Sunday Bread - cranberry tangelo


I have begun to expand on the rustic bread I make every week. This time I added tangelo marmalade and dried cranberries. My hope was to remake a bread I had found at a farmers market a few years ago that I haven't seen since. It was so good on its own, as toast, even for sandwiches. I'm so happy to say that my attempt was a complete success! I made this with the last of the tangelo marmalade I made last season... so I should go make more. However, cheating with store bought marmalade in any variety would be equally as good.

To make this I started with my rustic italian bread like usual and folded in the following as I shaped the loaves.

¼ C dried cranberries
¼ C tangelo marmalade (or any other citrus variety)

I folded the sides over in thirds and shaped the loaves into taught balls and baked just as usual. 

Make a cake - lemon


We are nearing the end of the citrus season here in the Arizona desert. The smell of citrus blossoms is everywhere right now and its heavenly. I have a pile of lemons in the kitchen and I use each and every one thoughtfully. Today its lemon cake, tomorrow its preserved lemons with maybe some lemonade in between.

Here is how to make this lemon cake.
Makes two 4x9 inch cakes, one standard bundt.

Lemon Cake

2½ C AP flour
1½ C organic sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 C sour cream or plain yogurt at room temp
½ C olive oil
3 eggs at room temp
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2½ Tbs grated lemon zest
Juice from about 1 lemon to sprinkle on hot cakes

Lemon Glaze

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1½ C powdered sugar

Butter the cake pans (I line my pans with parchment paper) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sour cream (or yogurt), eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Drizzle in the olive oil at medium speed until well incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing just until combined each time.

Divide the batter between the pans. Bake until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes depending on your pan size. Even less for cupcakes. Once done, I like to sprinkle fresh lemon juice on top of the cakes right when they come out of the oven. Then, allow the cakes to cool for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until there are no lumps. The glaze should be thick and shiny. Add more sugar if its to runny, or add more lemon juice if its not runny enough. Glaze the cooled cakes and let them sit at room temp for at least another 20 minutes. Serve!

Sunday Bread


It has become routine for me to make bread at the start of every week. I love not buying it! I have been sticking to the same recipe since the result works so well for us. We use it for everything from pb+j's and BLT's to toast. Its a rustic Italian style bread with a crusty exterior and a soft chewy interior that holds up and doesn't fall apart. Steam is used in the oven to develop the crust. It's just an all around perfect bread! So for now I'm sticking to this one, maybe I'll branch out as the season changes.

This one starts out with a sponge. I guess a sponge is just a shortcut to a starter? It can be made a day ahead and you use it all at once, starting fresh each recipe. A starter is more work, like having a newborn baby in the house who requires regular feedings and just the right environment to survive and mature. In the future I'm sure I'll be the crazy bread lady who takes her sourdough starter on vacation because it can't be left alone. Too much for me at the moment so I'm good with the sponge. 

¾ C water
1¾ C unbleached AP flour
¼ tsp active dry yeast

Mix together, cover and allow to sit at room temp 6 to 8 hours or up to overnight. Refrigerate if you need to leave it longer.

1½ C room temp water
4 C unbleached bread flour
Sponge from day before
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp organic sugar

Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix for 1 minute then, allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat this three times or until the dough has formed a smooth ball and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It should still be a bit sticky. 
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rest in a warm spot for 2 to 3 hours. It will rise but may not quite double.
Flour your hands and a work surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and divide in half. Shape each ball by tucking the edges underneath as the top is pulled into a taut surface.
Place the loaves onto a parchment lined sheet with 3 or 4 inches in between. Cover them loosely and allow to rest again at room temp for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and position a rack in the center. Place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with flour and make a few slashes with a very sharp knife. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are dark brown. They are done when you hear a hallow sound when you thump the top and bottom of the bread.
Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Store them right on the counter or in paper bags. Only use plastic if you need to freeze them.

Get ready for some crazy good bread.



September started out with some miserably hot weather for us and zero rain. zero. The heat has let up a bit but we are still craving cold food and even colder drinks. Big giant salads made with everyones favorite ingredients like greek olives, purple sweet corn, black beans, and gorgonzola. Over Labor Day weekend we made the best homemade sea salt chocolate chip cookies ever. they were giant and delicious.


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