Rye Pain au Levain Revisited

Same recipe and procedure as in my last post. Only this time I made 2 small loaves, 35 minute total bake time and rotated the loaves front to back after 20 minutes. Same great results… this recipe is a keeper!

Happy Baking!


Rye Pain au Levain Batard

This is a very delicious bread… crisp crust, airy crumb and nice sour rye flavor! The only deviations I made from the recipe was making one big batard instead of 2 small ones. Also I did not have the steamer used, so after sliding the dough into the oven onto my pizza stone I poured a cup of water into a metal container placed on the bottom of the oven. Next time I’ll try making 2 small loaves to see if this is the optimal method. The recipe came from Bread Cetera. Click here for the recipe.


Coming soon to a garden near me… Spring and veggie season!


Garlic Rosemary Knots

Garlic Rosemary Knots   (recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)


3 tablespoons butter (melted)

2/3 pizza dough recipe (click here for recipe)

3 tablespoons garlic (minced)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)


1) Make pizza dough (add butter, garlic and rosemary into bowl prior to mixing in flour)

2) Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch square then cut lengthwise into 8 ribbons. Roll each ribbon to round out the edges then tie each one into a knot. Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, loosely cover w/ plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour until slightly puffed. 

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake knots until cooked through and golden (approx. 20 – 25 minutes).

4) Remove from oven and let cool or serve warm – your preference.

Yield: 8 knots


Savor the goodness!


Bannetons and Bread

I bought myself some new kitchen toys to help w/ my bread baking experiments. I did a lot of shopping around at various kitchen stores in St. Louis but couldn’t find a banneton for an affordable price – most places were charging around $40 for a single round one. I found a store online that sold me four bannetons of various shapes and sizes for just over $40 (the price included tax, shipping and an $8 wholesale charge for purchases under $50). I love my new toys!

I used the smallest round banneton a couple of days ago while I attempted to resolve the problem I’ve been experiencing w/ a bread recipe. I didn’t resolve the problem of the bread bursting open at a slash point and altering the shape, but I like the way the boule looks when using a banneton despite it being malformed! On attempt #6 of this recipe I extended the final proof to 4 hours and baked the bread at 460 degrees F for 36 minutes. I’m going to put this recipe on the shelf until Spring and warmer ambient kitchen temperatures in hopes to finally get the results I’m seeking. Until then I’ll experiment w/ new recipes using my new toys…

Happy Baking!


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Here are a few photos from the Christmas feast I attended:

Signing off until next year

Wishing you a fantastic, food filled 2015!!


Sourdough Boule Two Ways

Peter Reinhart‘s Basic Sourdough Boule (click here for recipe)

Weekend Bakery’s Tartine Style Boule (click here for recipe)

Both breads are delicious! The first bread (Peter Reinhart’s sourdough) had a tighter crumb compared to the Tartine style sourdough. I attribute this to the shaping method as well as not using stretch and folds when making the dough. In his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinhart demonstrates a pinching method to make a boule shape. The Weekend Bakery recipe uses stretch and folds in their dough recipe and in the shaping method. 

I’ve made the Tartine style bread 3 times and continue to have problems w/ the loaf splitting open at one of the slash points which causes the boule to lose its round shape. Since the ambient temperature of my kitchen tends to be cool this time of year I may need to increase the final proofing time. This has worked for me w/ other doughs when baking in wintertime, so I’m hoping this will provide the solution.

Both breads are time consuming but worth the effort!

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!!


Final Harvests 2014 and Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

This morning we had our first frost here in St. Louis, so for me it’s the end of the gardening season for 2014. I harvested the remaining bounty on 10/30 because the forecast for this morning was in the low 30’s. I just checked the outside temperature and it’s 31.8 F. It’s been a great growing season! The jalapenos I harvested on 10/18 were pickled and the ones in the photo from 10/30 will be candied. Below are photos of the plentiful pickin’s and the pickled peppers (with an easy recipe if you’re flush with peppers too).

harvest 10/18

harvest 10/30

pickled peppers


Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)


30 medium jalapeno peppers (sliced into rings)

3 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh chives (chopped)

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon (chopped)

3 large cloves garlic (crushed)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

9 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

2 1/4 cups water


1) Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, chives and tarragon in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in jalapenos and remove from heat. Let mixture cool.

2) Pack peppers into jars using tongs, cover w/ vinegar mixture and refrigerate until needed.

Yield: 3 pints

I hope your garden bounty was plentiful too!!


Garden 2014 – Update #4

As the garden fades from Summer into Fall it continues to produce a nice quantity of bounty. There are still some tomatoes, jalapenos, basil and hopefully a few butternut squash to be picked. I made some pesto the other day w/ the Asian basil that I picked and have been enjoying the tomatoes in salads, sandwiches and stir fries. The following garden photos were taken on October 11th. The garden bounty photos have been snapped on various days since my last update.

Brandywine, Pompeii and Black Krim tomatoes

Pineapple, Black Krim and Pompeii tomatoes

Jalapenos, butternut squash, Pineapple, Black Krim, Gold Medal, Crimson and Pompeii tomatoes

Pompeii and Pineapple tomatoes; Siam Queen basil


Happy Eating!


Garden 2014 – Update #3

Wow, the garden is going bonkers! This is shaping up to be the best year since 2009. I’ve harvested quite a bit over the last month, but it looks like the best is yet to come. The combination of the weather and me learning from my mistakes throughout the years has proven fruitful! Here are a few photos I took on September 17th and bounty photos I’ve taken over the past month. (click on photos to enlarge)

 Brandywine and Speckled Roman

 Black Krim and jalapenos

 Crimson, Black Krim and Gold Medal

 Black Krim and Crimson

 Pompeii, Black Krim, Speckled Roman and Crimson

Gold Medal, Pompeii, Speckled Roman and jalapenos


I’m diggin’ the dirt this year!!


Garden 2014 – Update #2

Although a month delayed by the cool, wet summer we’re having in St. Louis, the plants are coming along quite well. I harvested a few tomatoes the other day as well as some jalapeno peppers, chard and kale. Tonight I’m going to dice one of the tomatoes, slice one of the jalapenos and add them to the pan w/ the chopped kale and chard, give it a quick saute’ then combine it w/ some cavatappi pasta. Topped w/ some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, this will make a delicious meal!

Here are some photos I shot on August 5th and the garden bounty I harvested on August 8th:


Crimson tomatoes

Black Krim tomatoes

Speckled Roman tomatoes

 jalapeno peppers

 chard and kale

 baby butternut squash

 hummingbird/butterfly mix



 garden bounty


Green thumbs up!