bake bread. With our latest major purchase (a convection hybrid oven) sitting primed for action in the kitchen, I’ve been itching to test out it’s bells and whistles!

    This loaf looks impressive and tastes even better, but is extraordinarily simple to put together. Thanks to a hefty dose of half and half, the crumb is melt-in-your-mouth tender even though it’s 100% whole grain. For a little extra texture, flavour and protein, a bit of toasted soy flour and a hot “cereal” mix of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and chia seeds were added to the basic flour/yeast mixture, followed by extra crunch and sweetness from granola. Finally, the whole dough twists into a swirl that fits perfectly in a loaf pan, giving it both an appealing look and a practical form for slicing and toasting!

    Multigrain Twist

    The #BreadBakers are all about baking with oats this month! Oats of any kind: rolled, flour, steel cut, or quick cooking are all fair game, as well as the overall type of bread – sweet, savoury, quick or yeasted! This go-round is hosted by Kids and Chic. Thanks!

    Oatmeal Bread themed #BreadBakers:

    Multigrain Twist Bread

    Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices
    2 ¾ cups whole wheat bread flour
    ¼ cup rye flour
    ¼ cup kinako (toasted soy flour*), low fat soy flour or chickpea flour
    ½ cup multigrain hot cereal (I used 4 Grain Hot Cereal from GoGo Quinoa)
    ¼ cup quick cooking oats
    ¼ cup sugar
    ½ tbsp instant yeast
    1 cup warm ½ and ½ cream
    ¾ cup warm water
    1 tsp salt
    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, cereal, oats, sugar and yeast.
    2. Add the cream and water and mix just to form a dough. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
    3. Add the salt and knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
    4. Add the granola and knead 2 minutes.
    5. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
    6. Punch dough down and divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
    7. Roll each half into a rope, twist the two ropes together and pinch ends to seal.
    8. Place loaf in a greased 9×5” loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
    9. Bake at 375°F for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and the middle of the loaf registers 190°F.
    10. Remove from pan immediately and cool completely before slicing.
    *Say what? Look here for another treat with kinako

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 172.1
    Total Fat: 4.1 g
    Cholesterol: 6.1 mg
    Sodium: 13.1 mg
    Total Carbs: 27.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
    Protein: 5.7 g

    Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah #BreadBakers

    While it’s only been a few days since I last shared a decadent, hearty loaf of bread with everyone, I couldn’t wait to get back into the bread kitchen as soon as I could!

    With the school year’s end approaching all too quickly, I find myself spending more and more time away from my beloved stove and oven and in front of Excel spreadsheets and Word documents, moseying through report cards. When I can’t stand another minute in front of the screen (or sitting still), bread making becomes my go-to relief – it’s multi-stepped, interspersed with waiting periods which I use to continue “work” work, the (albeit minimal) hand kneading and shaping is therapeutic and the sheer variety of flavour and texture possibilities allow my imagination to run wild, even if only for an hour.

    Figgy Olive Oil & Sesame Challah

    I had kept my eye on the #BreadBakers challenge group for a while now, soaking up the decadent posts from the likes of Baking in Pyjamas, Noshing with the Nolands, Magnolia Days and a few others from #SundaySupper, and I finally got the nerve to join in! This month was focused on the world of stuffed bread, and I knew exactly the loaf I wanted to create. Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, this just hearty enough, half whole-wheat dough is enriched to silky, smooth and tender perfection with eggs, honey and both olive and sesame oils. As tender and moist as it is, after rising the dough keeps its integrity, making it strong enough to not only weave into an 8-strand plait but hold ribbons of homemade fig-sesame jam inside each “rope”. Each slice has maximum fig and sesame distribution, and truthfully needs no adornment… however, that didn’t stop up from thinly spreading on some tahini and runny honey at breakfast time!

    Figgy Olive Oil & Sesame Challah

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers home page.

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

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

    This month, we’re filling out breads with all sorts of goodies… why not “stuff” yourself with these bakes!

    Sweet Breads

    Savory Breads

    Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah
    Makes one large loaf, 24 slices

    1 tbsp instant yeast
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups whole wheat bread flour
    ¼ cup honey
    ⅔ cup warm water
    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    2 eggs
    2 tsp Kosher salt

    Fig Filling:
    6 oz chopped dried figs
    ½ cup water
    ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
    pinch sea salt
    pinch white pepper
    pinch cardamom
    3 tbsp sesame seeds
    1 tsp vanilla

    Egg wash:
    1 large egg
    sesame seeds, for topping


    1. Whisk the yeast and flours in a stand mixer bowl.
    2. Add honey, water, oils and eggs and mix just until dough begins to hold together.
    3. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
    4. Knead with the dough hook on low speed for 8 minutes.
    5. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

    Fig paste (can be made ahead and refrigerated):

    1. In a small saucepan, combine the figs, water, juice, salt, pepper and cardamom.
    2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs are soft and tender, about 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and let cool to lukewarm.
    4. Process fig mixture to a paste, either with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Stir in the sesame seeds and set aside.


    1. After the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn onto a floured work surface.
    2. Divide it in half and roll the first half into a wide rectangle.
    3. Spread half the fig filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border on on long side.
    4. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, then gently stretch the log as long as possible without breaking the dough. Divide it in half and set aside.
    5. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling.

    Weaving (for visuals check out the original recipe):

    1. Arrange two ropes in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a tight tic-tac-toe board.
    2. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet.
    3. Take the four ends that come from underneath the center and move them to their right, over the other strands.
    4. Take the ends that were just covered (originally on the right) and cross them over the end to the left. If you have extra length in your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. Tuck the corners or odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.
    5. Transfer the dough to a parchment-covered baking sheet or, if you have a baking stone, a baker’s peel.
    6. Mist with oil and let the loaf rise for another hour.
    7. 30 minutes into the rising time, preheat your oven (with a stone if you have it) to 375°F.


    1. Brush loaf with the beaten egg and water combination and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
    2. Bake 60-70 minutes, covering lightly with foil after 30 minutes.
    3. When baked, the center of the loaf should be 195°F.  

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 150.8
    Total Fat: 5.1 g
    Cholesterol: 23.2 mg
    Sodium: 103.8 mg
    Total Carbs: 23.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
    Protein: 4.0 g

      Cranberry-Orange Bulgur Bread (#RecipeRedux)

      If you’re to go through my kitchen and baker’s arsenal, the sheer amount of random ingredients (in random amounts) would likely shock and amaze you. I normally pride myself on being relatively comprehensive in my use of things – i.e. I don’t buy what I don’t need – but due to buying in bulk most of the time I wind up with odds and ends of ingredients that never seem to add up to much.

      Eventually, though, all those odds and ends get to be just too much and it comes time for a purge. When it’s a more “savoury” ingredient like legumes or grains, a pot of soup can eat up the majority of them in quick order. Bread is almost never left behind in this household, but turns into stuffing cubes for the next roast turkey dinner, while bones and veggie scraps turn into containers of stock. When it comes to the sweeter things though, or the “middle ground” items that can go either way, coming up with an adequate use for all of them within as few recipes as possible becomes a bit more challenging. The last “pantry purge” of mine landed me with bulgur, orange juice and Craisins – all suitable for a breakfast hot cereal or dinner pilaf, but since nobody here was in the mood for those I reverted to my fallback – a loaf of bread.

      I think of bread as the “catch all” of the baking pantry. It’s hard to think of something that can’t fit one way or another into a loaf of yeasted goodness, and these ingredients were (in the grand scheme of things) fairly easy to incorporate. The resulting loaf has just enough grainy texture and fruity flavour to play nicely with the pops of dried fruit, and makes excellent French toast as well as a great accompaniment to spicy soup or grilled chicken.

      Cranberry-Orange Bulgur Bread

      This month our #RecipeRedux group is raiding the pantry, cupboards, freezer, and fridge for the hidden or forgotten treasures we bury. What ‘treasures’ have you found recently in your home, and what do you do with them? Let me know in the comments and be sure to check out all the treats below!


      Cranberry-Orange Bulgur Bread
      Makes one loaf, 16 slices
      1 cup orange juice, hot
      ¾ cup water, hot
      ¾ cup bulgur
      2 eggs
      3 cups whole wheat bread flour, divided
      1- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
      2 tbsp sugar
      2 tsp instant yeast
      1½ tsp salt
      ⅓ cup Craisins

      1. Combine orange juice, water and bulgur in a bowl. Cover and let stand 2 hours. Mix in eggs.
      2. Meanwhile, stir together flours, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add bulgur mixture with remaining liquid.
      3. Knead with the dough hook on low speed for 10 minutes, until dough is elastic and supple but soft.
      4. Transfer bread to a greased bowl, cover and let rest 30 minutes.
      5. Deflate dough and knead in the Craisins by hand.
      6. On a lightly floured surface, press dough into a rectangle, then roll up from the short end into a tight log, pinching seam to seal.
      7. Transfer (seam-side down) to a lightly greased 9×5” loaf pan.
      8. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
      9. Heat oven to 375 F.
      10. Bake 40 minutes, until browned and hollow-sounding when tapped.
      11. Turn out immediately and cool completely before slicing

      Amount Per Serving
      Calories: 166.2
      Total Fat: 1.4 g
      Cholesterol: 23.1 mg
      Sodium: 228.6 mg
      Total Carbs: 34.2 g
      Dietary Fiber: 4.4 g
      Protein: 6.1 g

      Blueberry Crunch Bread

      If there’s one food I know my family would be lost without, it’s bread. It’s a component of at least one meal or snack every day, from the outside of breakfast egg sandwiches to a base for late night cinnamon toast, mid-morning coffee break fare and even in-a-pinch salad toppers. Granted, most of the family are dedicated to the storebought, white and in my opinion spongy loaves out there – why, I’m not quite sure – but my mom and I are longtime converts of homemade, hearty and ever-variable breads that hold their own without needed pomp and circumstance. 

      Even the healthiest bread is no good on our table without a good dose of flavour going for it, though. For mom and I, that usually means one (or more) of three things: natural sweetness (from honey or maple syrup), fruit or crunchy bits like grains, seeds and nuts.When my mom was pining for a crusty,  artisan-style loaf with the fruitiness of my Multigrain Spelt and Blueberry Sourdough but a slightly richer crumb, I thought immediately of a recipe I had bookmarked from Flavored Breads: Recipes from Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe. A few slight modifications later (based purely on what I had available) and I had a perfectly workable dough stuffed with fruit and begging for just a little something more. A handful of Gingerbread Love Crunch from Nature’s Path added subtle crunch and flavour perfect for offsetting the tenderness of the bread.

      Blueberry Crunch Bread

      Shared with YeastSpotting

      Blueberry Crunch Bread
      Makes one large loaf, 20 slices
      4 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
      3 oz whole milk ricotta cheese (I used homemade)
      1 tbsp sugar
      1 tbsp canola oil
      1 egg
      ¼ cup non-fat Greek yoghurt
      1 cup warm water
      1 tbsp vanilla
      zest of 1 lemon
      1 tbsp instant yeast
      3 cups whole wheat bread flour
      1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
      ½ tbsp salt
      1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
      1 cup chunky granola cereal (I used the seasonally available Gingerbread Love Crunch from Nature’s Path)

      1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cheeses, sugar, oil, egg, yoghurt, water, vanilla and lemon zest until well combined.
      2. Add the yeast, flours and salt and knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes.
      3. Cover and let rise 1 ½ hours.
      4. Punch down and gently but thoroughly knead in the berries and granola.
      5. Shape into a round loaf and place (seam side down) in a greased 10” springform pan.
      6. Cover and let rise 40-60 minutes, until one and a half times it’s size.
      7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400F.
      8. Bake the loaf 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the sides and cooling completely.

      Blueberry Crunch BreadAmount Per Serving
      Calories: 164.6
      Total Fat: 4.7 g
      Cholesterol: 17.7 mg
      Sodium: 37.2 mg
      Total Carbs: 26.3 g
      Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
      Protein: 5.5 g

      Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule

      Growing up, there was never a time that our pantry went without a jar of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Whether it was brand-name Nutella, the supermarket label or a totally foreign (to us) version, the flavours of rich cocoa, buttery hazelnuts and God only knows how much added oil and sugar were never far from us kids and our wandering spoons! Those days (and I sound so old saying this), we didn’t have to worry about bringing tree nuts to school – only peanut butter was verboten – so my picky sister happily subsisted off of Wonder Bread and Nutella sandwiches for years in elementary.

      Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough BouleNow, of course, more and more things are off the public menu – peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, pork and (most recently in my school) “WowButter” type spreads (granted, this last one is out of worry that the labels will fall off or be accidentally attached to a PB containing item, since the products are so similar). I’ve even been warned against using chocolate in my cooking classes – which is such a shame given that I preach moderation in all things, including decadent treats. I’ve kept a few rich goodies on my syllabus though – no fear of that!

      Thankfully, out of the school lunchbox doesn’t mean off the home menu. While my mom didn’t grow up with Nutella, and certainly doesn’t have the addiction my younger sibling did, she does enjoy the flavours of bittersweet chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. Looking to create a hearty, crusty and lightly sweet loaf to go with her weekly soup lunches, I took a slightly different tack when it came to infusing flavour throughout the whole crumb. While warming the milk for the dough, I added whole hazelnuts which steeped and softened, giving rich nutty hints to the liquid. Bittersweet chocolate and the merest touch of sourdough starter helped cut through the richness of the nuts and any sticky-sweetness in the dough (which only contained 3 tbsp of brown sugar), and the whole wheat body of the bread stayed moist and tender thanks to both the milk and a touch of soy lecithin. Originally, I wanted to do this recipe with the hazelnut milk I had spotted at the supermarket, but (of course) by the time I got around to baking day it was MIA – no doubt sold out to other hazelnut fans!

      Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule

      A slice of this loaf made for a perfect “end of lunch” carb, not being too sweet but decadent enough for a light dessert when topped with butter or Terry’s Chocolate Marmalade. Of course, for breakfast I would totally spread on the peanut butter or cream cheese, and if I wanted a rich weeknight dessert for one I’d make a slab into French toast topped with melted Nutella and dried cherries. Oh yes – I went there!

      Shared with YeastSpotting

      Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule
      Makes one large boule, 20 slices
      ¾ cup whole hazelnuts
      1 cup whole milk (or hazelnut milk if you can find it)
      3 cups whole wheat bread flour
      3 tbsp brown sugar
      1 tsp salt
      2 tsp instant yeast
      1 tbsp soy lecithin granules (optional, retains the tenderness of the crumb longer, especially if freezing)
      ½ cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
      ¼-⅓ cup water
      ½ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

      1. Combine hazelnuts and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let stand 30 minutes.
      2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and soy lecithin (if using).
      3. Add the sourdough starter, then strain in the hazelnut infused milk (reserve hazelnuts).
      4. Knead with the dough hook, adding water if necessary to make a soft but shapeable dough, for 8 minutes.
      5. Add hazelnuts and chocolate and knead in gently.
      6. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise 30 minutes.
      7. Deflate gently and shape into a ball. Place on a greased sheet tray, cover and refrigerate 2 – 12 hours.
      8. Heat the oven to 375F. Remove dough from fridge and let stand 30 minutes.
      9. Bake for 35 minutes, until hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely before slicing.

      Amount Per Serving
      Calories: 145.0
      Total Fat: 6.0 g
      Cholesterol: 1.2 mg
      Sodium: 123.0 mg
      Total Carbs: 22.0 g
      Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
      Protein: 4.2 g