Country bread

This is what I would call a Christmas bread (at least from the photo :)) ). Very easy to make and very rewarding the result. It is a straight bread, so no preferment overnight. However, the taste is impressive for a straight bread. This recipe worth to be repeated many times and bookmarked. Here it is the recipe:

Tuna fish quiche

It has been a long time since I made a quiche. It was now the perfect moment after all the heavy dishes of Christmas to eat something more light. So, I took my new large tart pan and I invented on spot a recipe that worth to be done again and again.

Almond, Turkish delight and cocoa sweet bread (Cozonac)

It's Christmas time so I couldn't miss to do a cozonac (a traditional Romanian sweet bread).

Merry Christmas my dear readers!

 If you think of panettone, you are right, this cake is very similar to it. Only the shape is different and probably the filling.


This type of Italian bread became very popular for my relatives lately. As I was baking bread a lot, this type was kindly suggested to me. I had in mind that difficult wet dough to work with and a flat bread with big holes inside. What turned out to be was not quite this way. The dough was not at all difficult, the bread was not flat and the size of the holes in the crumb was disappointing. I can guess also why this happened: the more hydration the bigger the holes in the crumb and this dough didn't have enough water to achieve this. I'll probably make again ciabatta but not with this recipe.
However, the resulting bread, even if it has nothing to do with ciabatta that I had in mind, was not bad at all. It was just another type of bread! Tasty, with a gentle aroma ... so finally was not really a failure.

Traditional flan

A simple and classical recipe for a flan. It is very soft and has an incredible vanilla aroma.

Brioche loaves with sourdough

This is a so enriched bread that I am not sure if the right name is bread or cake. It is so soft like a sponge and so melting into your mouth! If I have to put a name for this bread I'll call it the morning bread because seems to be perfect to put something over a slice and eat it in the morning.

Chicken with sweet potatoes

I love cooking in a Dutch oven or a cast iron pan or in a cocotte. They all mean the same but the food cooked in it is delicious. I made many times chicken recipes inside and they are incredible because the meat cooks well also inside. To get this, the principle is simple, first cook with the lid on, then remove it to achieve a nice roasted skin. Adding potatoes to it is another classical ingredient that I cook inside. But this time I have changed the types of potatoes and the result was different. I have used sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes. They are sweet and combines well with chicken. the recipe is again a simple one (haven't I told already that I simply hate to do complicated and time consuming recipes). The rest of ingredients add flavor to the meal, so if you do not have exactly those one you can chose some others or you can skip them.

66% sourdough rye bread

I have at home a lot of cooking books and sometimes I say that if I would do one recipe from each I could fill my meals for months. I have books from which I didn't do any recipe but I have also favorite books from where I count how many recipes I didn't do. This is the case for Hamelman's book from which I have the feeling that the recipes with sourdough are running out. Of course I have plenty of other recipes and I can do them over and over again but I loved Hamelman's book so much that I feel sad not to continue. Every singe recipe was a challenge and I learned so much from it. It was my first serious bread baking book and will remain the best for me. Bellow there is another rye bread recipe with sourdough that raised like a beauty in the oven.

Bacon and mushroom gratin

I love almost any time a quiche. They are very easy to make and in the same time so delicious. But what happens when you remove the pastry part from a quiche? You get a gratin! This is what I have done with this recipe. I have started from a quiche recipe and I ended up doing a gratin for the simple reason that I needed it quickly done for the dinner. The result was better than expected.

Vanilla biscuits (snowman)

Lately my trains are always late and I find myself waiting and waiting together with my daughter on the platform. One evening, she was bored and we had a walk around the station. It was the perfect moment for Irina to put her eyes on a vending machine with chocolates and biscuits. As you can imagine, I faced a real show to convince my 2 years old daughter that those were not good for her. And I made a promise to her: "mama will make you some biscuits at home !" This kind of promise you cannot fail and I have taken a very simple recipe and made vanilla biscuits for my daughter. More, we had such a nice time together making these snowmen shapes. My daughter made herself some of the biscuits too and I am very proud of her!

The resulting biscuits are amazing, they are simply melting into your mouth and the flavor of vanilla gives you the desire to want more and more.

Organic white bread

Although winter is not my favorite season, I have to recognize that has its special spirit as well. And when its about cooking, then winter is perfect. I love those weekend days when you heat your house with your oven and an amazing smell of bread comes out of it. Then you take out your bread and set it aside to cool and you look at it anxious to taste it as soon as possible.
This time I chose a white bread made from organic white flour. It is a straight dough without any preferment. Even if the water is 62% I managed to have a very wet dough difficult to work with it. Probably it would have been better to cook it in a Dutch oven, but I went for the classical method on the stone. The resulting breads were a bit deformed as shape but they rose nicely in the oven.

Rye and flaxseed bread

This is a simple bread. Easy to make, it doesn't take so long to rise, the dough is quite easy to work with and the result is amazing. I baked this bread this afternoon and it was full of nice surprises. First of all, it raised beautifully in bannetons and then, in the oven the loafs made impressive ears. The first 15 minutes I took a chair and stayed in front of the oven to see with my own eyes how they were opening and extending. Very exciting experience and I can declare it as being the bread with the biggest ear I've ever made. As for the taste, there is no need to tell you that is fantastic.... I'll just tell you DO IT at home!

Carrot and hazelnuts bread

I've marked this recipe a while ago and every time I wanted to do it I was missing something. First time there were the carrots. Second time, I was running out of hazelnuts. But for this weekend I had them both available and as I wanted to do an "exotic" bread, this recipe was the perfect one.
I have made the preferment the evening before and the next day, I have started to prepare the carrots and the hazelnuts. I am not kidding, the preparation of the carrots took me almost one hour with the whole mess to clean after extracting the juice of the carrots. But I drank the carrot juice and it was so good!
To grate 750g of carrots by hand was a lot of work and then to squeeze the juice out of the grated carrots using a gauze ... I had enough ... I swore I'd make myself a present and buy a juice extractor. Or... I'll put it on my list for Christmas presents :D. But well, when carrots were squeezed and dried, to make the bread was a piece of cake.
Now, regarding the bread, with 12g of yeast in it, the dough raised quickly. The impressive part was that it raised a lot outside but in the oven didn't raise so much. Nevertheless, the resulting bread look was acceptable. Inside, the bread had small bubbles in the crumb, normal for a more tougher dough. The color was obviously almost orange because of the carrots. The taste.... hmm... I might say that hazelnuts flavor was stronger than of the carrots but still, this was a bread not a cake. 
As a conclusion, it was an interesting bread with an interesting taste and look but, to be honest, I've made more basic breads who caught me more.

Basic Tartine Country Bread (based on the recipe of Chad Robertson)

I wanted to make this bread for a long time, since I've read the book of Chad Robertson. It is a special book and caught my attention with 2 things that I love: photography and bread baking. Chad tells his story in the book: how he started to make bread, how he was for many years in the search of the perfect bread recipe, and I have to recognize that I've read it like a novel. I admired his path to succeed as a bread baker and I envy him in the same time that he dedicated his life to bake bread. Well, everybody has his path in life and I'm glad to share with him the same passion.
The book is full of nice photographs either related to moments of his life or directly related to bread baking. These breads are exceptional and they perfectly combine with the content.

Enough with this book that I strongly recommend, let's see what ended up for me following his recipe.
The reason why I have postponed so long this recipe is that requires more time and effort than  Hamelman's recipes. So, I needed a free weekend to pay attention to all the details of the recipe.

I have started the recipe Saturday morning and the bread was ready by lunch on Sunday. I have chosen to make the final fermentation in the fridge because I wanted to use somehow the hours during the night and not to fill a full long day only with bread baking.
As I have already said, I have started the bread at 8am in the morning with the preferment. I let it stay until 5pm. It took some minuted to mix all together plus another  40" for the autolyse. Than I mixed again, and this is how the first hour has passed. Then, I continued with the bulk fermentation for the next 4 hours with stretches and folds every 30 minutes. the dough was very wet at 77% hydration and it was difficult to work with it. that's why it needed so many stretches and folds. And, I don't count that the flour that I find here in Belgium is lower in gluten than the one you can find in US. So this is how I realized that the time was already 10pm. I took out the dough from the bowl that was clearly running in all directions on my wooden board, but after few stretch and folds it became more firm. I divided it in 2 parts, let it rest as it is required in the recipe for another 30 minutes, shape the 2 loafs rounds, put them in bannetons, covered them in plastic bags and let them fermenting over night in the fridge. It was already 11pm after all these steps.
The next day in the morning, I realized the it didn't raised so much so I let them out at room temperature for another 2 hours and baked the one after another.
When I have removed the lid after the first 20 minutes I was a bit disappointed because they haven't raised as much as I would have liked but on the other side they were not looking bad at all.
I didn't wait to cool completely and I cut one for lunch. That taste hit me! A bread that worth all the effort. I will make it again for sure even if I'll try the variations proposed by Chad. I can say that if there is somebody passiond about bread baking, this recipe is a must because even difficult, the effort price is payed by the taste, quality and aroma of the bread.

Feta saganaki

Every time I go to Greece for holidays I need to try the local food goodies. The Greek cuisine is one of my favorite. This year I had the pleasure to spend my holiday in Zakynthos. What a lovely holiday, what a sunny country and what an amazing island with breathtaking views. We were travelling the whole day and in the evening, before resting in the hotel, we were stopping to take the dinner in a Greek taverna. And what delicious food they had!
I'll put some pictures from that holiday for you to see what beauties are there!

For this post I have chosen a simple and amazing recipe. I remember that for dinner I was always asking for a feta saganaki even if the main dish was enormous. So I decided to try it at home as well and it was so successful that it finished in one meal. It remained only the sweet memories of their taste.

Homemade chips

Yes, I know! Chips are not the most healthy food that you can put for dinner. But do you really believe that the ones that you buy in a bag or a box from supermarket are more healthy than the ones homemade? I do not believe so. And if I want mouthwatering chips than I prefer to make my owns.

Chips are extremely simple to do at home, you only need the right tools.

So here is the recipe ...

Rustic buckwheat bread

It happens sometimes that my schedule and bread schedule simply doesn't match. This is what happened with this bread. I was panning to do do another recipe more complicated bu I had to change and try this one. I have chosen a bread with buckwheat. If you remember, I have used the buchwheat for another recipe (see Bio buckwheat bread) and its special aroma remained in my memories.
I have started this bread in the evening and I realized I was too tired to finish it in the same day so I gave up and put the dough in the fridge even during the bulk fermentation. To let the bread in the fridge to ferment is something normal but it is more common for the final fermentation not for the bulk one. I was so tired that I risked simply puting the bread in the fridge and went to sleep.
The next day, in the morning, the dough taken out from the fridge was cold so I let it at the room temperature for half an hour. I was expecting the bread to fall down in the oven due to the bulk fermentation in the fridge and this is what happened indeed ... until it raised and cracked so nicely in the next 10 minuted inside the oven. The schedule fit perfectly to have fresh warm bread for lunch. Delicious! A very good formula that finally matched with my schedule.

Corn flour bread

I was planning to do another bread, but I simply forgot to make the preferment the day before. I remained then with the only option to do a straight bread. And this is how I have chosen this recipe that I present here.
This is a bread with corn flour. Corn flour is diferent from polenta, one is flour one is semolina. The colour of the crumb is a bit yellow due to the corn flour. The taste is more sweet than a normal bread. The bread raised nicely and it opened beatifully in the oven.

Raspberry muffins

Did I mention that raspberries are my favorite fruits? I love them fresh, in any state and in any combination. A raspberry ice cream or a raspberry tart makes my day! But now let's put these goodies aside and focus on these amazing muffins with raspberries. They have a bit of sour taste and they keep the delicate aroma of these berries.

Cream of zucchini soup

I am not a big fan of cream soup but I have decided to vary from my classical soups. Also, I am not a big fan either of zucchini and I do not use them so often in my dishes. More, when I hove told my dear husband that I was intending to do a zucchini cream soup he snorted a bit and I was wandering if finally my soup would be eaten. But I persisted in my trial and I gave a chance to this soup.

So, I followed the original recipe with very few changes. It turn out to be a green liquid with no appetite for it. I filled one bowl, took a spoon and tried it. Mmmm, but it wasn't so bad at all! Much better than any soup I eat every day at the office cantine. Turned out to be flavored and with a reach taste for just a simple vegetables soup.
Next test was clearly for my husband to taste it. And I saw his face changed into an amazed one: "mmm, but this is quite good!" It was clear then that my soup was a success. The only person I couldn't convince to try it was my daughter, but well ... I understood her because she preferred another dish that she loves.

Muffins with Turkish delight and vanilla

Two things that I didn't eat lately: Turkish delight and cupcakes. What a better combination for these 2?

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière

It is the second time I do this bread and the first time I really hated it. It's problem is the very high hidration. My problem is that I cannot find here a high-extraction wheat flour as the recipe of Hamelman requires. I didn't want to replace either the white wheate flour with whole wheat so I gave it a try with normal bread flour. First time I added more flour because the dough was extremely running (like a cream), impossible to give it a shape. Another mistake I did last time was to bake it on the oven stone and the bread spread quickly in all directions. Of course, I didn't through away the bread then and as taste was an incredible bread.
Today I have decided to give it another try. Remembering the last experience I was cautious and add a bit more flour from the start. But the dough was again running in all directions. I tried dozens of stretch and folds but didn't work, so when shaping I had to add more flour just enough to be able to gather the dough together. Another improvement from last time was to bake the bread not on the stone but in a dutch oven to be sure that I don't have again an Olympic running bread. For the first 30 minutes I baked it with the lid on and when I opened the oven to remove the lid I was shocked to see my beautiful bread. And I let here the modesty behind and I recognize this bread as being the most good looking bread I've ever made. The photos are not really capturing the "personality" of this bread. It is imposing itself, is high and has made even its "wings". It is a big bread of almost 2 kg, and I have to say this, I am so proud of it.

Apple bundt cake

There has been a long time since I cooked my bund cake. So it was the time for a new one, and of course with apples...

Roasted garlic levain

I am probably in an intensive baking period so I try a lot of new recipes of bread. Not only basic breads but also flavored bread. Now it is the right moment for a garlic bread. The taste of garlic is not very intense and gives a nice spicy flavor to the bread.

Sourdough seed bread

Oh that ear!!! ... When I made my last bread (not listed on this blog) I put it straigt on the hot stone and score it there with the oven open. And what a surprise, the bread made an ear. I was impressed of the result that I started to investigate from where it comes the difference with my previous scorings.
I have started to search over the internet about the secret of the ear and found a trick on blog that made me understand what I made wrong till now. Even if I have used exactly the tools used by professional beakers, even if I understood exactly the importance of the angle al the blade when scoring there was something that I didn't notice. Scoring a bread deeper results in the border falling with its own weight. This is what I made wrong. For this bread, the appearance of an ear was not anymore a serendipity but an indended fact. When scoring more like a scratch, with a blade used in an angle the border raise, the cut creates a nice open in the bread and raise from inside without merging with the border. That's the secret!
This bread in particular is not so wet as most of the breads presented by Hamelman, so the dough is easy to work with, Toasting some of the seeds adds a nice flavour to the bread. The seeds anyway gives the dominant flavour that complements the sourdough taste and aroma. It is a nice bread and worth totally the effort of doing a sourdough bread.

Apple cake

Would you like a quick festive cake? This is my magical recipe with apples. The trick is than it is a simple reversed cake decorated as a festive one. But it is a light one and more healthy! So. let's see the recipe ...

Olive bread

This is a bread I wanted to do for a long time. But because of the retard in the fridge, it didn't suit my needs or my schedule until now. So, during the weekend, as I had enough bread I took the luxury to play and make this bread.
With a very sticky and wet dough and a nice flavor from the olives I was wondering how the result would be. My patience was challenged with more time needed for the bread to to raise in the fridge.
When I reverted the bannetons I was almost disappointed because the loaves deflated quickly. In my sadness I even forgot to score the 2 breads and I put them straight in the oven. I didn't even want to look at them but... the miracle came from the oven spring when the 2 loaves raised unexpectedly well. Huh... what an emotion ... but what a bread came out .... just wow! I simply love this bread, it is so flavored, with so many whole inside, with such a nice crust, with such a soft crumb ... cannot find more words to describe it. Because of the retard in the fridge, the bread took a bit of sourness but is suiting so well the entire taste.
This is a bread that worth to be done many times because the result is so rewarding ...

Apple and almond tart

This autumn I've got a lot of apples and storing all of them it's a problem. So I need to eat or use them in a cake or something. And, what's better than an apple tart? The answer is an apple tart with almonds! It's quick and delicious!

Pain au levain with whole-wheat flour

I have avoided to make this bread because the author mentions that will not raise as much as the other ones. Nevertheless, I have decided to give it a try. And I was not disappointed at all. It raised nicely and the taste and the flavor were amazing.

Organic simple bread

A bread with one type of flour: not a regular bread flour but an organic one.  The dough was wet and difficult to work with. Then, I had to delay to put the bread in the oven more than 1h30 as the recipe required and the bread was a bit over proofed. Even if the result was no so wow because the bread didn't raise as much as I would have liked, the result was good and tasty. It worth a second try adjusting the time of the second fermentation.

Organic spelt bread

I love to make bread with preferment because the taste is much profound. But I can only do this during the weekend when I am at home. When the weekend is busy to I need a recipe that needs to be done in maximum 5 hours that remains after a normal working day.
This recipe was more impressive than expected. The dough was wet, didn't raise a lot during the 2 fermentation stages but in the oven raised so nicely. The taste was also impressive for a straight dough, remembering me of the country bread. This is definitely a bread that worth doing it more often.

Apple clafoutis

It is definitely the apple season and I cannot resist to bake something with them. This clafoutis has a reach taste, it is very flavored and remembers me of creme brulee.

Simple apple pie

Very close to my house there is an orchard of wild apples that almost nobody bother to harvest. They fall on the ground every year and they serve as food for the horses brought there to graze between the trees. The trees make small apples, they do not look perfect, they have worms but they are totally organic with a sour and sweet taste and a special aroma that you cannot compare to any that you can find in a supermarket. And every year I select some good ones before they are eaten by the horses and put them in a pie. This year I was lacking time for a more advanced recipe so I made the most simple one.

Bio buckwheat bread

I had some buckwheat flour in my cupboard and there were some months since I wandered what to bake with it. So I have found an interesting recipe and this is the result. The dough was almost grey and the bread is also darker. The taste is great, with a special flavor and is indeed remarkable. It is a straight bread so no preferment is made.

Whole-wheat multigrain

This is a bread with seeds you can choose. I selected 4: sun flower seeds, flaxseeds,sesame seeds and millet. The result was fantastic as taste and the breads raised so nicely.

Vermont sourdough with rye flour

After a deserved holiday we are back home and I missed baking bread. Here I come back in force with a new recipe for an excellent bread. The recipe was inspired from the Hamelman's book.

65% rye bread

This is probably the quickest recipe from Hamelman's book. In 4-5 hours you have it on your table.
It is a straight dough, so no preferment is required.
The dough had a strange texture and working with it remembered me the playing with plasticine from  childhood.
The resulting bread was OK but a bit disappointing to my taste. The flavor was of rye but was missing the sourdough aroma that I love so much. Nevertheless, if you need a quick bread on your table than this recipe is acceptable.
I have asked my husband to give his opinion about this bread and his reaction was "Is like from the the bread machine you were doing once" And indeed, he was right, except for the rye flavor there was nothing special about this bread.

Cheese bread

I have noted this recipe to make it for a long time but it was always another one to do. But look, its time it arrived. Despite of a lot of negative opinions I've read about it I was stubborn to do it anyway.  They were pointing that the crust becomes bitter because of the burned cheese after the baking. So I was careful not to make the crust so brown and I baked it at lower temperature than normal. And the result was a success. Maybe it didn't raise so much that I would have liked but the taste of the bread was exceptional. I have tried a bite when it was still warm and I had the feeling that I was eating some cheese crackers. When it cooled down, the strong taste of cheese has diminished.

Pizza dough

This is a recipe I use for years. Is so simple, so flexible that even if I have dozens of pizza dough recipes that I want to try I usually end up doing the same one.
From the quantities bellow I do 2 pizzas. Half I bake in the same day and the other half I keep it in the refrigerator in a closed bowl for maximum 5 days.

Roasted pepper salad

This is a recipe I know from my mother and I remember perfectly from my childhood its taste of vinegar combined with the sweetness of the peppers. But I think it passed years since I didn't do this recipe. It was the time ...

When I tasted them, I had a revelation. How could I have ignored this food for such a long time? Even my husband rewarded me with a long "mmmmmm" after the first bite.

Mushroom quiche

Sometimes I am starting with an interesting recipe but I replace one or two ingredients and I continue with replacements until I march what I found in my cupboard. In this way I arrive to make my own recipes. Sometimes they are not extraordinary but sometimes the result is a real success. This is what happened with this recipe and it turned out to be extremely delicious.

Lemon kugelhof / bundt cake

It is quite a long time since I didn't bake a kugelhof. I don't know why, but in the summer I'm more into fresh fruits rather than cakes. But I felt the need to come back to my old habits...

Sourdough baguettes

Between so many sourdough breads, a baguette recipe couldn't miss.

Pain au levain with multicereals and multigrains

This bread is nothing else than the famous Pain au levain of Hamelman that I have redone for the simple reason that I have found lost in a cabinet a bag of multicereal flour that my husband bought by mistake.

So, I wanted to get rid of it by throwing it in a bread. The result turned out to be an amazing bread.
I wanted a big loaf and I chose to not divide it in 2 but to make just one.

This was also my first bread baked directly on the stone thanks to the supper peel that my husband created for me. I have baked till now only on baking sheets and it was the moment to progress a bit. Thank you dear Florin, great tool for bread baking!

Whole rye and whole wheat sourdough bread

As I said before, I like to keep 2 types of sourdough one with white flour and one with rye flour. This is a bread with rye sourdough.


I love meatballs but in the Romanian cuisine they are better known as fried and this is not necessarily the most healthiest. So I had to find a way to eat meatballs without frying them. The solution was to bake them in the oven. Instead of absorbing oil, in the oven they release the extra fat and the result is for sure healthier.

Rye sourdough starter

In one hot summer day I have decided to make another variety of sourdough and to ten a bit my Maya. This is how my sourdough is called. Well done, so I have started to feed it with rye flour instead of white bread flour. It seems that she liked this change because she leavened quite nicely as you can see in the photo.

So, this is what I have done:
  1. Take 15g of white sourdough and put is in a cleaned jar together with 15g of water at room temperature and 15g of rye flour. Mix them well and let the jar with the lid open.
  2. Repeat the same process at 12 hours for another 2 times. If one can desire to continue for some more times is perfect, but I was anxious to use it and I made the 40% rye bread with sunflower seeds with it.
After that, keep aside another 15g, feed it with rye flour and water each 15g and store it in the fridge. From here the process is similar to the white sourdough.
Further on is simple to use it. Just take it out of the fridge 24 hours before you start your bread and feed it twice every 12 hours with rye flour. When the time for the 3rd feed has come you can use it for bread.
If you do not wish to keep 2 sourdough jars in your fridge you can always give up on the rye one as you can always easily reproduce it. As you can see, the process is not at all sophisticated.
I prefer to keep 2 versions of sourdough in my refrigerator because, just in case something goes wrong, I have a backup.
If you don't use it so often, take it out of the fridge at least once a week and feed it, then put it back to the refrigerator.