Bread- texture and crumb- plus a recipe.

Poppyseed rolls using stamp

Poppyseed roll using a stamp- it looks fancier than it tastes!

I have been making lots of bread since the new year started.  And playing around with recipes and methods- because I want the bread to be to my liking.  I don’t really care too much about how it looks- I want it to taste and feel right in my mouth.  I’m looking for a slightly yeasty, stretchy dough similar to those I remember from my youth when we would get a loaf of Vienna bread from the bakery in Akron on the way home from church on Sunday.   That loaf never made it home.  We ripped off pieces and ate them in the car- oblivious to the crumbs on our Sunday dresses- passing the loaf from hand to hand and tearing off a chunk of crust and delectable crumb that stretched as we pulled it off.

I’ve been making bread since I was 18 years old and have only now come close to that


Sourdough lof raised in a banneton

This looks right- but the texture isn’t quite stretchy- although the flavor is wonderful!

I love the bread I make- especially the sourdough- but like I said- the texture isn’t quite right.  And I don’t think it is about the recipe, either-  flour,yeast, salt olive oil and water- in varying amounts is what I’m using- usually with a cup or less of sourdough starter mixed in.

Poppy seeds and slashes make this loaf appealing.
The crumb is acceptable and great for sandwiches and toast.

So if the recipe is good- then it is about the method.  And I’ve been playing about with using old dough ( which is adding a piece of yeasted dough that has been saved in the refrigerator from a previous bread session- this adds to the leavening process and brings a flavor akin to sourdough ) and adding to the raising times.  I’ve been doing two raises- punching the dough down and letting it raise twice before shaping and allowing the final raise before baking and those two have added up to being very close to what I’m looking for in texture.

Knotty Italian rolls- twice raised and twisted into shape.

Finally the stretchy crumb I’ve been looking for!




I’ve been making these for years, but the addition of the old dough has made a significant difference in the crumb!

When pulling them apart there is that stretchy quality and that extra give upon biting into the roll.

Here is the recipe for the Italian rolls-   – you have to scroll down a bit to get to the recipe- I was rather chatty the day I posted this!  🙂





And I also found another recipe I had forgotten about-  I really like these bread sticks- but I had misplaced the recipe and hadn’t made them for a while.  I’m going to post it here so I can find it later even if I misplace the card again!!!

These also have a very nice stretchy quality to them-they are delicious by themselves- great with a dip or pate` and freeze beautifully!

Salted breadsticks!
Topped with sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese, and black salt and poppyseed.


4 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 sticks butter

2 egg yolks

1 cup sour cream

2-3 tsp salt ( I like salt- you might want to use the smaller measurement)

2 tsp. dry yeast proofed in 1/2 cup warm water.


Bring all ingredients to room temperature, then mix all together in large bowl.  Depending on the flour and the type of day, you may need to use a little extra water- you are looking for a fairly sticky dough- but still dry enough that you can shape into a ball.  When you have a ball with all the ingredients well mixed, place on floured counter and cover with the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

Lightly whip egg whites until they are just frothy and set aside.

Roll out dough 1/2 inch thick, brush on half of the egg whites, fold dough and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.

Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick again and brush on egg white, add salt, cheese or seeds on top.  Cut into sticks , twist and place on baking sheet.Bake at 350 degrees F until golden- about 15 minutes.


Sesame seed breadsticks- so good!






Coconut sheet cake with cream cheese frosting- recipe

Coconut sheet cake with cream cheese frosting- a moist dense cake.

I love coconut cake.

I love chocolate and yellow cakes, as well.

I love cake, period.

But coconut cake has such a clean edge to it- the flavor is permeated within the cake itself and then you have a bonus of toasted coconut on top, mmm!

But it is hard to find a homemade cake that has the right flavor and mouth feel.

I like the Sara Lee frozen coconut cake- but I wanted to make my own so I went to the recipe index on the internet and combined and played with the ingredients and amounts and came up with this winner!!!

Notice that there is no leavening agent in the ingredients- the eggs are used to raise  the crumb – and this is a rather dense cake- more like a pound cake than a sponge cake.


1 cup soft butter

6 ounces soft cream cheese

6 eggs, separated

1  tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plain or A/P flour

1/3 cup coconut flour (if you can’t find flour, put some in the food processor until it is quite fine

1/4 cup coconut milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x 13 in. cake pan.

Cream sugar into cream cheese and butter.  Add yolks, one at a time, until batter is

smooth and light.  Whip egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside.

Add vanilla and mix well,  Add coconut milk, mix- then add plain and coconut flour and

mix well.  Fold egg whites into mixture – carefully- you want it well mixed but still with lots of air in the batter.  Gently scoop batter into greased pan and bake in pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  The cake should raise slightly whilst baking and will be a little browned on the edges – check doneness by inserting a clean knife or toothpick in center- when it comes out clean, the cake is done.Allow to cool completely and then ice with cream cheese icing.

I used 1/2 cup butter

6 ounces cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups 10x or confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup coconut flour

and beat it with a hand mixer until it was creamy

.Then topped the frosted cake with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.

I think the icing was a little too thick, but Frank likes more icing than I do.  Half the recipe if your tastes run along with mine!

In My Kitchen- January 2014

Not such a lot going on in my kitchen this month, yet.


I had my grandsons for a week while their parents went to


a coffee plantation in Nicaragua for a much needed break.


So – I spent a lot of time playing video games (mostly watching )


working on science observations with microscope and magnifying


glass- reading a large number of books, putting on boots, taking off


boots, keeping track of mittens, making lots of bacon dishes, and


basically trying to keep them happy to be with grandma while


Mommy and Daddy were gone.  Did I mention they were 3 and 5 years


old?    So the first item on my list is outside my kitchen-


on the deck…


These two did a great job cleaning off the deck- and they didn’t stop until it was done- pretty good for a 3 and 5 year old




where these two little sweeties were shoveling the snow off of for Grandpa!



In my kitchen…

MY kitchen chair!


Is this chair that I bought at a thrift store many years ago.  I love it- it is the right height


for a kitchen chair for me- it is perfect to sit at the counter and chop vegetables.  It is also


perfect for little boys to sit at the table.



So I haven’t been able to use it the last week or so.  My youngest grandson thinks this


is HIS chair!


In my kitchen…


A wooden spoon and flat spatula- made of ash and walnut!


is this lovely set of wooden utensils.  I love treen ware- my niece bought these from


a man who makes them in his state of West Virginia.  I love them!



In my kitchen…


is this picture of a bird on a coffee bush and…




a bag of coffee from the plantation where my son and his wife stayed!





And in my kitchen…

Sourdough marbled rye bread with caraway seeds!
















Beef stew- one of my husband’s favorite

winter meals!


That is what is in my kitchen- what is in your kitchen this January 2014?

This is part of an on going series hosted by my friend Celia at Fig jam and lime cordial.   Take a look

at all the posts there this year!

Christmas around the house

I am really not there yet.  In the Christmas spirit.

In fact, I usually don’t arrive until all is over- the shopping, making and wrapping-

the cooking, partying, greetings, cards, and catching up-  my Christmas spirit

comes after New Year’s has quieted down and I’m digesting all that

has happened over the holiday season.

BUT- I do have preparations going on- rituals to follow, recipes to bake-

it certainly looks like Christmas around my house!


Starting off with fruitcake.  I love making it as much as eating it- maybe I

love making it more.


And gingerbread houses- I love to make them with children!


We made three houses this year!


(OK this is not at my house- but these are the houses I was involved in making.)


044See- I’m making the royal icing.

And bread- I’m making many loaves of bread.



And cookies- I made some gluten free shortbread this year that I really like.


They have rice and almond flour- and are better as time goes by!


We finally got the tree up yesterday- it has many more ornaments than I usually put

up- but my grandsons are coming this year so I added a lot of kid themed stuff I usually

by pass.



There are small little signs of Christmas throughout the house- it is starting

to look right ready for the celebrating to begin.

I’m linking this to Jason’s blog Don’t boil the sauce for his At my tradition feature.

Have a wonderful Christmas and don’t forget to catch the spirit!

In My Kitchen- December 2013

This month I had visions of going all Christmas- fruitcake

and cookies and the like.  But it just hasn’t happened yet.

This coming week I will probably be in full Christmas mode-

but really- we just finished Thanksgiving. 

And my husband and my 38th anniversary and his

birthday, yesterday.  So I’m not quite in a holiday


In my kitchen…


there is bread.  I make bread even when I am sick.  I have to- no one will make it for me-

and I hate most store bought bread.

In my kitchen…



there is chicken pot pie.

I love chicken.  Most days there is chicken in my kitchen. 

In my kitchen…


is this aluminum tray.  I have an extensive collection of aluminum ware.  I started

collecting it 20 some years ago when it was really inexpensive and you could pick up a

piece for a couple of dollars.  I think I will do a post on just the aluminum-

this tray is rather large.


It is larger than either of these pieces of oven and freezer proof covers of silpat


In my kitchen…


is bat poop.  I got some from my son for Christmas gifts for a couple of my gardening friends.

Luke went up into the belfry of his church in Long Island and harvested the bat guano which

is very rich in nitrates and sold it at a fund raiser for his ministry for the hungry.

It says- “Fertilizer Created by God, Processed by Bats, and Blessed by a Priest to help your

garden grow.”   I just opened the package at my kitchen table and grabbed the camera to take

a picture.  This is NOT staying in my kitchen. 

In my kitchen…


is turkey/chicken lasagna with spinach.  I needed to use up the turkey left overs and this is one

of my favorite dishes.

In my kitchen…



is a big pot of turkey chicken stock.  I cooked up the carcass of the turkey with veggies-

then used the stock to bring a chicken to boil and turned off the heat and let it sit in

the broth for an hour.  The chicken was perfectly cooked and wonderfully moist.

And I have double broth to use in a soup later this week. I used 5 cups of the broth to

make the sauce for the lasagna and it was rich and delicious. 

In my kitchen…


is birthday cake for my husband’s 64th birthday!


White and chocolate with raspberry filling and chocolate rum icing.  YUM!

And outside my kitchen…


is winter and cold and snow coming down.

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat….”

What’s happening in your kitchen?

Look here at Fig jam and Lime Cordial , Celia’s blog for other IMK posts.

Baking Spree!

I’m going to Long Island tomorrow for a week of little boys and

much fun with my daughter in law, Willow.  Luke is off visiting churches

and going on youth trips- so I get to spend time with his family while

he is gone.

I’ve been getting ready to go – laundering clothes, picking up small items

to take for the boys and making sure I have luggage that hasn’t bad zippers

or sprung wheels and intractable handles-  and by baking up a storm so that

Frank has plenty to eat while I’m gone!


Cardamom/cinnamon buns- these are the best I’ve made in a long time!

I let the dough raise in the cold garage overnight- so the flavor is not just in the spices.

I’d like to give you an exact recipe but I just used the dump and hand measures.

It goes like this:

Pour a largish amount of AP flour in a large bowl- about 4 1/2 cups.

Add about 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt ( Pour into your cupped palm and fill the space that is

deepest- twice). Sprinkle the top with about two tsp cardamom.

Add a goodly cover of dried quick rise yeast on top – about 2 !/2 tsp.

Add about 1 cup dried milk- two  cupped handfulls and stir – making a well in the

center of your bowl.  Beat up an egg with 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and pour into the well,

mixi069ng just a little with the flour .  Then add about 1 1/2 cups of very hot water and stir the

entire mixture up into a moistish dough- if it is too dry add more water- if it is wet add some more

flour and then knead about 5 minutes until it is smooth and pliant.  Butter bowl,  shape dough into a ball

and place in bowl, cover and leave in cool temperature- (45 degrees F or less) overnight.

In the morning, bring in and let warm up to room temp, then roll out dough into a largish rectangle, spread warmish butter

over the top and sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar  mixture and fold dough over from the long sides and cut into

bars  about1 1/2 inches wide.  Twist the bars then wrap around your fingers and tuck the ends through the  hole that

results from wrapping them around your fingers.  Place on parchment papered baking sheet and bake for

about 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

While still warm spoon a sugar glaze on top.

This makes about 2 dozen buns.


And I made some bread for him to use as toast.  He doesn’t like fresh bread for his sandwiches but for toast- his favorite!


I also made some poppyseed rolls and twists.



So he has lots of sweets and a couple of pizzas that I made last night for supper and then froze the left over

pieces for him to take for lunch.

We had snowfall last night so the view out my windows went from this-


to this-


and this-013

I probably won’t be posting for the next week or so- but rest assured- I’m taking pictures and having a marvelous

time with 2 little boys!

May your next week be one of great joy as well!

Sharing the adventure… reblogging my son’s post

Lights, Camera and Action: Bringing the Gospel to Life

Posted by Sharon Pearson on November 7th, 2013


by Luke Fodor

I have long admired the movie-making ministry of St. Paul’s, Auckland in New Zealand.  Each year I eagerly await their annual Christmas video.  This year I got tired of waiting so I let my admiration finally prompt me into action, emulating their work in my own parish.  Watching the fun these New Zealand children have acting out these sacred stories, I was convince that I had an easy recipe for success.  I only needed a film crew, an acting coach, special effect/props guy and someone to teach me how to make a movie.

“Ever the optimist, I enthusiastically started talking about this idea with folks in the parish.  These conversations lead me to recruit from our parish a professional videographer and producer (Michael Fairchild), an equity-actress willing to serve as the acting coach (Regina Schneider), and I have become the props and special effects guy.  After a couple of meetings, we devised a game plan to attempt an initial movie. We decided to let our inspiration from the New Zealand videos lead us. We would shoot kids acting out the scenes of the Nativity story, using costumes from the Christmas pageant, and adding narration after the fact.

With sports on the wane and our children’s choirs on break for summer, the perfect window to make the film emerged in June by assuming their Wednesday afternoon rehearsal time.  It became a Vacation Bible School of sorts with a 21st century flavor.  We allotted four 90-minute workshops—one to teach some rudimentary acting skills and learn the Christmas story and three to shoot the video and record the narration.  The script for the narration was drafted with the children’s input based on the scenes that we had filmed.  You can watch a behind-the-scenes making of the movie here, which may give you more insight to the creative process. The end product, the film Christmas in June, was a gift we were able to share with the whole parish at the start of stewardship season.  We plan to share it again during the Christmas season and hope you will share this film with your parish community then, too.

The success of the program has prompted us to create a second film, Performing Parables, which seeks to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?,” by enacting some of the events of his life and parables from his ministry.  With this second film, we have added special effects into the venture.  With the help of our sexton, I constructed an underwater plank to create the illusion of Jesus walking on water.  Building the plank was easy compared to the prospect of convincing the child playing Peter to fall into the chilly waters of the lake on an October morning.

Creating these films has been a lot of work, but it was well worth the time and the effort.  We have given the kids an opportunity to engage the sacred stories in their terms, with their own words. These films allow God to be known to them and to us.  That’s what the story of Christmas is all about, incarnation: God being made present in our human situation. As I watched the kids acting out the story of God’s incarnation, I felt God’s presence in a new way. As the kids embodied the story, laughing and horsing around, I felt God, too, was laughing in and through them.  By acting out these stories from the Bible, the stories enter into the very bodies of the children. They know the stories in a new way.

If you would like to try a similar initiative at your parish, I am more than willing to consult, offer insight and brainstorm with you.  Just shoot me an email ( and we’ll explore the possibilities.  To date, this filmmaking venture has been the most meaningful times of my ministry and probably the most fun too!

The Reverend Luke Fodor is the Assistant Rector of St. John’s Church in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, where he works with children, youth and young families.  Having spent nearly 5 years working at Episcopal Relief & Development, Luke works to empower children and youth for God’s mission in this hurting world. 

Be Sociable, Share!

Luke put this up recently and I wanted to share the excitement of the children and adults that made these videos.  One of the children in the films is my grandson, Aidan.

In My Kitchen-November 2013


A dwindling box of saffron.


A small gathering of bread bears.


A remnant of a delicious Cobb salad.


A slice from our caramel apple BIG cake- spice cake, chocolate-gluten-free frangipane,

French apple cake, and caramel cake topped with cake pop enhancement and covered with

a caramel coating!


It was great!


And on the deck outside my kitchen- pumpkin tin cans being crafted.



And wreaths being made.



So- that is my kitchen this November- what is in your kitchen?

See more offerings at Celia’s blog – It’s a great month to share what you have going in your kitchen !

French Apple Cake- Happy October!

I’ve been planning on this cake for at least a month.

I saw it here , on America’s Test Kitchen, and wanted it.

They eat the cake right in front of you and my mouth watered.

When we went apple picking I was thinking of this cake.

On my son’s birthday I was thinking of this cake.

And today I made it!


It is easy to make- has a custard layer, an apple layer and a light cake layer.  And-

it is as good as I hoped it would be!

So, “happy birthday!”  if you have an October birthday-  I’m celebrating with this cake!


I raise my cup of deep plum cinnamon tea and salute Autumn, Apples, and Appetites

everywhere.  The recipe is   here – and they have some scientific stuff to explain

how this is as good as it is- I didn’t have Calvados to put into the apples so I used

brandy instead.


This is , absolutely the best apple cake I’ve ever had.

In my Kitchen- October 2013

Today is my son’s 35th birthday.  If he lived closer

there would be a cake in his honor.  But since he

lives several states away- and always celebrates

his birthday with a trip to an apple orchard for some

fresh picked apples…

In my kitchen…


there are apples!  Golden delicious, Jonagold and Jonathan.  I was going to make

a pie or sauce – but in my kitchen are also apple lovers- and the basket is getting

emptier!  Isn’t this a lovely basket?  It is an egg basket- so constructed to keep the

eggs from breaking when gathered- and it keeps the apples from bruising as well!


And it is also just a lovely basket!

In my kitchen…


are some lovely teas Meredith brought home.  The Turkish apple and cinnamon is

my favorite- along with a deep plum tea that I made into an iced beverage!  And

aren’t the mugs beautiful?  They are in my son, Jordan’s kitchen now- she brought

them home from Canberra in her backpack and they made it without even a chip!

In my kitchen…


my latest harvest of Swiss chard- which I put into a sausage, bean,and potato soup-


that is so good and savory!   I love Autumn- soups and stews are perfect for dinner!

In my kitchen…


are basil and tomatoes from the garden.

In my kitchen…


is this ceramic knife- perfect for chopping basil so it won’t turn black on the edges.

In my kitchen…


is this salad with fresh tomatoes, onions, basil and sourdough bread – add a little olive oil and

balsamic vinegar and we are talking delicious!

And in my kitchen…

in the oven right now…


is a stew of butternut squash, candy onions and pork loin doused with olive oil and dusted

with thyme, oregano, basil, roasted garlic and smoky paprika.


And last- but not least- in my kitchen…


is my new oven/range!  All the burners work- and the oven keeps an even temperature!

So that’s it for this month- lots of food and good times!  I didn’t show you any bread pictures

but there is plenty of that in my kitchen, too!

Go to Celia’s blog for a whole list of In my kitchen posts- it is great fun to see all the stuff

and foods and recipes people share from their kitchens!