Black sesame seed bread

I have find out about the benefits of the black sesame quite recently. Besides that has a stronger aroma, the black sesame has higher nutritional properties than the the normal white sesame.
A good friend of mine was telling me that she was eating black sesame with any food. Another friend of mine was advertising it as a miracle ingredient to improve the immune system. Well, I am usually skeptical when it comes to new ingredients that comes and go in fashion these days. However, as I knew that during the winter the probability to get a cold is very high I decided to give it a try.
It is not bread that I am talking about, but a mixture between grounded black sesame and honey from which I take a half of teaspoon every morning straight after waking up. I do not know if it is just a pure coincidence or this really works but so far the cold avoided me this winter. For a mother with a young baby who often wakes up during the night, keeping a good immune system is essential.
Following the current success of this recipe I was thinking to include the black sesame also in bread so here it is what I managed to bake.

Nuts and raisins muffins

Something very quick to grab in your bag and run for school or office.
On top of the nuts and raisins there is a secret ingredient inside that makes this muffin wanted: a cube of Turkish delight.

Lavender soap

I had in mind for a while to make a lavender soap. As I have some extra essential oil that I brought from Province, I was thinking to preserve it better in a soap rather than in a bottle.
Everything went smooth with no major failure except the coloring. I had a violet powder color and I wanted to make the soap with nice shades of violet. I read the label and it was clearly indicated to be used in other types of cosmetics but not in soap. But I had no other similar colors so I gave it a try anyway. In the end, maybe not surprisingly after reading the label, the color turned into brown. Although it was not the color I wished for, the soap got nice shades of brown and I am happy the way it is. It is not made to be sold anyway, so being just for my own use or for a gift to my closest friends, the color is more related to the artistic part.
Otherwise, there is smell of lavender all over the house after doing this soap.... ohhhh how relaxing ... 

Durum sourdough bread

After 8 months of exercising to bake bread in the a wood fired oven, I finally arrived to have a good looking bread. I have tried many options in my desire to reach to a bread that is opening its heart to me. I was close sometimes but far from having a perfect good looking bread. Each time, the breads were eaten completely and never thrown away no matter how good looking they were.
When I bought the wood fired oven I expected to be a bit more difficult to bake bread but 8 months seemed ridiculously long. I've had all kind of experiences: overbaked breads, burned breads, dried breads, underbaked breads, flat breads strange shaped breads and I may say that each bread is a challenge in itself.
How I reached to have this one? Well ... I do not know exactly as my lately breads were quite similar. I guess that the durum flour had some magic in achieving this.
I hope I am able to reproduce the same results with other types of breads as well, but we shall see.

  • 733ml water (room temperature)
  • 283 liquid sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 750g durum flour
  • 50g white sesame
  • 14g gluten
  • 15g salt

  1. Day 1: 18:30 Mix all ingredients using a standing mixer.for 15 minutes.
  2. Day 1, 18:45, cover the bowl with lid and put the bowl outside, at winter temperatures 5-10ºC. If the weather outside is colder or warmer than that, use the fridge that usually is around 4ºC.
  3. Day 2, 8:00AM, bring the bowl with the dough inside and keep it in a warm place inside your house.
  4. Day 2, 10:00AM, remove the dough from the bowl and put in on a board. Divide and shape 3 oblong loaves and place them in 3 floured bannetons.
  5. Day 2, 10:15AM Do the final fermentation, by letting the loaves covered with a linen towel to raise nicely before the bake.
  6. Day 2, 13:00, reverse the bannetons on a pizza peel and score the breads with a sharp blade. Slide the breads into the hot wood fired oven (~300ºC) and bake for 25 minutes. You may check if the breads are uniformly cooked at half of the interval and if not, rotate them in the oven and keep them for 10 minutes more.

Charcoal pine soap

Not far from my house there is a pine forest. From time to time, we leave the house to have a relaxing walk in the forest. The smell of pine is touching our noses, our minds and we came back home fully relaxed and filled with energy. We make these little trips when usually there is a nice weather outside, meaning that during the winter these kind of trips are rare. I kindly miss them during the cold season.
I tried to find a way to bring into my home the pine smell and the memories and feelings associated with those nice walks. It crossed my mind to buy some pine essential oil and use it in the house to diffuse and to make some soap with. While rarely I have time to look and enjoy a candle that heats an essential oil to diffuse it in the room, I do wash my hands several times a day. That smell reaches me in an instant. It is a wave of freshness that brings the spring into my mind no matter how the weather is. The spring will come at its time, but until then, the smell of pine is filling our minds with joy and energy. My mood is boosted and any sign of fatigue rests behind.

Not to forget that the pine essential oil is very well known as being a natural antiseptic, circulatory, antiviral, restorative and anti-inflammatory.
In addition, combined with the active charcoal is fighting against a range of problematic skins (acne, burns, eczema, wounds, itching...)

All this with just a pine soap, used regularly to wash your hands or face. It cleans and heals your body and mind.