All posts tagged bread

Tomato Basil Bread: Panera Copycat

Published February 10, 2013 by jenmatteson

I have been eyeing a KitchenAid stand mixer for a few months now.  When they first came out – okay, when they first came out again a few years back – I wasn’t buying into all the hype.  But I also didn’t cook and bake nearly as much as I do now.  I was completely satisfied with my hand mixer – seriously.

Tomato Basil Bread

Nate and I moved in together in the summer of 2011, which meant the marrying of our stuff.  He had an old Krups stand mixer that was a hand-me-down from Mama Marsha.  I’m quite sure he never used it.  But, I made some really good use out of it over the last year and half.  Here’s what it looks like:

My low powered stand mixer

Once I started baking a little more, I realized that it didn’t have quite as much power as I thought it should – it couldn’t handle large bread doughs and thick cookie doughs.  Finally, I came to the conclusion that I should invest in a new stand mixer for myself (I rarely spend a lot of money on anything, let alone kitchen gadgets – unless you count my awesome fridge!).  Like almost any large purchase I make, I did a lot of research before making a decision on what I wanted.  From what I found, the new Cuisinart and KitchenAid were fairly similar. Part of the reason I went with the majority and wanted the KitchenAid was because Mama Marsha had one, so we could swap attachments.

Just last week, I got my 20% off one item coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond, plus I saw that KitchenAid had a $30 mail-in rebate, which made the $350 Artisan Series $250 – a $100 savings!  I immediately told Nate that I was going to get it, to which he responded, “no”.  After a conversation, he said he didn’t think it was money we needed to be spending now, which I understand, but was sort of annoyed as I rarely buy myself anything, I’ve wanted this for a while, and I had the patience to wait until I could get it $100 less than regular price.  But, I agreed, and begrudgingly decided not to buy it. 😦

Turns out, his parents had purchased one for us for his birthday/our Valentine’s Day gift.  I found out the next day.  I was so surprised and super excited to start using it.  Mama Marsha said it wasn’t the Artisan Series, which I didn’t really mind – as far as I know, the only difference is the Artisan has more power and a larger work bowl.  Anything was an upgrade from what I’d been using!  Here is my new baby:

My new KitchenAid stand mixer!

I knew the first thing I wanted to make was bread – my sworn enemy.  I had recently had lunch at Panera Bread, and I have always loved the tomato basil bread.  I get it on any sandwich I order.  It’s so light but packs so much flavor!  After a quick Google search, I found quite a few copycat recipes.  I’m not sure why, but I settled on a recipe from The Keenan Cookbook.  It was a fantastic choice on my part, because this bread turned out so tasty!  It was hard to be in the kitchen while this was baking.  The tomato and basil combo smelled heavenly, which is exactly how the bread tasted.  Someday, I’ll master this bread thing…but I think this is a great start!

Tomato Basil Bread

Tomato Basil Bread

Source: Adapted from The Keenan Cookbook
Servings: 1 loaf


2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add basil, parmesan, tomato paste, sugar, olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper.  Gently stir until ingredients are combined.  Add 2 cups flour and start mixer.  Once dough begins to come together, add an additional 1/2 cup flour.  Add additional flour if needed to form a stiff dough.  Continue kneading dough for 1-2 minutes in mixer, or by hand for 3-5 minutes.

2. Transfer dough to greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides of dough with oil.  Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour, in a warm place.

3. Punch dough down and knead for 1 minute.  Shape into a round loaf and transfer to a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise for another hour.

4. With a sharp knife, cut a large “x” into the top of the loaf.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Published December 18, 2012 by jenmatteson

Bread is definitely a staple in almost every home.  We generally always have a loaf of whole wheat bread in our fridge, as well as a few more in the freezer.  I don’t feel like we eat that much bread, but we must as we seem to fly through loaves so quickly.  I think we most often use it as toast.  Wherever it goes, I refuse to pay more than $1/loaf, as I know that is the lowest price my local grocery store sells it for (when on sale of course).  Additionally, we have a semi-local convenience store chain that sells freshly baked bread 2/$1.99 at all times.  I try to grab a few loaves when I’m there so we always have some on hand, but inevitably we always seem to run out.

Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Today, I decided to try my hand at bread again.  A few weeks ago, I made honey whole wheat bread for a recipe swap, but it didn’t really turn out so well.  As I indicated in the post, I believe the recipe I was following might have been somewhat off, but who knows for certain.  Anyway, this recipe was from Prevention RD, so I was confident I could at least get something resembling a loaf of bread!  I think the original recipe may have been for two loaves, only because the measurements in Nicole’s recipe are unusual (I don’t have many 1/6 or 3/8 cup measurements ;)), but I made it work!

Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I had quite a bit more success with this bread than the last one I attempted.  It was super fluffy and delicious!  I’ll be keeping this recipe handy for when we want some freshly baked bread on hand.

Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Source: Prevention RD
Servings: 1 loaf, 12 slices


1 3/8 cups hot water
1/6 olive oil
1/6 honey
1 tsp sea salt
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp dry active yeast


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the hot water, olive oil, honey and sea salt.  Add in 1 cup of flour and mix until combined.  Add yeast and mix.

2. Add in 2 additional cups of flour and mix until the consistency is somewhat even, knocking the flour off the sides of the bowl if necessary.  Slowly continue to add the remaining flour until the mixture stop sticking to the sides of the bowl, but is still tacky to the touch.  You don’t want to over mix the dough, and you don’t want too much flour, otherwise your loaf will end up dense.

3. When dough is ready, let stand in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise for 1 hour.  The dough will be larger, but it does not need to double in size.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with olive oil and  coat with flour.

5. Punch down dough.  Turn out dough on a floured work surface.  Sprinkle top of dough ball with flour and begin to work into a ball.  Turning dough over itself several times, work into the shape of a loaf and drop into your loaf pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

6. Once baked, turn out onto wire rack to cool.  Slice and serve right away, or store in a paper bag, inside of a plastic bag for up to a week.

I made a turkey sandwich with the first slices of this bread, with basil pesto mayo and sun-dried tomatoes.  YUM!

Pesto Turkey Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Honey Wheat Bread Fail

Published October 19, 2012 by jenmatteson

I was assigned the Life and Kitchen blog for the bloggers choice recipe swap and at first I chose Lindsay’s honey wheat bread, a recipe originating from the cookbook Joy of Cooking.  I may have gotten a little to ahead of myself saying “I was getting good at baking” because I screwed this one up, royally! 😦

I’m 98% confident that I followed the recipe precisely, as I always do for baking.  However, when it came time to take my dough out of the mixer and knead it by hand, I was sure something was wrong.  The dough was so wet that I couldn’t even hold it in my hands, it was like a quick bread batter.  I tried to follow the recipe source linked to Lindsay’s blog to make sure the recipe was correct, but the link was to Amazon to purchase the book.  So I Googled it, and found a recipe on Tastebook also sourced to the Joy of Cooking, that used double the amount of flour.  Naturally, I thought, oh, Lindsay must have inadvertently entered the wrong amount of flour (her recipe called for 4 total cups, this recipe called for 8), so I went ahead and started adding more flour to my mixture.  Well, I only got about 2 more cups into my dough before it became really tough.  At this point, there was no turning back, so I kneaded it, and let is rise (or tried to, as it barely rose).

The result was two very dense loaves.  I didn’t even slice it that evening, thinking it would be crap anyway, so I let it cool and tried it the next day.  Surprisingly, it has good flavor, but it is quite dense.  Looking back to the Tastebook recipe, there was more water than Lindsay’s recipe, however, the rest of the ingredients were the same (excluding the flour of course).  I don’t know which was right, which was wrong, or if I just totally screwed something up, but I’ll have to try this again someday.  For now, here is the recipe I followed and then altered.

Honey Wheat Bread

Source: Life and Kitchen/Tastebook
Servings: 2 loaves


1/4 cup very warm water (about 105 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 85 degrees)
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
2 cups all-purpose flour (I added an extra 1/2 cup)
2 cups whole wheat flour (I added an extra 1 1/2 cups)


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/4 cup very warm water and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes.

2. Turn on mixer and add in egg, butter, water, salt and then honey.  Once all ingredients are combined, switch to dough hook on your stand mixer.  Slowly add the flour and allow mixer to knead bread.

3. Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for an hour.

4. Cut dough in two equal parts, placing each in an oiled loaf pan.  Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once ready, bake loaves for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from loaf pans and let cool on wire racks completely.

Recipe Swap: Banana-Oatmeal Bread

Published October 19, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s time for another bloggers choice recipe swap, and I was assigned Lindsay’s blog, Life and Kitchen.  She has gone vegetarian for the year, which is super cool!  I skimmed through some of her recipes, but ended up landing on honey wheat bread.  That didn’t turn out so well for me (see honey wheat bread fail), so I was determined to find something else that could be a success.  I settled on her Banana-Oatmeal Bread.

At first glance, I was concerned because there weren’t any spices in this – usually I like some nutmeg or cinnamon in my banana bread, but I still followed the recipe as is.  I after combining all the ingredients, minus the bananas, I was terrified that it was far too dry for a quick bread (I was having flashbacks of the honey wheat bread disaster).  However, once I smashed up the bananas and added them to the mixture, it was super moist and resembled more of what I thought it should.

The result was heavenly.  The bread was so super moist and had a ton of flavor, even without any spices.  This might be a go-to recipe for future banana bread in this house.  YUM!

Banana-Oatmeal Bread

Source: Life and Kitchen
Servings: 1 loaf


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp olive oil
1 large egg and 2 large egg whites, beaten (I used just shy of 1/2 cup egg substitute)
3 large bananas, ripe or on the way to over-ripe
1 cup rolled oats


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Add olive oil and eggs and beat until well combined.

2. In a small bowl, smash bananas with a fork or potato masher and add to other combined ingredients.  Add rolled oats.  Beat until very well combined.

3. Pour mixture into a prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is firm and browned.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Cheddar Jalapeno Beer Bread

Published October 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

I bought a 5 lb bag of self-rising flour to make biscuits while camping (they were wonderful and I never got around to posting the recipe – I should do this).  Since then, it’s just been staring me in the face every time I open my cupboard, asking me what in the world I am going to do with the rest of it.  While the bag was staring at me, so was this recipe, which I thought would be excellent with chili.  I grew up as a ‘saltine crackers in my chili’ person, and have evolved to a ‘tortilla chips in my chili’ type.  I’ll still take the saltines in a pinch, though 😉

Anyway, the flavors of this bread sounded like it would pair perfectly with chili, so I made it the same day as my four bean turkey chili.  The original recipe calls for canned jalapenos, but I used fresh, seeds and all so it was extra spicy.  For my non-cheese preference, I made the loaf half cheese, half no cheese, but the recipe below depicts a full cheese loaf.  It was awesome in the chili.  Perfect!  I’m not sure what else this would be good with, as I didn’t love it alone, but if you find out, let me know!

Cheddar Jalapeno Beer Bread

Source: Adapped from Essesntials Everyday


3 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cupsugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 jalapenos, sliced (seeded for less heat)
12 oz. beer (I used Oktoberfest)
3 tbsp melted butter


1.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cheese and jalapenos.  Slowly stir in beer until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is sticky.  Transfer to a prepared loaf pan.  Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Pour melted butter over top and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is browned.  Remove and let cool on wire rack in loaf pan for 5 minutes.  Remove loaf and continue cooling on wire rack, at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Irish Soda Bread

Published March 19, 2012 by jenmatteson

Irish soda bread is a quick bread that uses baking soda as the rising agent rather than yeast.  I’ve read rave reviews about this delicious bread, so I had to try it for St. Patrick’s Day.  There are several versions with additional ingredients, such as raisins, egg, or various nuts.  I decided to start with the simple version.  The bread was more dense that I anticipated, but it was so good.  It almost tasted like a biscuit with the crunchy outside yet soft inside.  Serve warm with a little butter or jam and you’ll be in heaven.  I may have had a few drinks by the time the bread was finished, so I didn’t get a photo until the next day.  It still looks yummy!  I barely adapted this recipe from Food and Wine; I omitted the rolled oats as I didn’t have any on hand.

Irish Soda Bread


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Add buttermilk and melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead 10 times, shape dough into a 9-inch round loaf and transfer to a baking sheet.  Slash and X on the top of the loaf about 1/4-inch deep.   Bake for 1 hour and place on wire rack to cool.  Serve warm with butter, jam, or spread.

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