Saturday Bakefest

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It all started with bagels.  I’ve been wanting to try making bagels for some time now but have never had the opportunity.  I’ve searched for recipes online but most of what I found are very time consuming, not to mention space consuming as the bagels have to be proofed in the ref overnight.

I finally found a recipe that might work from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I decided to mix a batch of their master recipe to be used the next day.  Their idea is very ingenious.  All you have to do is mix the dough, keep it in the ref, then use as needed within the next two weeks.  It ‘s great to have some dough waiting for you when you want to bake some bread.  There’s no kneading and not much waiting.  I’ll probably mix another batch and use it for bread next time.

Anyway, as I was planning what needs to be done on Saturday morning to make the bagels, I began to rethink my recipe choice.  Bagels require so much work, shaping, boiling, then baking.  I’m guessing 1 hour probably won’t be enough to get breakfast on the table.  So I searched for more ideas and decided to make Bacon and Eggs in Toast instead.  We’ve made a similar recipe before using sliced bread and that was a success and we’ve made it maybe three times.

I kinda had a difficult time dealing with the dough.  It was very wet and I had to dust the board heavily with flour.  It also tears easily.  My toast cups didn’t turn out as beautiful as theirs.  It was messy as the eggs were a bit large so it overflowed while cooking.

I also forgot to put salt on the eggs so it turned out bland.  The cheese I put at the bottom was mozarella, so it didn’t provide much contrast to the eggs.  If I’ll make this recipe again, I’ll use quickmelt.  I’ll also use small eggs so it won’t overflow.  We had bacon bits so I put that on top of the eggs and also sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top.   It looked quite decent on it’s own.

My kids enjoyed it and asked why I only made six.  So, I guess it’s not so bad and maybe deserves a second chance.

For lunch, we had pizza.  I used the same dough to make 4 pizzas.  We each get to decorate our own although toppings were a bit limited that time.  We only had bacon bits and mozzarella.  What I did different this time was brushing the pizzas with olive oil mixed with garlic.  Then we spread the tomato sauce and toppings.  We usually add mushrooms but we didn’t have any and it was raining so we didn’t want to go out and buy some.  I’d like to add onions and bell pepper but if I didn’t want to bother with slicing if I’m the only one to put them on my pizza but maybe next time, I’ll get to convince them to give it a try.  So, we had bacon pizza for lunch.

We still had some dough left so I decided to make calzones for dinner.   I stuffed it with all the remaining bacon and cheese we had and added some hungarian sausage.  In hindsight, I really should have put in some onions to balance the taste and maybe the kids won’t notice.  I guess I’ll do that next time.  It had a lot cheese so it overflowed from the holes on top and again made a big mess.

It was still good though.

So, Saturday turned out to be quite a messy and tiring day but I actually loved every minute of it.  I really enjoy working in the kitchen and turning out stuff that my family appreciates and like.  As Nigella would say, “When I’m in the kitchen, I’m happy.” 🙂

Honey Oatmeal Bread

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I decided to try a different bread recipe today, something that might appeal more to the kids.  I decided on Honey Oatmeal Bread.  We did this once, maybe more than 5 years.  We just found the recipe in the Kitchen Aide manual and I remember it was good so I tried it again today.

This time though, I did manual kneading.  I’m actually enjoying kneading but it’s more messy than using the mixer.  I find kneading relaxing and I feel more connected to what I’m doing.




I made two loaves, as usual.  One I topped with rolled oats and the other I just left plain.  As you might notice, one loaf is bigger than the other.  I don’t know why but I always have trouble dividing the dough in half. 

Anyway, the bread was great!  It was slightly sweet and can be eaten plain.  Have a slice!

Country Loaf

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I made some brownies yesterday but it was too sweet and rich for me so I needed to make something else.  Since I was getting tired of French bread, I decided to make Country bread instead but this time I made use of my loaf pan.

Actually, my kids have been begging me to stop making bread unless it’s monkey bread , so I gave one loaf to my mom.  Unfortunately for them, I like eating bread so I will continue making them, maybe just once a week.  At least as a loaf, it looks like the bread we used to buy and I feel like making real sandwiches like grilled cheese or tuna.

Would you like a slice?

Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread

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Last Friday, some former colleagues and I decided to have a get together at my place.  I think it’s been 2 years or more since we last had a party so it was a welcome affair.

One of them requested for oil and garlic pasta and we made that, or rather Jon made it.  We usually serve it with hungarian sausage but unfortunately we didn’t have any and I didn’t have time (aka am too lazy) to go out and buy some.  We did have some sardines so we used that instead.

Of course, since I’m on a bread baking mission, I had to bake some bread.  I just didn’t know what to make.  Jon suggested Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread.  I’ve never eaten monkey bread although I have seen some pictures online.  I searched for recipes but I only saw some with cinnamon and usually prepared/frozen dough.  So he searched for the recipe and found it in a really old issue of Chocolatier magazine.

Monkey Bread is usually prepared in a tube pan which we don’t have so I just used 2 loaf pans instead.

And this was the table before my friends arrived:

Anyway, I wanted to take a picture of pieces of the loaf to show how it looked inside but our kids brought the left-over bread to the neighbors when they went there to play last night.  So, no more bread to take pictures off.

My kids really like the bread, eating it for breakfast and snacks yesterday.  I liked this bread too since it was soft, tasty and a treat.  Next time though, I’ll mix some chocolate chips in the dough itself.  The original recipe just had me roll the balls of dough into melted butter then into the chocolate chips.  So there wasn’t much excitement eating the inside of the loaf, everybody wanted to eat the outside parts, hahaha.

I’ll definitely make this again and next time, it would be better. =)

French Breakfast Muffins

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In one of my food gawker strolls, I came upon a wonderful recipe for French Breakfast Muffins.  I knew I had to try it out for breakfast sometime.

So I figured, today, being a Saturday, would be the perfect time to try it out.  This way, we’ll have special a breakfast that we can all enjoy without any rush.  It took maybe 5 min to mix and just 25 min to bake so in just 30 min, breakfast is ready.

Would you like one?

Beer Bread

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I’ve never heard of beer bread before but I encountered it while browsing through lots of food blogs.  Since the kids aren’t here right now, I decided to give it a try today.

It was very easy to make and quick too!  I didn’t really know what to expect but I actually liked it.  I loved the buttery crust and the dense soft bread.  It’s a little sweet and doesn’t really taste like beer but you can definitely smell the beer.  I had it for dinner with left-over lasagna.  I’ll probably have it again fore breakfast tomorrow.

Would you like a slice?


3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 can beer

2 tablespoons melted butter


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

2.  Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

3.  Pour the beer in the bowl and mix well.

4.  Pour the batter in a buttered loaf pan.

5.  Bake for 50 minutes.

6.  Remove from the oven and pour the melted butter on top of the loaf.

7.  Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

8.  Cool and eat! 🙂

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Buns

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Last Thursday night, I was surfing the web looking for a new recipe to try and  I came across recipes for Hot Cross Buns.  I don’t really know what a hot cross bun tastes like and I’ve only encountered it as lyrics for a nursery rhyme.

Anyway, I saw a recipe with cinnamon and cinnamon chips and I just changed it to chocolate chips (since I’ve never even seen cinnamon chips here).  I tried out the new recipe on Friday.  I was so excited to taste it that I forgot to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven so these buns are three days old.  The glaze isn’t so shiny anymore…

When it first came out of the oven, I ate one very quickly.  After a couple of hours, I ate another one and it was as good as the first one.  Then, I had one for breakfast the following day and I guess the flavor was too much that I almost didn’t finish one piece.  And now, I don’t think I can eat another.  Good thing Jari still likes it and he had another one for breakfast today.  We still have four pieces though so I’m hope we can eat it all within the day.

In case you want to give it a try, here’s the recipe I’ve tweaked a bit:

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Buns

For the buns:

2 tablespoons instant dried yeast

½  cup sugar

1.5 cups lukewarm milk

4.5 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup butter melted

1 egg lightly beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

For glaze:

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup water

1.  Mix yeast, sugar and warm milk in a bowl and stir to remove any lumps. Set aside until frothy

2.  Add  the butter, egg, cinnamon and one cup of the chocolate chips to the yeast mixture.

3.  In the bowl of your mixer, sift flour and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.

4.  Use the dough hook attachment of your mixer and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

5.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours until doubled in size.

6. Using your fist, punch down the dough and add the remaining chocolate chips. Knead lightly and divide into 16 balls. Place close together on a lined or greased baking tray. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

7. Bake for 20-30 minutes until done.

8.  While it is baking, get the glaze ready. Put the water and sugar in the microwave and heat for about 30 seconds then mix until the sugar is all melted.

9. When buns are ready, brush with glaze.

10.  Cool then serve. 🙂

Sweet Biscotti


I think my family has gotten over the novelty of having freshly baked bread around the house.  Last Monday, I made French bread as usual and by today, there was still more half a loaf left.  Usually we finish it off within the day or at most the next day.

So I decided to take a break from bread baking and do something else.

First off, I made bread pudding with the left-over bread.  This is a standby recipe and usually successful, but I think I made a bit too sweet today but it was still okay.  We had this for breakfast and I think we were all quite happy with it.

Then, I decided to make Sweet Biscotti.  I found a recipe by Emeril on the Food Network  site and I decided to give it a try.  It was my first time to make biscotti and it was a bit difficult because the dough was very sticky so it was hard to shape into logs.

Anyway, it turned out ok.  Actually, I didn’t follow the recipe completely since hazelnuts were needed but we didn’t have that so I just substituted walnuts and cashews.  It was also supposed to be dipped in melted white chocolate but I think that would make it over the top already so I omitted that step.  I found it a bit too sweet but it’s great with coffee.

It was a nice break from baking bread but after all that sweetness, I’m looking forward to eating bread again and just having it plain with butter.  Maybe tomorrow…

Epic fail: Sourdough pancakes


As mentioned yesterday, I found a new recipe to try today, sourdough pancakes.  Unfortunately, my family gave it the thumbs down.  After the first bite, Jon already noticed it was different and asked what I did differently.  As Yumi was eating, she actually told me, “Mom, please don’t make this pancake again.”

The pancake was too thin, and the taste was different from what we were used to.  I wasn’t crazy over it either although personally, I would have given it another chance.  I think I overmixed it which made it so thin but then again, it was the taste they didn’t like.

We already make our own pancakes from scratch and found a recipe that we like and always use.  I am quite successful with that recipe and our pancakes turn out fluffy more often than not.  I guess I should just stick with that and just find recipes to try for other types of bread.  Well, I found one for sourdough bagels.  Maybe we’ll have that for breakfast tomorrow…