Monthly Bakery, September: Normandy Apple Bread.

It was nice to be baking again with a group of bakers. Again, Amber was responsible for this action, the recipe came from Kamila who adapted it from "Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffrey Hamelman. Thank you for your hard work, Amber!

Normandy Apple Bread
Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman
Makes: 2 large loaves
160 g bread flour
100 g ( 3.5.oz) water
30 g sourdough starter (previously fed)
Mix all ingredients together, 
cover and leave at room temperature for 12 hours


Life's simple pleasures. Stewed Apples.

Stewed Apples

There are days when you don't feel like doing anything...rarely in my life...but it happens. Yet, I still want a sweet treat that doesn't require much work. When I looked at my kitchen and saw a bowl full of apples, too tart to eat raw, at least for me, I thought: why not make something simple, delicious and fast. Old-fashioned stewed apples were the answer to my cravings. I peeled and diced them in 2 minutes flat, threw them in a pot with brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon, some water, just barely any, covered the pot and 15-20 minutes later we were enjoying the treat.
You may ask: "what's new or special about stewed apples"? Nothing really, but we love these simple treats on days when I am not up to baking or creating anything elaborate.


Pane Ibleo - Traditional Whole Wheat Durum Bread from Monti Iblei

I love browsing through cooking blogs and bread baking forums. Recently, I came across a bunch of visually very appealing loaves here and simply couldn't resist the urge to bake those beauties. My challenge was to find more pure durum wheat flour; I only had half the required weight. I could have bought more on the web but I didn't want to wait and decided to add other flour varieties to make up the missing 50%. All I had was some very fine semolina flour and I was left with no other choice but to simply add bread flour. So, it's not completely pane ibleo but I was OK with that. My recipe is modified; I did'n bother with a 50% hydration starter because I maintain mine at 100%. As long as the total weight of flour and water in the foinal bread dough are right, you are fine. What is sourdough hydration and how to change it...well some other time :)


200 g (100%) rye sourdough starter, fed and very active
1 kg whole wheat durum flour
(mine was 50% durum wheat, 30% semolina,

20% bread flour)
500 -550g water
3 tsp sea salt

  1. This recipe is not suitable for mixers; you will have to work the dough by hand. Initially it will be hard but eventually the dough will become softer and silky to the touch. 
  2. Sift the flour onto a large work surface and make a well in the center. Place the sourdough in the well and gradually add water by pouring it over the starter and start dissolving it with your hands. Continue adding water while gathering the flour from around the well and incorporating into the dough. Work the remaining water and salt into the flour until incorporated. 


Moroccan night...Lamb (Pork) Tagine with Honey and Apricots

Moroccan Lamb/Pork Tagine with Apricots and Honey
  • 2 lb (1kg) boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat (about 1 1/2 pounds or 750 g), I used pork loin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 C diced onions
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 8 threads Spanish saffron, crushed
  • 16 fresh cilantro sprigs, tied together with a cotton string
  • 1 C dried, pitted apricots
  • 1/2 C golden raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Cilantro/coriander green sprigs, for garnish

Moroccan Vegetable Couscous

My first experience with Moroccan food was in Morocco...a long time ago, probably longer than you have been around this world! Guessing my age now? Go for it!

It was in Tangier, a vibrant port city full of narrow streets filled with aromas of  local food, noise and music. The moment I entered Medina, the old quarter, the magic began; I had my first meal and I was irrevocably seduced by the flavors, aromas and colors. I found the love of my life. Later I discovered different shades of the great  Berber cuisine of Marrakesh. Is Moroccan food still my favorite? Yes, it is. It is sublime and sophisticated, tantalizing all senses like no others. Well, at least in my perception.

I will post a number of wonderful Moroccan recipes for you to enjoy, however some will be somewhat simplified while maintaining their authenticity. This recipe is wonderful with any vegetables of your choice. You don't have to adhere to the list exactly except for the spices but even these can be skipped. You know that you will loose the true character and flavor but if you have not eaten in Morocco you may not know the difference. There are Moroccan restaurants around but none that I have visited serve the true Berber dishes; in our western world ethnic food often tends to be made to suit local tastes and sometimes to the extend that it is no longer the real thing.

Moroccan Vegetables with Roasted Almonds
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 C (340g) fine-grain couscous
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 pound cauliflower florets cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 (16 oz or 420 g) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 (16 oz or 420 g) can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


Moroccan preserved lemons...short and long method

Preserved lemons are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cuisine. Fragrant meat tagines, chicken dishes and salads are nicely infused by their unique taste. The silky texture cannot match that of its fresh counterpart. Therefor there is no substitute. If you  do not have preserved lemons that your recipe calls for, wait patiently and 5 days later you will have a very similar silky fruit with its unique seductive flavor and texture.

Moroccan preserved lemons (5-day method)

It takes approximately 3-4 weeks to make the true Moroccan preserved lemons that will keep refrigerated for 6-12 months. The recipe below yields almost identical results and is much faster but the fruit dos not keep that long. If you want to make the "real" thing, scroll down for another recipe, please.

With a razor blade, make 8 fine 2" (5cm)- long incisions around the peel of each lemon to be used. Do not cut deeper than the membrane that protects the pulp. Place the incised lemons in a stainless-steel saucepan with plenty of water and 1TBSP salt per lemon to cover and boil until the peels become very soft. Place in a clean jar, cover with cooled cooking liquor, and leave to pickle for approximately 5 days.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons (1-month method...the best)

5 organic lemons                                                              bowl
1/4 C salt or more                                                             sterile jar

Optional but highly recommended
1 cinnamon stick

3-5 cloves
3-5 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

Additional freshly squeezed lemon juice

Moroccan Yogurt Dip with Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Yogurt Dip with Preserved Lemons

1 C Greek Yogurt
1 small Persian cucumber chopped or sliced
1/4 preserved lemon peel, rinsed and flesh removed
1 sprig cilantro/ coriander green
sal and pepper to tast

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving



If you are like me and love tabbouleh or any refreshing salad suitable for hot days then you willl fall in love with this one. It resembles tabbouleh very much but I have never been able to find any reference to its origin. It could have been created by somebody simply dumping a can of garbanzo bean in a bowl of tabbouleh by mistake for what I know. I have done things like that in the past and some of the unintended concoctions actually tasted great! My view is: who cares! Balela is nicely refreshing and also filling. So, of if you have nothing else to eat but some bread, possibly pita or similar, you are in great company! Enjoy this wonderful balela.


  • 1 (15 oz or 420 g) cans organic black beans, rinsed well, drained and blotted
  • 1 (15 oz or 420 g) cans organic garbanzo beans, rinsed well, drained and blotted
  • 1 cup chopped green onion or 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Dressing Ingredients
  • freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons 
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
1.  Remove husks from chick peas by rinsing them very vigorously in a colander to loosen     the husks by gently squeezing them between two fingers.

Morello Cherry Tarts

Morello Cherry Tarts

• 200g butter, softened                                  
• 200 g (1 C) powder sugar
• 40 g (1/4) potato or corn starch
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 T. vanilla sugar
• 4 eggs (separated)
• Zest from 1 lemon
• 200 g (2 C) flour
• 1 tsp. double acting baking powder
• pinch salt
• 1 1/2 lb. pitted morello cherries, frozen are OK
• bread crumbs

150 g (1-1/2  C) flour
120 g (1 stick US) unsalted cold butter
80 g (1/3 C) powder desugar


"Drowned Yeast Crescents with Rose Petal Jam

This recipe brings back memories from my childhood when my mom performed some magic in her kitchen. When she put the pastry in a bucket of cold water, I thought that this would completly dissolve the pastry! Far from being wrong, pastry is not like soap!
When I was about 12, I made my own first batch without my mom's help. They were perhaps not as pretty and perfect as hers, but boy, they were delicious. As I moved across the globe, the recipe got lost and I decided to look it up on the web. And guess what? Here it is but slightly modified by me

“Drowned” yeast crescents with rose petal jam

  • 200 g or 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 500 gor 3 C all-purpose flour,
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g or ½ C sugar ,
  • 125 g or ½ C milk, warm
  • 5o g fresh yeast or 2 TBSP active dry yeast, or 4-1/2 tsp instant yeast


German Apricot Slice with Crumble AKA Marillenkuchen

German/Austrian Apricot Slice with crumble (Marillenkuchen)
• 200g butter, softened
•180 g (3/4 C) sugar
•40 g (1/4 C) potato or corn starch
•1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 T. vanilla sugar
•4 eggs (separated)
•Zest from 1 lemon
•200 g (2 C) flour
•1 tsp. double acting baking powder
•pinch salt
•1 1/2 lb. apricots, cut in half, about 14
150 g (1-1/2  C) flour
100 g (1 stick US) unsalted cold butter
60 g (1/3 C) sugar


Nanterre Lavender Brioche

This is a wonderful, aromatic brioche based on a recipe given to me by a wonderful friend who lives in France. I happened to have some dried organic lavender in my pantry, so I decided to make this aromatic bread/cake. My family talked me into adding raisins though which I wasn't particularly happy about but what the heck; they wanted it with both, so here it is:

Nanterre Lavender Brioche 

1/2 C (120ml) of warm whole milk
25g fresh baker's yeast or 2 tsp dried active yeast
500g all purpose flour or type 55
4 eggs at room temp 
90g (1/3 C) sugar
 1 envelope  vanilla sugar or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
 200g butter at room temp
 pinch  salt
2 TBSP edible lavender flours
1/2C raisins (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten with some milk for coating
In the warmed milk add the yeast, then the flour, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla mixing it until smooth and elastic, approx, 10-15 minutes.


July bakery: bagels (slow version)

Bagels (slow version)

(The morning or midday before baking)
150 g flour bread ( I used AP flour)
150 g water
pinch dry yeast
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, cover and let ferment at least 8 h.

In the evening:
600 g flour
350 g water
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP salt
6.5 g dry yeast (1.5 tsp)

1 egg, beaten for brushing
poppy seeds, sesame seeds and/or other spice/seed combination
  1. Combine the starter and the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place  for 1 h.
  2. Punch the dough down, stretch and fold and place it back in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 h (overnight is fine)
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 14-16 pieces (or more, for smaller bagels). Roll each piece of dough into a flat circle 2-3" diameteer (5-8 cm), pounch a hole in the middle of each circle with your finger and spin the dough around as in hoola-hoop. Repeat with the remaining dough, and let the bagels rest for 40 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange small plates with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and onion flakes next to the baking sheet.
  5. Bring 4 quarts water and honey to a boil in a large pot. Boil the bagels, three at a time, until they rise to the surface of the pot, about 1 minute per side. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
    6.Dip the tops of the wet bagels into the beaten egg and toppings and arrange them, seeds up, on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired. Bake in the preheated oven until the bagels begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Lipcowa piekarnia czyli bajgle w wersji slow. 
W czerwcowej piekarni zabraklo mnie z prostej przyczyny: wyjechalam na wspaniala czerwcowa wyprawe na drugi kontynent, do Europy. Trudno bylo wracac. Do dzis sercem i dusza jestem tam, choc cialo moje znajduje sie tu w domu.
Ale juz jest lipiec i ponownie zabralam sie do pieczenia ze spora grupa piekarek i piekarzy. Jak zwykle, Amber dowodzila cala akcja a przepis pochodzi stad. Amber, serdecznie dziekuje ci za ciezka prace.
Do tej pory nie pieklam bajgli z prostej przyczyny: nie chcialo mi sie bawic w gotowanie itp. I choc lubimy bajgle to nie do tego stopnia, zeby je samej piec. Ale jak jest akcja, to oczywiscie pieke. Podano nam 2 wersje, jedna na szybko bez zakwasu, a druga "slow" na zakwasie. Wybralam druga, wolniejsza wersje.


Monthly Bakery: May. Bread with baked potatoes and rosemary

Bread with roasted potatoes and rosemary ( 1 large or 2 small loaves )

Two days before baking feed your sourdough so that is ready the next morning (I used 1 TBSP rye sourdough)
The next morning starter :2 TBSP refreshed rye sourdough180 g of ordinary flour180 g lukewarm water.
Mix all ingredients and leave to ferment in a warm place for several hours ( 8 - 12). 
Ferment is ready when a small amount placed in a cup of water floats on surface. I prepared the starter early in the morning so that I could process it late afternoon and form loaves and leave them to rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Baked potatoes :1 lb potatoes1 TBSP olive oil2 TBSP chopped rosemary1/2 tsp sea salt

Wash potatoes well and cut into cubes, no peeling required. Put them into a bowl, add olive oil, salt and rosemary. Mix well. Spread potatoes on a baking tray and put in the oven preheated to 400F for 20 minutes. Turn potatoes over and bake until golden brown for another 20 minutes. Cool after baking .Late afternoonBread dough:600 g bread flour1  1/4 C waterthe leaven of the previous day (-2 tablespoons for baking next week, if you wish)1 TBSP salt baked potatoes

1. Add water to a bowl, add the yeast , mix thoroughly and add flour . Mix just until combined.
2. Cover bowl with a cloth or plastic bag and allow to sit for 20 - 40 minutes.
3. Add salt and knead the dough by hand stretching and folding them in a bowl (about 6 minutes) or in electric mixer for about 3 minutes on first speed and 3 minutes on the second speed.
4. Cover bowl with clear food wrap and let stand for 2 hours.
5. Every 45 minutes stretch and fold the dough. Put in a bowl and cover.
6. Before shaping a ball, add cooked potatoes, leaving 8-10 pieces for topping.
7. Shape a ball (if you want two smaller loaves, divide the dough into two pieces and shape them) and leave for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle with flour, turn to the other side and shape into a loaf .8. Dust a basket or bread form with flour, place 8-10 potato pieces on the bottom. Remember that after baking they will be on top of the loaf. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate at least 8 - 12 hours. I kept the loaves in the fridge for the night.9. Next mornig gently transfer bread onto parchment paper. Preheat oven with a pizza stone to 450F. Make incisions in loves and transfer on parchemnt paper onto pizza stone. Bake in preheated oven with a small ovenproof dish filled with boiling water and placed on the bottom of oven at 450F degrees for 40 minutes. After twenty minutes open the door slightly to release the  steam. Bake another 20 minutes, lowering the temperature to 350F.

Remove loaves and cool on rack. Bread shhould sound hollow when knocked on bottom.


Monthly Bakery. April: Spelt bread with tomatoes and black sesame seeds.

Tomato - spelt bread with black sesame seeds
For the leaven
• 55g active sourdough rye flour,
• 200g white spelt flour, (type 63 or 70)
• 200 g water,
• 1 apple, grated on a vegetable grater.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic sheet and leave for a minimum of 12 hours.

Bread dough
• Leaven, about 500g,
• 400g blended, canned tomatoes,
• 350g white spelt flour, (type 63 or 70)
• 300g plain bread flour (type 75)
• 1 TBSP honey,
• black sesame black (optional, quantity depends on individual liking)  
• sea salt, about 15g
• In addition, flour for dusting, while transferring and forming dough.

In a large bowl add blended  tomatoes to the levain followed by salt, honey, sesame seeds.
Gradually add both sifted flours and mix well.
Knead dough either by hand or a mixer until combined, by hand at least 10 minutes, mixer, half the time.
Cover dough and let rise, for about 3 hours.
After 1 hour, remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface, flatten stretch and fold and put back in a bowl.
1 hour later repeat the process from step 5.
Now shape dough into 2 round round or oblong shapes. You may leave it as 1 piece.
Transfer to a basket, the 2 pieces will touch. Cover dough for the final rise.
Make incisions to your likings and bake at 250°C/ 480° F with some ice cubes on bottom of oven, lower temperature to 220°C/430°F another 30 minutes.

Remarks: dough will be quite loose, but with each stretch and fold it will become more resilient.

Pomidorowy chleb orkiszowy z czarnym sezamem
Przepis na chleb pomidorowy zafascynowal mnie od momentu, w którym Amber przyslala mi zaproszenie do tradycyjnego comiesiecznego pieczenia, a przepis wybrała Dorota . Wiedziałam, ze chleb na mace orkiszowej musi byc pyszny, ale z pomidorami w chlebie nie miałam zadnego doświadczenia. Na chlebie, owszem, kocham, ale przepis nic nie mowil o plasterkach posolonych i oproszonych pieprzem. Nic z tych rzeczy. Amber, dziękuje ci za podsyłanie nam tak ciekawych przepisów!
Przesladowal mnie ten przepis i wreszcie nadszedł dzień przygotowania zaczynu. O malo nie spedzilo mi to wszystko snu z powiek. Jak nastolatka czekająca na cudowna randkę. Ja, starsza pani! Niesamowite!


Monthly Bakery. March: Fougasse and aromatic Za'atar. Fougasse w Marcowej Piekarni i pachnaca mieszanka przyprawowa.

Tradycyjnie, jak co miesiąc, piekłam wspaniale chleby w ramach wspólnej akcji, która dzielnie organizuje i koordynuje Amber. Tym razem przepis zasugerowała Magda Konwaliowa. „Fougasse to regionalna specjalność Prowansji o gęstym, chrupiącym cieście, niezwykłym kształcie i smaku. Smakuje wyjątkowo ze względu na dużą ilość chrupiącej skórki[...]„J. Hamelman.

Fougasse i zatar, czyli kombinacja doskonala!
Kiedy rzuciłam hasło fougasse z oliwkami, rodzina od razu odwzajemniła je spojrzeniami blagajacymi o cos zupełnie innego. Padały nazwy mieszanek przyprawowych, ziol, pojedynczych przypraw i wreszcie po malej debacie wiedzieliśmy, ze jeden chlebek będzie posypany zatarem a drugi po prostu czarnuszka. Chlebki rosły i piekly się bez problemu, choc trzeba bardzo uwazac przy przenoszeniu ich na lopatke do pieczenia i pozniej do piekarnika, gdyz ciasto jest bardzo luźne i moze się porwać lub stracić kształt. Mozna ciasto zostawić do wyrosniecia na pergaminie i w ten sposób bez problemu przeniesc je do piekarnika. Po kilku minutach mozna jednym zdecydowanym ruchem wyciagnac pergamin tak by chlebek został na  kamieniu do pizzy i upiekl się chrupiący od spodu.


Monthly Bakery. February: Chocolate Bread with poolish or sourdough.

.Bread with chocolate and raisins (with poolish)
Leaven or poolish:
  • ¼ tsp dry yeast, or 2 g of fresh
  • 125 g (or ml) warm water
  • 125 g wheat flour (T55) flour, I used AP (all-purpose) flour
Proper dough:
  • 300 g wheat flour (T55)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dry yeast, or 2 g of fresh
  • about 220 - 240 g (or ml)warm water
  • 80 g (2/3 C) chocolate chips (semi-sweet) ( I left them out)
  • 200 g (1-1/3 cup) raisins
  • 20 g (2 ½ TBSP) unsweetened cocoa
The day before prepare the poolish: 
  1. Thoroughly mix yeast with water (125 ml); add the flour (125 g), and again mix thoroughly. Cover and leave overnight at room temperature.
  2. Next day, mix the raisins and chocolate chips if using. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and cocoa.
  3. Mix yeast and water and add to the polish, then add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough by stretching and folding over 3, 6, 9 and 12’oclock  approximately 8 times. By now the dough should have changed its structure – be more resilient, offer resistance.
  6. It can be mixed with a mixer - first 2-3 minutes on very slow, and then about four minutes in second gear.
  7. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat step 6 + 7 two times and cover the bowl and let rise at 1 hour.
  9. When the dough has doubled volume - degas it (by punching down) on a lightly floured surface.
  10. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and form balls.
  11. Flour a banneton very well, place dough balls close together.
  12. Let rise until doubled in volume - it can take from 3 to 6 hours.
  13. Approx. 40 minutes before the scheduled baking, preheat the oven to 240 °C/480 °F with a pizza stone and place a tray for water on bottom of oven.
  14. When dough has doubled, transfer it onto parchment, sprinkle top with flour, slash the top
  15. Put bread on pizza stone, pour water into the prepared dish and lowering the temperature to 220°C/430 °F and bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is nicely brown.


Rosyjski chleb zytni ze styczniowej piekarni. Montly Bakery. January: Russian Rye Bread.

Nadszedł czas na kolejne wspólne pieczenie oczywiście za sprawa Amber, która dzielnie koordynowała akcje. Przepis pochodzi od Gucia
Chleb wypiekam od kilku lat, jednak 100% żytni piekłam tylko kilka razy. Moja rodzina nie nalezy do amatorów 100% żytnich bochnów. Maksymalnie tolerują 70%, ale na codzien wola zytnio-pszenne o zawartości 20-30% maki żytniej. Ja sama kocham ciemne chleby, ale nie każdego dnia.
Pieczenie 100% żytniego razowego chleba zawsze jest wyzwaniem dla mnie, ponieważ tu gdzie mieszkam maka żytnia razowa jest niemalże nieosiągalna. Standardy tutejszej maki maja niewiele wspólnego z europejskimi. To co powinno nazywać się maka żytnia razowa, moze byc zupełnie czym innym, w zaleznosci od producenta. Kupuje się wiec kota w worku. Z trudem znalazłam make określana jako razowa. Po otworzeniu torebki okazała się, ze jest ona dokładnie ta sama maka, której 25kg worek kupiłam kilka miesięcy temu, i której z wielkim sukcesem używam do pieczenia i dokarmiania Pana Zytka :)

Drugie podejscie, chleb wyrosl znacznie lepiej z dodatkiem melasy