Our across-the-street neighbours moved away a few years ago. They were fun to hang out with on our front step, our collective little kids playing on the sidewalk. They were good eaters, and toward the end of one summer shared the recipe for the soft, sweet buns he told us his Grandma used to make. Homemade dinner rolls made with a recipe procured from someone’s grandma are my favourite. For awhile, I made these with my niece across the street, and she’d bring them to school in her lunches. Homemade buns on the dinner table is about as old-fashioned as it gets, and yet immensely satisfying – this is one of the recipes we included in the new Best of Bridge Sunday Suppers, which hit store shelves a few weeks ago. If you like, you could pay closer attention to how you shape them, forming them into smooth-ish balls, then bake them on a sheet instead of in a tray, spaced apart so that theyContinue reading

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It’s time for some chocolate babka, I think. To celebrate the time of year when you can turn the oven on to warm the house. If you’re only familiar with babka thanks to Seinfeld, it’s a sweet, rich yeasted dough that some call cake—but really it’s a loaf of sweet dough with the texture of a soft cinnamon bun, rippled through with so much chocolate (or cinnamon, which is considered a lesser babka, but it’s on my list to make next—who wouldn’t love a loaf-shaped cinnamon bun?) as to make slicing the rolled log (which you do lengthwise, before twisting it into the pan) a challenge. I took babka for a spin a few times to get a feel for it, in the name of research of course—the soft, rich dough is lovely to handle, and it’s like assembling a cinnamon bun, up until the dough is filled and rolled into a log. Some of the chocolate fillings out there are crumbly, others smooth, whichContinue reading

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It’s no secret I’m a bread fan. I love all of it – some more than others. Toast (in all its forms) is perhaps the world’s most perfect food. Toast and jam. Cheese toast. Raisin toast. Peanut butter toast. Yes, even avocado. I’ve been a fan of COBS Bread since spending a few years out in Vancouver – their Apricot Delight Log makes some of my favourite toast of all time, with an impressive quantity of dried apricots, raisins and currants rarely seen in bakery bread. out supporting the hungry in our community all the time. Each time I’ve made sandwiches at the Drop-in Centre, a large quantity of bread has been donated by COBS. The Leftovers Foundation is always collecting donations from COBS. This weekend is COBS’ annual Breakfast Club of Canada fundraiser – from Friday September 15th – Sunday the 17th, $1 from every loaf of bread sold will be donated to the Breakfast Club of Canada. A dollar provides breakfast for aContinue reading

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I’ve decided that during the summer, all mornings count as weekends, regardless of my to-do list. A relaxed schedule makes it seem like summer holidays, particularly when taking our time with coffee and carbohydrates in the morning. When there’s surplus good bread around, French toast is It. I never follow a recipe – it’s just eggs, milk and bread, right? Perhaps a splash of vanilla in the egg-milk slurry. But this time I came across a new formula that required cooking soaked bread in a hot pan long enough that it developed a crusty bottom, which would then help contain even more custard you poured in as it cooked, and then the whole pan was transferred to the oven to cook evenly through, almost soufflé-style.

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This was a weekend I felt like baking for people. Even before things began to happen, I woke up on Saturday morning wanting to make something for the farmers we were going to pick up our CSA share from, so I turned on the oven without knowing what I was going to make. I didn’t want to default to my usual scones. I pondered muffins. I confess I’m one of those people who enjoys the muffin top more than its stump. I had a tub of sour cream that needed using and some pinkie-thin rhubarb that’s perfect for breakfasty things, and so I started mixing a batch of muffins, changing course halfway through when I decided to give drop scones a go again.

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Bannock is bread in its most basic form – flour, baking powder, oil or lard, water – baked in the oven to supplement your morning coffee or evening stew, wound around a stick to cook over an open fire, or torn off in a ball and patted thin, then fried in lard or oil in a hot skillet until golden and crisp on both sides. It’s essentially a scone, only easier, and with a slightly more rugged chew. I learned to make fry bread with a hole in the middle, in what I think might be the Blackfoot tradition – I say this only because the few times I’ve seen it made this way was by women from nations in the Blackfoot Confederacy – and I love how quickly and evenly the bread cooks in this flattened doughnut shape, without worry about it remaining doughy inside. The hot pan gives a quick crusty exterior without making you turn on the oven. And I’ve been knownContinue reading

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I don’t know why it takes March coming around again to remind me that an Irish soda bread is a good and simple thing to make, as versatile as a scone (which essentially it is), and the perfect, craggly-edged sort of thing to mix together and serve with soup or stew or chili, or in wedges slathered with butter and jam on weekend mornings. I am an enormous fan of raisin toast in all its forms, and of chewy oats, particularly when you get the satisfaction of kneading them into a loaf. For some reason, I forget all this for approximately 11 1/2 months of the year.

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As you may have noticed, I’m a fan of the scone. I’m also a fan of apples, and pie, and sweet-but-not-too-sweet carby things to nibble with coffee, and warming up the house from the kitchen out. Enter the apple pie scone – an amalgamation of all of the above. A slab scone is simply biscuit or scone dough – you could use whatever formula you like – for this recipe I’ve used this dough and this dough and both work just fine – and rather than roll or pat it an inch thick to cut, you roll it into a 10-inch square. In the past I’ve filled slab scones with jam and other preserves – there is potential to get creative here – but this time I tossed some apples with sugar and cinnamon, as you would if you were making pie, and loaded those in a strip down the middle instead.

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How many of you wind up with self-composting pears every. single. time. you buy them? I’ve been known to make or bake something just for the sake of saving something from being tossed. It’s a bit weird, but it’s also a bit of a game – and most of the time I wind up making something I wouldn’t have otherwise. Like this carrot cake-loaf (let’s call it a loaf because it has less sugar than a typical cake, and is baked in a loaf pan), made with the grated overripe pear pictured below. It turned out to be perfect timing, because the three of us are hopping on a plane tomorrow and heading to London (!!) for a week. It was my Christmas gift to M + W, who have never been overseas, and I got a steal of a deal last fall. And because the snacking options are generally overpriced snacks at the airport or from the little cart on the plane, we’ll packContinue reading

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