Oatmeal Bread

More pandemic bread making.  I am using one of the last envelopes of yeast my neighbor was kind enough to share with me.  Yeast and flour are extremely hard to come by right now.  I’ve never before had trouble finding yeast on the grocery store shelves.  Apparently toilet paper isn’t the only thing people are hoarding. A friend messaged me a couple days ago after finding a jar of yeast in her freezer which had a 2013 expiration date on it.  She wanted to know if I thought it was still good.  I sent her a link with instructions for testing the yeast to see if it would still work.  Testing is really very simple.  You put a little yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar and it should start bubbling after a few minutes.  If it bubbles, you’re good to go.  Amazingly her yeast was still good.  Freezing or refrigerating dry yeast lengthens its shelf life as long as it is in an airtight container.  Cake yeast should not be frozen.  But truthfully, I haven’t seen cake yeast in years!!

Back to my oatmeal bread.  This recipe is one that I found years ago in the food section of a local newspaper.  It’s a hearty, dense bread.  Easy to make. The brown sugar and whole wheat flour give it a bit of a sweet molasses like flavor.  We toasted some this morning and enjoyed it with a cup of coffee.


1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 T salt

2 T butter

2 cups boiling water

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 cups AP flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl, pouring the boiling water over the butter and dry ingredients.  Stir and set aside until it cools to lukewarm.

Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.  Once the oatmeal mixture has cooled, add the yeast.  If it is too hot it will kill the yeast so make sure you’ve allowed it to cool sufficiently.  Start stirring in the 4 cups of AP flour and the 1/2 cup of wheat flour.  You’ll have a shaggy dough.

Empty the dough onto a clean work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add a little additional flour if necessary.  After kneading you should have a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

Place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly greased with butter.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel.  This bowl belonged to my grandmother who regularly made pulla (a Finnish braided bread with cardamom) and limpu (a Finnish rye bread).  Over the years I watched lots of bread dough rise in that bowl making it extra special to me.

Put the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until it is double in size.  Many new ovens have a proof setting that you can use to speed the rise process a bit.

Punch the dough down and divide into two loaves.  You can shape them into standard loaves and put them in greased pans or shape them in rounds on a parchment covered sheet pan.  Whatever your shape preference.  Cover with a towel and allow the dough to once again double.  While your dough is rising preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the pans and allow the loaves to cool on a wire rack.  Slice and enjoy. There’s nothing like homemade bread.  The ultimate comfort food.

NOTE:  This dough can be made using the dough hook on your KitchenAid.  But I think hand kneading is much more satisfying.  As my daughter says, sometimes you just have the need to knead.  If you keep making bread during this pandemic, it becomes important and necessary to share it with someone.

Focaccia Garden


About a week ago a friend posted a picture of a beautiful pan of focaccia bread.  And I had to make it.  There are lots and lots of recipes for focaccia bread on line.  The recipes almost all have lots of olive oil and herbs.  Some have olives, cheeses, tomato, bits of bacon or vegetables…the possibilities are endless.  Focaccia bakes up a little crispy on the outside (I’m sure due to all the olive oil) and soft on the inside.  It is a yeasted flat bread that I believe originated in Italy.  Originally focaccia was cooked in wood fired ovens which would obviously be wonderful…adding that smoky flavor to all of the garlic and herbs.  My fascination with this particular loaf was the flower garden of vegetables.  Focaccia is a really easy bread to make and creating the garden was just a bonus!  And who doesn’t like some warm bread fresh from the oven??

Bread Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 T fresh)

1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 T fresh)

fresh ground black pepper

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1/4 tsp honey

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

In a small cold skillet, combine the olive oil, rosemary and thyme, black pepper and garlic.  I combined the rosemary, thyme and black pepper in my mortar to bring out the flavors before adding them to the oil.

Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until oil is aromatic being careful not to brown the garlic.  If the garlic is browned it can give off a bitter, off-putting taste.  Set the oil aside and allow to cool.  You don’t want to add it into the flour and yeast mixture when it is too hot or you will kill the yeast.

Combine warm water, yeast and honey in a large bowl.  Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of garlic and herb infused oil and 1 cup of flour to the yeast and stir until flour has been moistened.  Allow it to rest another 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining flour and salt until the dough comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a half dozen times until the dough is smooth.

Put the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel, set in a warm place, and allow to rise for about an hour.

Preheat  the oven to 450.

Spread 2 T of the garlic and herb oil in a 9×13 baking sheet.  Take the dough and press it down onto the baking sheet.  Use your fingers to dimple the dough and then drizzle 2 T of the garlic and herb oil on top of the dough.

Let rise for about 20 minutes until slightly puffed.  When the 20 minutes starts we have the fun part!  Get out your flower making produce.

Use your imagination.  Anything goes.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  As you can see, the bread looked a little prettier before it was baked.  But pretty cool nonetheless.

The house still smells wonderful from the herb and garlic infused oil and the bread was delicious. I used a partial clove of garlic in my rasping bowl, added a little olive oil, and we dipped the bread.  Had some for lunch and will be enjoying some tonight with eggplant Parmesan.


This beautiful rasping bowl was purchased from LaTulip Pottery and Tile Works in Garden, MI.  LaTulip Pottery is on facebook if you want to look them up.  I originally purchased a rasping bowl at a little gift shop in Munising, MI and subsequently ordered more for gifts directly from LaTulip.

NOTE:  If you’d like you can switch up the herbs, add more or less garlic.  I’m thinking that this recipe (minus the vegetable garden) would be very good with pizza toppings and cheese.  I’m not a fan of thick pizza crust but I think I might like it on the focaccia.

Savory Swirl Buns

This is a recipe that my daughter found and shared with me.  The recipe was called “herby everything cheddar swirl buns” but I modified the recipe and you may want to modify it as well.  They look like cinnamon rolls, sans icing, but they are a savory, serve with dinner, bun.  They are easy to make and can be changed up to suit almost any palate.   I think they are best eaten warm out of the oven.  I shared half the recipe with a neighbor and a couple buns that were leftover I made into croutons and served them with tomato bisque.


1 cup warm whole milk (my daughter used buttermilk)

1 packet instant dry yeast

1 T honey

2 eggs, beaten

2 T butter, melted

3 1/2 – 4 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups (total) shredded Parmesan and asiago cheese

2 T basil leaves chiffonade (a fancy word for slicing basil into thin ribbons…stack, roll, slice)

2 T everything bagel spices

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup roasted tomato pesto

This recipe is so easy when you use a mixer with a dough hook attachment.  Heat your milk (or buttermilk) to between 105 and 110 degrees.   In the bowl of the stand mixer combine the warm milk, yeast, honey, eggs, butter, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes.  If the dough seems too sticky add some or all of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

While your dough is rising make your filling.  Grate your cheese and combine the cheese, basil, everything bagel spices, and crushed red pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 9×13 pan or two 8” round pans with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Once the dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10×16 rectangle.  Spread the dough with the pesto.

Sprinkle the seasoned cheese mixture over the dough, lightly pushing it into the pesto.

Roll the dough into a log, pinching the edges to seal.  Using a sharp knife (or dental floss) cut into 12 rolls.

Put the rolls into the prepared pan(s) and cover with plastic wrap or the clean kitchen towel.

Allow the rolls to rise for approximately 30 minutes.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the buns are golden brown.

Brush the buns with butter when you take them out of the oven.  Enjoy with a nice pasta dish or soup.

NOTE:  The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of basil pesto, 2 cups of cheddar cheese and thyme.  I changed it up to 1/2 cup of sun dried tomato pesto, fresh basil, and 3 cups total of Parmesan and asiago cheese.  More cheese and more pesto.  They can only make these buns better!  This recipe could be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight covered with plastic wrap.  Don’t let them rise until you take them out before baking.  They will rise as they come to room temperature.  Any combination of cheese and pesto and herbs that appeal to your tastes or compliment your meal would work just fine.



Soft Flat Bread

Thank you King Arthur for another great bread recipe.  If you like gyros you’ve had bread very similar to this.  If you’ve had naan, you’ve had bread very similar to this.  King Arthur says these flat breads are like a Taco Bell Gordita or a pita bread.  Doesn’t really matter what you call it.  What’s important is how it tastes and how it holds up to what ever you decide to fill it with.  I made this to accompany our Easter dinner of lamb chops, hummus, and tabouli.  It was the perfect vehicle for hummus and tabouli but it is also perfect to use as a sandwich bread.  Any kind of sandwich.  The bread was easy to pull together and seriously only took minutes to “bake”.


3 to 3 1/4 cups of AP flour

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1/4 cup potato flour or 1/2 cup potato flakes

1 1/4 tsp salt

2 T vegetable oil

1 tsp instant yeast

Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl.  Pour the boiling water over the flour and stir until smooth.  The boiling water is added to the flour to pre-cook the starch in the flour and to eliminate the possibility of a starchy taste in the finished product.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a smaller bowl whisk together the potato flour or flakes (I used flakes), 1 cup of the remaining flour, salt, yeast and oil.  If you’re using the yeast packets measure out 1 tsp.  The packet is a little over 2 tsps.

After you’ve waited  the requisite 30 minutes add the potato flour/flake mixture to the flour/water mixture.  You can knead by hand or use the dough hook on your mixer.  I used my mixer.  Knead for approximately 5 minutes to form a soft dough.  If you’re kneading by hand King Arthur says to keep your hands and the work surface lightly oiled.  Let the dough rise in a warm spot, covered, for one hour.

Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 8 pieces, cover, and let rest for 15-30 minutes.

Roll each piece into a 7-8 inch circle.  The dough is easy to roll and I did not need to flour my work surface.

Once you’ve made the rounds, dry fry them (using no oil) about 1 minute per side in a heavy skillet.  They will puff up a bit and be flecked with brown spots.  I think cast iron works the best for the dry frying.  I used my cast iron pizza pan which is one of my favorite pieces of cast iron.  (Thank you Lodge).  I let my pan heat over a medium flame for a few minutes before I started cooking the bread.  Adjust the flame if the bread is cooking too quickly or too slowly.  Too slowly and they will be dry, too quickly and they will be raw inside.  I divided one of my eight balls into two smaller balls, rolled those out, and used them to “test” my griddle temperature.

I was skeptical at first, but it really takes only about 1 minute per side.  Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft.  I stored leftovers in a zip lock bag.

My friend Jane also made these flat breads and used one of hers for an egg salad sandwich.  (Sandwich photo credit goes to Jane.)  Now I want to boil eggs for egg salad!  I will be making these again.  They might even work well for personal pizzas.

NOTE:  King Arthur says this recipe works best with instant yeast because it dissolves during the kneading process.  If you don’t have instant yeast, hold back 1/4 cup of boiling water and dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.  Add to the mixture along with the potato flour/flake mixture.


Blueberry Muffins

A few times a year King Arthur Flour publishes a magazine called Sift.  Every time one comes out my friend Jane and I pick up a copy.  So many wonder recipes!  This muffin recipe is from the Spring 2019 edition.  I made these today to accompany our crab meat quiche for a perfect brunch.


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar plus 2 T for sprinkling

2 large eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups  fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a muffin tin with papers and lightly grease the papers.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating well after each addition.

Stir in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Add the flour, alternating with the milk, stirring gently until combined.  Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl.  Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries and add mashed and whole blueberries to the batter stirring  to combine and distribute.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.  I used my ice cream scoop.  Sprinkle tops with the remaining 2 T of sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

I served ours with crab quiche but they’re perfect for breakfast on their own with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of milk.

NOTE:  My muffin pans are dark so I reduced my oven temperature to 350.

Thank you King Arthur for your great recipes that inspire!

Zucchini Bread with Walnuts and Golden Raisins

Zucchini.  The vegetable that people are always giving away after it has inexplicitly multiplied and grown to ginormous proportions in their gardens.  One can only make so many zoodles and side dishes with tomatoes and onions and zucchini boats stuffed with meat and cheese.  But everyone loves zucchini bread and cake and other sweets.  Zucchini makes for very moist bread and cake and no longer even tastes like a vegetable.  Not even a little bit.  That’s probably the appeal to many people.  This bread is an easy quick bread that is at least a little healthy.  The inclusion of nuts and raisins,  ground flax seed, and, of course squash, bolsters that claim.  And cinnamon.  Cinnamon is very healthy!  It is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  You’ll feel so good after you have a slice or two of this tasty bread.


1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 T vanilla

3 cups AP flour

1/2 cup ground flax seed (or wheat germ)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup walnuts chopped

1 cup golden raisins

Preheat your oven to 325.

Beat white and brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla together.

Sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Add raisins, nuts, and flaxseed.

Add shredded zucchini and stir until well combined.

Grease 2 loaf pans or 6 small loaf pans.  Use parchment paper if you’d like.  Divide batter evenly.

Bake for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the pans,  Check for doneness using a tooth pick or cake tester after 40 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Slice and enjoy!!

NOTE:  Zucchini bread freezes well.  If it lasts that long.  If you prefer you can use dried cherries or pecans.  A little different flavor but it’s all good.

Cinnamon and Cardamom Bread


This stuff is amazing!  Love!

We just returned from a family vacation to New Orleans.  The land of great food, really wonderful music everywhere, and a plentitude of adult beverages.  And people watching.  We enjoyed poboys, gumbo, oysters, shrimp, catfish and, of course, beignets.  As good as our food was, whenever I get home from a vacation I actually kind of enjoy eating my own cooking again.  Funny how that works.

I had some organic milk in the refrigerator that was going to go south in just a day or so and I wanted to put it to good use.  I decided to make us some bread with my remaining milk and came across this recipe that I had clipped from a Saveur magazine early last year but had not tried.  Until today.  The recipe says the bread is Swedish.  But since I’m Finnish, today it is Finnish Cinnamon Cardamom Bread.  Whatever your ethnicity I think you will enjoy!  The kitchen smelled wonderful while this was baking.

Ingredients for the Dough:

7 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups whole milk heated to 115

2 tsp active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups AP flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, lightly crushed

1/4 tsp kosher salt


Ingredients for Filling:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

7 T unsalted butter softened

1 T ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, finely crushed


To make the dough heat the milk to 115 degrees.  Use a thermometer unless you’re a lot better than I am at estimating temperatures and you don’t want to kill your yeast.  Melt the butter and add the butter and yeast to the warm milk.  Stir and let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

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In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt.  Stir in the yeast mixture until dough forms.


Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes.  Or knead in your stand mixer.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and let sit in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.  About an hour.


Prepare the filling stirring together the softened butter, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom seeds.

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On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into approximately a 11×17 rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.


Spread the filling over the dough.


Working from one of the long sides, roll dough into a tight cylinder and transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover with a dish towel and allow it to sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.  About 45-60 minutes.


Heat the oven to 375.  Using kitchen shears and starting 1 inch from the ends of the dough, make crosswise cuts spaced 1 inch apart, three quarters of the way through the dough.  Now this is where it got tricky for me and my bread looks a little crude.  The recipe says to fan dough slices away from the center, alternating left to right.  Huh?  The center?  Maybe I was supposed to make this into a circle?  I don’t know for sure because I didn’t have a picture.  But it doesn’t really matter. The fanning does not affect the taste at all.


Whisk an egg and brush the dough with the egg wash.


Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Allow the bread to cool before serving.


I made up a little icing with powdered sugar, heavy cream and lemon zest.  Because we like icing.


Cut yourself a slice and enjoy.  Great with a hot cup of coffee or tea.


NOTE:  The recipe suggests that you use the egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar before baking.  Since I was going to ice the bread I did not you the pearl sugar but you may prefer that.  If any of you bake a more attractive loaf please comment with a picture.

Kaalipiirakka (Cabbage Pasty)


If you’re Spanish you might have empanadas, if you’re Polish pierogis, Italian raviolis, and if you’re Finnish kaalipiirakka (cabbage pasty). I was reading a Finnish cookbook today and came across this recipe. I didn’t grow up eating these but I might have. These would be served as an accompaniment to soup or as a bread side with a meal. I think they would be great with tomato soup!  Bread is a mainstay of the Finnish diet…and true to his heritage my grandfather could not eat a meal without bread. I remember both of my grandparents eating bread slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt.

These little cabbage pasties are fairly easy to make. The slightly sweet pastry dough and the savory cabbage are a nice combination. They might be tasty with a dip of some kind…I’ll have to work on that. Suggestions??

Yeast Pastry ingredients:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

1 tsp salt

1 egg, well beaten

1/2 cup sugar

4-4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup melted butter


Dissolve the yeast in the water. Beat the egg well with a whisk.


Combine the milk, salt, egg, and sugar in a large bowl.


Add the yeast and 2 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and elastic.


Stir in the butter until blended. Add the remaining flour and mix until you have a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. About 5 minutes.


Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise in a draft free place until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise again for about 30 minutes. While dough is rising make your filling.

Filling Ingredients:

4 T butter

2 cups sauerkraut drained

2 medium onions sliced thin

2 T brown sugar

1 tsp caraway seeds


In a heavy skillet melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is tender and beginning to caramelize.


Add the sauerkraut, sugar, and caraway seed. Stir until well blended and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Our filling is ready.


Preheat your oven to 375.

Now you’re ready to roll your dough and fill your kaalipiirakka. Divide the dough into thirds and roll the dough about 1/3 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a glass or cookie/biscuit cutter on the dough. I used a scalloped cutter but round would work just fine.


Brush each circle with half and half to moisten the edges for sealing. Put a tsp of filling in the center of a disc, put a second disc on top and crimp the edges with a fork.


(The amount of filling in each will actually depend on the size of your discs). Brush each filled and crimped kaalipiirakka with half n half and cut a little steam vent in the center. Put on a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Bake for 15 or 20 minutes until golden brown.



You’ll have extra filling. Just get out a fork and finish it off. Tastes great!!



Almost everyone loves pizza!  Hot pizza or cold pizza, deep dish or thin crust, lots of cheese or lots of sauce, meat lovers or veggie, white or red.  There are so many variations, pizza can make almost everyone happy. You can divide the dough into small balls and roll out little individual pizzas. Let everyone choose their own toppings; a particularly fun thing to do with kids. Pizza. It’s what’s for dinner.

Pizza night starts with the crust.


1 1/4 cups tepid water

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1 T olive oil

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp each dried oregano and basil (optional)

1/2 tsp garlic powder


Place tepid water in a bowl and mix in yeast and salt. Add the olive oil. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour, garlic, and herbs and stir with a wooden spoon. Add remaining flour and knead for five minutes until you have a smooth dough. Grease a bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, approximately an hour.

Divide dough in half or in smaller portions if making small, individual pizzas. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.


Preheat the oven to 450.

Once you roll the dough out place on a lightly greased pizza pan. Fold the edges over, lightly rub down with olive oil and pre-bake for approximately ten minutes. This helps to keep the crust from getting soggy.




Now we are ready to top the pizza. There are many prepared sauces that you might like or you can use fire roasted tomatoes, a little olive oil, and some herbs.


Blend the tomatoes, 1 T of olive oil and herbs to taste. Spread the sauce on your pre-baked crust.


Choose your favorite toppings. Tonight I’m using onions, peppers, artichoke hearts, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes and some organic pepperoni.




Spread the toppings.


I used romano cheese and fresh mozzarella. Grate the hard cheese over the toppings and distribute slices of mozzarella.


Bake for approximately 25 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy this thing of beauty with a cold beer, soda, a nice wine  or a glass of milk.


Like I mentioned earlier there are countless pizza toppings for every taste. Sausage, bacon, ham, pepperoni. Spinach, fresh basil leaves, arugula. Sweet peppers, banana peppers, peppadews, green olives, kalamata olives, black olives. Mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, artichokes, asparagus, zucchini. And pineapple…my least favorite topping. Love it in an upside down cake but leave it off my pizza.

Mozzarella is the most common of pizza cheeses but provolone, feta, Parmesan, Romano, asiago, goat cheese, even Gorgonzola are great options. Different cheeses pair well with different veggies and meats. Most grocery deli sections and frozen food aisles have countless types and brands of pizzas.  If you don’t have time to make a pizza from scratch doctor a grocery pizza up with fresh toppings and extra cheese to make it your own.

Note:  The crust recipe makes enough for 2 large pizzas. If you only plan to make one, freeze half the dough BEFORE you let it rise. Divide the dough and place half in a zip lock freezer bag. When you’re ready to make a second pizza let it thaw/rise and your ready for pizza #2.





Today was a perfect bread baking day. We had the first snow flurries of the season. And it isn’t even November. As soon as the bread came out of the oven we had to slice into it, smear on a little butter and munch away. I got the heel of the bread, my favorite. Known in Finnish as the “kantapää.”  My grandfather had to have bread with every meal and in between meals. I remember my grandparents slathering very generous amounts of butter on their bread and then sprinkling it with salt. That was probably in the days before salted butter but even so. Must be where I acquired my love of salt. The baguette is French, not the bread of my childhood, but very simple and very good. There are only four ingredients.   The most time consuming thing is letting the dough rise multiple times. Here we go.

2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

1 2/3 cups water (Divided)

3 1/2 cups  unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt



Sprinkle yeast into 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and stir to dissolve. Whisk together the flour and salt in a larger bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast.  Use a wooden spoon and draw enough flour into the yeast/water to form a paste. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it froth for 20 minutes.


I have favorite cotton “bread” towels that I always use.


After the twenty minutes have passed mix in the remaining flour with a wooden spoon and add the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time, just until you have a nice soft, sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Try to avoid adding extra flour as you knead.


Put your nicely kneaded ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with your bread towel and let it rise in a warm place free of drafts for about 1 1/2 hours.


Punch down, re-cover and let rise 45 more minutes.


Punch down, re-cover and let it rise about 45 more minutes until double in size. That’ll be the third rising.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape. Each should be about 12 inches long. Place them on a lightly floured baking sheet, re-cover and let them rise until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.  Preheat oven to 475.


Cut several diagonal slashes in each loaf.


Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and hollow sounding when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.


Slice and enjoy.


You can have your bread and eat it too.

A few posts back I roasted tomatoes and used them to make pasta sauce. Those same tomatoes with a little olive oil would be delicious on this bread. Or just dip a slice into some olive oil seasoned with fresh ground pepper and a little grated Parmesan.  That will be especially good if you’re lucky enough to get the “kantapää.”