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Entries in bread (31)

Monday
Mar242014

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

A glimpse of spring came earlier this week, with rising temperatures, freshly revealed patches of brown grass, and a collective sigh of relief. However, just as soon as it came, it left, drowned out by a new layer of white and acknowledged with a thick scarf wrapped around my neck. Winter is not ready to leave yet. I tucked my spring clothes back in the closet and, with a hint of reluctance, pulled on another winter sweater.

Soon, I must remind myself. Soon.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

In an effort to knock the winter doldrums away, I've been trying to brighten up the kitchen with more color and brighter flavors. It was this spirit that guided me back to an old family recipe, a favorite of my Grandmother Irene. She would make her orange rolls as a welcome to spring and the arrival of Easter, adored and devoured by friends and family alike. Though I have never met her, I feel as if I know her, just a little bit, through her food.

I played with her recipe a bit, decreasing the sugar and adding a touch more orange, but keeping the essence of the recipe close to heart. There are too many family memories and remembrances wrapped up in the layers of dough to alter it any further.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Though I took an easier route with the dough—cutting it into squares and stacking it—instead of creating individual rolls, I feel as if my grandmother would not have minded. A little short cut now and then never hurt anyone, right? Once baked and soaked in glaze, I took my first bite. And then second. And third. This bread holds the heart of spring in each layer. I find myself easily saying just one more slice before repeating the phrase a few minutes later as if it was my new mantra.

While the wind may still blow and the snow may still fly, in my small apartment it is spring.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread is a riff on a dear family classic. Though it may take a new form, the flavors are still full and bright. A sweet, rich dough is painted in melted butter and topped with a mixture of orange sugar and coconut. The dough is sliced, stacked, and baked, wafting sweet aromas throughout the home. When it emerges, it is drowned in an orange glaze, which soaks deeply into every nook and cranny of the loaf. This loaf is a special one; it should not be missed nor failed to be shared.

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Sunday
Jan262014

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread

The wind is blowing outside my window with a fierceness only Mother Nature herself could bring. Another blizzard has descended, matching the winds of last Wednesday and the snow of last weekend. If the nine foot snow drift that appeared outside of my bedroom window this morning is any indication, it was only proper to spend the day wrapped up in sweaters and hiding under blankets. This winter, in particular, has been one of hot cocoa and warm ovens.

How could you have it any other way?

Honey Oat Bread
Honey Oat Bread

One of the dearest ways to spend a Sunday morning for me is baking bread. After the coffee has been brewed, I slowly pull the flour out of the cupboard and the yeast off the shelf, moving at the speed of the weekend. The morning may be filled with yawns (and flour may pepper the sides of my pajama pants), but bread is an act of patience and a practice in meditation. There can be no rush, for bread grows at its own pace, feeling out the air around it and reacting accordingly. It is this nature of bread, this uncontrollable spirit, that keeps me coming back time and again.

The scent of yeast and the feel of dough beneath my fingers is irreplaceable.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey and oatmeal are a classic comfort food combination, perfect for giving warmth to a wintery day. When approaching this bread, I wanted to find a way to make the oats a significant portion of the bread, lending a pronounced flavor to the final loaf. To do so, I ground up the oatmeal flakes in a food processor until they resembled flour, which working surprisingly well. The bread has a hint of honey, providing a pure sweetness which complements a spread of jam and acts as a spoon for potatoes and gravy.

It may be cold outside, but it is warm in my kitchen.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread is a standard dinner table bread. The subtlety of oats and honey allow the bread to be served with both sweet and savory foods. Before baking, the bread is brushed with warm honey and sprinkled with oats. When it emerges from the oven, the top takes on a golden color. If golden were a flavor, this bread would certainly match it. The honey soaked bites and toasted oats become the icing on the cake, so to speak. The bread keeps well for several days, bringing an element of joy to your favorite dishes.

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Thursday
Oct032013

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

The air is cold, the skies are grey. I find myself admitting that fall is here and here to stay. After several rainy days in a row, I want to wrap myself up in a blanket and drink hot tea whenever I catch a glance out of the window. The trees are just barely taking on color, the leaves not yet gathering on the ground. The air is damp with fog and humidity, not with the crispness I love and remember. With a miserable weather forecast for the next few days, including a prediction of snow, I'm happy spending my time indoors.

I wonder if fall will feel the same in this new town, as it did back home.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

When I finally let my hold on summer pass, the warm scent of vanilla and cinnamon begin to fill my kitchen. Cinnamon is the feeling of autumn for me, the essence of the season all bottled up in a single smell and taste. While pumpkin or caramel or apples may define the season for others, it is this single spice that warms my soul.

Each fall, as soon as the weather grows cold, I like to buy myself a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Toasted, with a spread of butter, is my version of autumn happiness. This year, instead of finding my loaf of bread on the shelf, I decided to make it myself.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

The dough is made with milk to give the bread tenderness and melted butter to add a richness. While I mixed in 3/4 cup raisins, I would recommend a few more if you are a raisin lover and a few less if you are not—it can be tweaked to your personal tastes. The swirl of cinnamon is what makes the bread for me. Though the cinnamon is only rolled throughout the dough, the scent and taste seems to pervade the rest of the loaf, giving a pleasant flavor to each and every bite.

Enjoy when the season beckons and cinnamon is on the menu.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread evokes feelings and flavors of autumn. Bread dough is scattered with raisins, rolled out, spread with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled together to create a cinnamon swirl. Even though the outside of the loaf may not be beautiful, it really is the inside that counts with this bread. Spread with butter, honey, or peanut butter, this bread is taken to another level and makes a perfect chilly morning breakfast.

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