Category Archives: yeast

Soft Garlic & Herb Bread Sticks


What makes a dish of pasta a meal? In our house warm and chewy breadsticks do. I don’t know what it is but there is something about a basket of fresh from the oven breadsticks that makes dinner complete. These breadsticks are from King Arthur Flour and are both easy and delicious. They require very little hands on time and you can make the dough ahead of time then let it sit until you are ready to pop them in the oven. I like to top with with a heavy dose of garlic powder and pizza seasoning but feel free to dust them with your favorite herbs and spices. Sea salt and rosemary, thyme and paprika, sesame seeds and oregano, the possibilities are endless.

Served alongside a steaming bowl of pasta, perhaps topped with a lamb ragu, these breadsticks have become a family favorite.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
  • Drizzle the oil on a 9″ x 13″ inch rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine the water, salt, flour and yeast. Beat for 1 minute.
  • Move the dough to the prepared baking sheet and using oiled fingers, manipulate the dough until it almost reaches the edges of the pan.
  • Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to score the dough in 3/4″ wide crosswise strips then score them again once lengthwise.
  • Cover the pan and let the dough rise at room temperature for 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly drizzle the the top of the dough with additional oil then sprinkle the garlic powder and pizza seasoning evenly over the top of the dough.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the breadsticks are a very light golden brown.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Tip the breadsticks from the pan onto a wooden surface and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut through the score lines.
  • Return the breadsticks to the pan, edge side up.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Yields: about 3 dozen bread sticks

Parmesan-Artichoke Foccacia


Because they tend to be time consuming (rather than hard) I don’t make yeasted breads often but focaccia is one of my exceptions. It is simultaneously crusty and chewy, slightly tangy yet it hosts other flavors well. And this time of year nothing tastes better alongside a hearty dish of chicken parmesan or chicken stew than a slice of focaccia.

The basis for this recipe comes from Williams Sonoma but I’ve taken the liberty of adding in two classic Italian ingredients, artichokes and parmesan cheese. The dough can be made either by hand or in a bread machine but I love to use my trusty Kitchen Aid stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. This takes all of the work out of making the dough.


2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 1/2 cups milk

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 – 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, dried and halved

1 ounce hard parmesan cheese, shaved

Coarse sea salt

  • Combine the yeast and water in a small bowl, stir until dissolved and allow to stand until the mixture begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the milk and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and stir to combine.
  • Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  • Add the yeast mixture and mix on low until a soft dough forms.
  • Increase the speed and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  • Shape into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl.
  • Cover and allow to sit until the dough rises and has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  • Evenly distribute 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly-roll pan.
  • Punch down the dough, transfer to the prepared pan and use your hands to flatten the dough until it completely covers the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap again and allow to sit for 1 additional hour until the dough has once again doubled in bulk.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Using your fingertips, press down firmly into the dough to make dimples about 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep.
  • Drizzle the remaining oil over the surface of the dough.
  • Evenly distribute the artichokes and shaved parmesan over the top of the dough.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Cut into squares and serve warm or cool.

Serves 8

Cinnamon Buns w/ Cream Cheese Icing


There’s nothing like waking up to a house filled with the aroma of warm cinnamon. Well, it isn’t a scent this cook wakes up to herself but her family does. And then I get to enjoy it alongside my lucky family. If you love cinnamon, and specifically cinnamon buns, then this recipe from King Arthur Flour is for you. It is rich, spicy and with a smear of cream cheese icing on top, decadent but the perfect weekend morning treat.

If you have night owl tendencies the way I do, even with the two separate dough risings, you can have these warm buns on the table by the time the rest of the family wakes up. Some mornings I do this but on others I prepare the rolls to the point of the second rising the night before. I then cover the buns and let them rise overnight before popping them in the oven in the morning. I also let the icing ingredients set out too; this ensures that they are soft and ready to go when the buns are. So however or whenever you prepare them, enjoy. They are just so yummy.


For the dough:
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the icing:
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine combine the milk, eggs, butter, flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Use a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture becomes cohesive.
  • Using a dough hook, mix for 4 to 7 minutes at medium speed until the dough is well combined and smooth.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 minutes, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16 x 21-inch rectangle.
  • Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl then sprinkle it evenly over the dough.
  • Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 12 slices.
  • Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan or two 9 inch round pans.
  • Cover the pan with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise until they’re nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake the buns in a preheated 400°F oven until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing.
  • To make the icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Spread the icing on the buns while they’re warm. 

Yields: 12 large buns


Herbed Brioche Dinner Rolls

photo 2-50

There is nothing better than the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house.  I don’t bake bread often but when I do the smell alone will be my family running as they wait for the bread to be cool enough to eat.  And I have to admit, fresh warm bread turns homemade soup or stew into a real meal.  If I’m going to bake bread, a yeasted dough is the only way to go.  Yeast breads aren’t difficult to make; in fact, I find them easier than most non-yeasted varieties.  Yeasted breads aren’t quick but most of the time it entails to make them is actually hands off.

I have long been a fan of Boston’s Flour Bakery and their buttery brioche recipe is my favorite for both simple loaves of bread and sweet treats.  When I was looking for a recipe for savory dinner rolls I found myself coming back to their original brioche recipe.  I figured that if their buttery dough was good for sweet breakfast treats it would also serve as the perfect base for savory rolls to accompany soup.  And I was right.  I added a combination of fresh minced thyme and rosemary to my dough but you could substitute an equal amount.  These rolls are best when served warm from the oven but if you must hold them to serve later, briefly reheat them in a hot oven before bringing them to the table.


2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cups bread flour

3 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons fresh minced thyme

1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary

1/2 cup cold water

6 eggs

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 10-12 pieces

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook, combine the all purpose flour, the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, herbs, water, and 5 of the eggs.
  • Beat on low-speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until all of the ingredients have come together.  Stop the mixer as needed to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low-speed for 3 to 4 minutes.  The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
  • On low-speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough.  Then continue mixing on low-speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  It is important for all of the butter to be mixed thoroughly into the dough.  If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
  • Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes, or until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny.  It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at first and then it will eventually turn smooth and silky.  At this point turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute.  You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the side of the bowl.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough.  Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake:

Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper lines or lightly grease and flour the tins.  Set aside.

Divide the dough in half.  On a floured work surface, press half of the dough into a rectangle that is about 10 by 5 inches.  The dough will be cold and feel like damp play-dough but it will be easily pliable.

Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, slice the dough into 10 equal strips, each about 1 by 5 inches.  Cut each strip into five 1-inch squares.  You should have a total 50 squares.  Using your hands, turn each square into a small compact ball.  Drop four balls into each of the prepared muffin cups (you will have squares left over).  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover the muffin pan and place in a warm, draft-free space for 1 1/2-2 hours.  The dough should have almost doubled in size and be puffy.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and beat lightly.  Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture over the top of each roll.

Bake the rolls, uncovered, for 35 to 45 minutes until they are golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing them from the pan.

Yields: 24 rolls

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