Tag Archives: bread

Bread Challenge–No Recipe Bread


So last week on Sunday I came across a Cook or Die Challenge in the goons with spoons forum of SA. As I had not made a loaf in a while and it seemed like a fun idea, I ran with it. For your pleasure, I happened to also know the general gist of how I made it and the ratios, so you too can eat delicious bread!

The whole idea of the challenge was to make a yeast-risen bread without a recipe. You could do anything you wanted, as long as no recipe and it was yeast risen.

I present the Mushroom Pepperjack Delicious Bread*


  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 2-3 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 4-5 large white button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c of flour premixed with wheat gluten, plus some extra for kneading
  • 1 egg for washing


  • clean counter for kneading
  • 1 bread loaf pan
  • bowl for mixing in
  • cup to proof yeast in if needed

Recipe! (which I totally didn’t have at the time, but can give you 😛 )

  1. Combine yeast, salt, sugar, and water, stir thoroughly to dissolve. Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine flour premixed with wheat gluten, pepperjack, mushrooms, and paprika thoroughly.
  3. Add proofed yeast mix into the bowl and stir. If needed, add more flour, until you get a dough blob.
  4. Throw your dough blob on a well flour counter and knead. Knead until you get a pretty thing, like this: Try to add as little flour as possible, mine was a bit tacky still.
  5. Clean your mixing bowl, oil it, and put the dough in. Cover with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for 1-2 hours, till doubled.
  6. Once dough has risen, gently turn out onto counter, and press flat with hand. Shape into a loaf shape and put in a lightly floured bread pan. Slash across the top with a sharp knife 3 times, then cover and let rise for another 1-2 hours Like so.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425F/218 C.
  8. Once everything is ready, if desired, brush the top of the loaf with an egg wash (1 egg + 2 Tbsp water). Put in oven for about 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature should be roughly 200F/93C when it is done, and it will look delicious.
  9. Turn onto cooling rack and allow to cool for about 15-30 minutes before eating.

So delicious! The challenge was really quite good for me, it’s given me a lot of courage in trying to make my own breads. This one is really the perfect crumb for what I like in my bread, so I’m quite happy.



*the name might need some work



I think I posted my recipe for bread ages ago, but having just made it again, I wanted to share. Like most breads, it’s affected by humidity and heat and all that good stuff, so tweak it if you need to. This version of my bread is less sweet than the other, but still delightfully dense and chewy with a nice crust.

Brooke’s Bread (Not Sweet)


  • 3 cups flour, +some to sprinkle counter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (2Tbsp) active dry yeast
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • salt

Makes 1 loaf of bread.


  1. Mix sugar into the warm water. Add yeast. Proof for 5 minutes (recommended)
  2. Slowly add the flour in until you have a doughy consistency. Drizzle the oil in around cup 2, and then add more flour till more solid and less liquid again. I usually get about 2.5 cups of flour in total. Flop onto counter and incorporate the last of your flour, or until the dough is doughy.
  3. Knead until soft and springy, and use flour sparingly to keep off counter–don’t try and incorperate anymore unless it’s a really wet day and the dough just won’t behave. This takes roughly 10 minutes.
  4. Put into ball and place in well oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled (roughly 30 minutes in a warm room, more in colder). Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Roll onto counter and gently press air out. Shape into a loaf. Place in pan. Let rise for 30 minutes or until 1″ above pan. (Honestly, mine usually just rises for 30 and I don’t bother waiting for the 1″ thing. I thing that’s a remnant from the recipe I base mine off of)
  6. Pop in oven for 30 minutes. Take out of pan and let cool. Try not to eat in one sitting, or double the recipe and eat one now and one later!

Some neat things:

If you slash the top of the dough before the second rise, you get those cute slash marks you see on baguettes and the crust tends not to pop open on one side of the dough since it’s not as stressed.

Gluten flour is the best thing since sliced bread (which I don’t actually use or buy anymore haha!). It basically helps make your all purpose white flour into a bread flour, and more gluten is good for breads. I use it for anything that needs a little more help in the rising–bread, brioche buns, ect. (You really should look into pastry dough, which has LESS gluten, for your croissants though). You mix it in according to the directions your box has to your flour prior to putting it in. It’s an extra minute of prep that I never regret.

Gluten flour is not good for those who go gluten-free, whether by choice or diet. Just saying.

In fact, most of my pastries are terrible for my gf friends. Sorry guys. 😦

Vacations + Lots of Free Time = Startitis


So, since last Tuesday after work, I have been on what I term a mini-vacation. Which means I’m still in Des Moines and at home, but I don’t go out, sleep as much as I want, eat when I want, ect. My schedule is amazingly ready for classes despite this. I’ve spent some time gaming, but with this my last day of summer, I decided to take pictures of all my works in progress. Maybe I’ll even finish some of them

To start, some food I’m pretty proud of:

This is my same old bread recipe I’ve been using, but my technique has come a long way in my opinion. For one, the top doesn’t crack nearly so bad, the outside shell is a bit thinner and super wonderful, and I get stuff that looks about the same each time. Quite pleased.

Next are mulberry pancakes I made on the first day of the mini-vacation. This is the bottom side, so you can’t see the golden deliciousness on the other. And they’re on a towel so I can keep them covered while I cook the rest.

These are incredibly light and delicious, with nice crisp edges. My secrets: separate eggs to be used in batter. Throw the yolk in, and then beat egg whites stiff but not dry. Fold in lightly after batter is mixed, as the last step. You should also only have enough mixing done prior to this for there to midsized lumps. To keep my berries from burning and/or bursting horribly, I drop them in, as you can see below, after I pour the mix.

And now we can move to my major pet spinning project! In an attempt to see how I want to spin, I’ve decided to turn the Jacob from the stash bust into a 9-ply yarn, hopefully around aran weight. It’s also my attempt to spin a uniform single. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of the sample card I’m so proud of.

I’ve got eight bobbins so far (the spindle is ready to be transferred). I’ll be spinning different sets of them into 3-plies, and then all of those together into the 9-ply. IE, bobbins 1, 4, and 7 go together, 2, 5, and 8, and so forth. I’ll be keeping track of which 3-plies where spun when too, so I can do the best mix possible to get as even a yarn as possible.

Knitting has oodles, as apparently I’ve had a case of startitis and not noticed.

The phoenix cardigan is coming along swimmingly–here you can see the talons and tail as they’ve formed. I didn’t even notice until I was spreading it to keep the floats from being too short, and then I was just happy as a clam with myself.

I started work on second cardigan, which has slowed down. The yarn was starting to hurt my hands in places, and it’s also a bit big to move around much. If you follow me on twitter, you’ve seen a few photos already.

The first of the socks knit from my handspun is done, primarily because I was sick of the yarn, and I’m not satisfied with this draft of the pattern. I also realized I really have to go down a needle size if I ever want the other one to fit. This one is a bit loose, but hey. Draft. Right.

In happier sock news, I’ve moved from the first sock of my Ruby Slippers and into the second. I used a short row toe to start this time, and I must say it is an adorable toe, the least fiddly toe up start ever, and I’m entirely pleased with how adorable it looks on my toe. It’s perfect. I’m trying to do the second sock by ‘reading’ the first, with the occasional check of the pattern before I get too far in to make sure I haven’t seriously messed up.

The not-seen-since-the-swatch Greek Key Lace scarf is here again; I’ve added a few rows, but otherwise I have to finish all the yarn before I can finish, and I don’t want to keep knitting without knowing when that is. I’ve got a bit to go, but I really do mean to finish this. Sometime. It’s too pretty to leave in-progress forever.

And last, a slightly not really secret new design I’m working on for a potentially large shawl. It’s all multiples of 12, which is the only reason I’m not crying in a corner somewhere, and I’m totally in love with it so far. I think it’s a fusion of what I love in Orenburg lace–using blank space to accent the not blank–and Estonian lace–every stitch pattern ever–to create something I think will make for a lovely large shawl. The sample, however, is at best scarf material, and provided I love it, I will likely include the chart to make it with the pdf for the larger version, which will have the center rectangle framed. (You can make out my mostly to scale drawing on the left, just barely. The sample is being knit with some Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace I had in my stash, 2 balls of Chocolate)

If I like it, I’ll attempt to get some more silk/merino lace and knit the large version. Then pattern testing, and then… I may actually have a pattern I won’t feel guilty selling because it’s stupid easy and you could put it together by yourself.

And I think I’ll this stuff finished in time for me to still do Christmas knitting. Hah!

A Miscellany + Phoenix Update 1


Progress on the Phoenix cardi is up to row 20 after who knows how many hours, and it’s looking quite snazzy. It’s about three inches long, to be proved by my strangely accurate pinky (which is exactly 3″ long from knuckle to tip and 1 cm wide at the tip).

And here’s two different sections of it. The variegate is variegated quite wonderfully, despite my initial worries of the repeats being just perfect to make each section the same colour the whole time.

The pattern is surprisingly enjoyable, and I think it’s because each row is so different from the one prior, so it never gets boring.

Spinning of the Thai Lantern is coming along well, and I’m preparing a “this is how I made it” from start to finish. I may do it in two parts, since it may be a while before I can being the 2-ply part. It involves a great deal of fluff, as you can see:

I’m one of those people who will wear a pair of shoes/flip flops until they fall apart, and so it’s a little surprising I bought a pair of sandals last night. Despite the price tag, I viewed it much the same way I viewed purchasing my Doc Martens–comfort, will last years, and will be worn frequently. I was also urged on by the need for some shoes I could wear to work that had heel cushioning, as my right heel is hurting from lack of padding on my normal shoes.

I’m not getting paid to say this, and I don’t think I know anyone who works for them. I do know that Teva has the best padding ever for flip flops (I’ve had my pair close to 6 years). I was trying on some, and lamenting the lack of sandals from them, since I wouldn’t be able to wear the flip flops to work (we have to have a heel strap/something securing the shoe to our foot) and K said “You mean like those?” and pointed to a display I’d missed. Huzzah! It’s like walking in a cushy cushiony cushion of goodness. Really.

I also got my chromatic tuner in at last, so I can stop using the dumb one I have on my computer. Today was one of the most pleasing practice days ever, and I was made fully aware of how small small adjustments are on my harp sound wise. But now it sounds exactly like I was sure it was meant to (I have difficulty tuning the lowest notes, and so they were usually horrible flat or horrible sharp and not much between).

Why yes, that is my coffee table covered in fiber in various stages of prep. And I love how intuitive the tuner is and how much it helped me that I had to let it in the picture too.

My bread for this week also turned out much better than the week prior, though I do realize that Friday (tomorrow) is time for the next batch. Humour me, I just didn’t get the pictures up soon enough. I’ve nearly the got the recipe as good as for one loaf when making two.

A comparison shot of bread height (the week prior, I didn’t put enough yeast in, and it shows):

And then some shots to make you wish you could eat it:

I do believe that’s all the random I have to share, so until next time, Gadget!