Whole Grain Crusty Bread (p)

Son-in-law Vladimir is one of those creative guys that likes to experiment occasionally with cooking. He started me on baking easy crusty bread. I have added to and taken away ingredients to perfect this wholesome bread.

1.5 T dry active yeast
1.5 T kosher salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain cereal
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water. Mix all dry ingredients until cereals and seeds and flours are well integrated. Stir in flour mixture, mixing until there are no dry patches. The dough will be loose. Cover bowl with a towel. Let dough rise 2 hours (or up to 5 hours.)  At this point dough can be separated into pieces, wrapped and refrigerated for baking another day.

Baking Instructions

  • Place a baking stone on the middle rack of oven. Place a ban (I use the broiler pan that came with the oven) in the bottom rack. Preheat oven to 450 for 20 minutes.
  • It’s a matter of preference what size pieces to bake. You can bake to large oblong or round loaves, three long baguette shapes or several mini baguettes.
  •  Cut out a piece of dough, using some all purpose flour to form and smooth out the bread shape.* Turn the in your hands to stretch the surge, created a rounded top (bottom will be a bit lumpy.)
  •  Put the dough on a wooden pizza paddle sprinkle with cornmeal. Let rest 40 minutes.
  •  Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto hot stone. Pour a cup or two of hot water in to the broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam (this is the key to a chewy crispy crust). Bake until well browned about 30 minutes. Repeat with remainder of dough. Cool completely.
*Note: Some times I will make three baguettes by sprinkling cornmeal into baguette flutes and place lengths of dough into flutes. The pans will go into the oven (no stone needed) but be sure to preheat the broiler pan for the water causing steam.

Thin Crust Pizza (d)

 I have been experimenting with pizza recipes to find the perfect recipe.  I think I finally found it. One of the challenges was finding “OO”  flour.   You can find the flour on Amazon.com. I truly believe that this is was is needed to make the PERFECT pizza crust! 

4 cups “OO” pizza flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water, 100 to 110 degrees F
Olive oil, for drizzling

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons crushes garlic
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
Cheese and toppings:
6 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2  grated parmesan cheese
vegetables raw as desired (I use thin sliced onions, peppers, mushrooms-mushrooms I cook dry ahead to reduce moisture)

Dough Preparation
In a bowl of a food processor, combine the dry ingredients, pulse to blend. With the processor running, add  water and continue until dough forms a ball (use dough setting if you have it on your processor). If the dough seems too wet, add a tablespoon or two at a time to the dough and reprocess, same if too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water at a time. You will have a perfect ball forming if the ingredient rations are  right. Sprinkle some olive oil in a large bowl and place dough, finish with another sprinkle of olive oil on top of dough. Cover with a light kitchen cloth and let rise in a warm place for two hours. Punch down and let rise for another hour.  Punch down and divide dough into 3 parts. Let rest another 20 minutes or wrap dough and refrigerate up to a day or freeze.  When refrigerated, remove and let warm to room temperature for about an hour.

Sauce Preparation
Combine ingredients and simmer until almost all liquid evaporates.

Roll the Pizza Dough
Preheat oven to 475 degrees with rack accessible on lowest setting.

Assembling the Pizza
Using 1/3 of sauce to spread on dough with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella on the dough.  Top with desired veggies.  Shake on a bit of dried oregano. Shake parmesan lightly over top.  Bake 12-14  minutes until bubbly and crisp on bottom.


Granola (p)

I was lucky enough in 2011/2012 to have my daughter Rishona, her husband Matt, and their new baby Chava living with us for the first six months of babies’ life. I learned first hand what my new son-in-law liked to eat and was tickled to cater to his cravings. This granola was a weekly venture. He ate it every morning (and sometimes for dinner!) with a handful of mixed nuts. (I always double this recipe.)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raw wheat germ (toasted is OK, if you can’t find raw)
1  T vanilla
3.5 cups oats
1.5 cups mixed chopped nuts (I generally used almonds, walnuts and pecans)
2 cups mixed dried fruit (like raisins, craisins, chopped prunes, chopped apricots)

Preheat oven to 375. Stir every thing together and place on a large baking sheet (I use non stick foil so their isn’t a mess to clean up.)  Sprinkle a little kosher salt across the granola before baking. Bake 15 minutes and stir well. bake more time if need to get all toasted. Be sure not to burn! Can be stored in a jar for a week or may be frozen and used as needed.

Zucchini Bread (Parve)

 Mom B used to make zucchini bread/cake. We all loved it growing up. Now my daughter has deemed it her favorite sweet bread. I have switched up the recipe, with less sugar and added wheat flour and use olive oil in place of veggie oil. Incredible moist and freezes well. 

1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
3 t cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2-3 cups grated zucchini (the more zucchini, the more moisture to the bread)
2 t vanilla
1 cup raisins or craisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with portable mixer. Add wet ingredients and mix thouroughly. This is enough for two loaf pans or 4 medium loaves. Bake 40 minutes, be sure not to over bake. If desired sprinkle with turbine sugar before baking.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza (Dairy)

This recipe attribution is to Sally’s Baking Addiction  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com  it is superb! I use cast iron pans to bake.  I have found to get a crispy bottom crust, I’ll bake the pizza, let it rest and then bake again out of the pan on a baking sheet at 350 for a few minutes to crisp the crust. These pizzas also freeze really well!



  • 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups slightly warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened)
  • olive oil for coating


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar


  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese*
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • additional optional toppings, add enough to suit your tastes:  thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms


For best results and ease of mind (!!!), please read through the recipe completely before beginning. You will need two deep dish 9×2 inch round cake pans if you are making both pizzas at the same time. You can also use 9 inch springform pans.

  • For the crust: Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hand mixer and a very very large bowl. If you do not have any mixer, you will do this all by hand. Again, use a very large bowl. Give those ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon. Add the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. The warm water should be around 90F degrees. Make sure it is not very, very hot or it will kill the yeast. Likewise, make sure the butter isn’t boiling hot. If you melt it in the microwave, let it sit for 5 minutes before adding. On low speed, beat (or stir) the dough ingredients until everything begins to be moistened. Continuing on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand if you do not own a mixer), beat the dough until it is soft and supple and gently pulls away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too hard (it will be textured from the cornmeal), but if it feels too tough, beat in a teaspoon of warm water. Alternatively, if it feels too soft, beat in a Tablespoon of flour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated in the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. For this warm environment, here is what I do: Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Once 250F degrees, turn oven off. Place bowl inside. Close the oven. The lingering heat will help your dough rise. This is especially ideal on cold winter days.
  • Once the dough is ready, lightly flour a large work surface. Remove dough from the bowl, set the bowl and aluminum foil aside (to use later). Gently punch down the dough to remove any air bubbles and roll the dough into a large 15×12 rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough. Roll it up lengthwise per the photos below. Cut the dough log in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place back into your greased bowl. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rise in the refrigerator (not in a warm place) for 1 hour until they are puffy as you make the sauce.
  • For the sauce: Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. You may store the sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if planning to make the pizza another day. You may freeze this sauce for up to 2 months as well.
  • Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
  • Assemble the pizzas:After the dough balls have risen in the refrigerator, they should be puffy. Keep one ball of dough in the refrigerator as you work with the first one. Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 12-inch circle. Using your rolling pin as a guide (see photos below), place over a 9×2 inch deep dish cake pan. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Repeat with 2nd dough. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen. Fill each pizza with 1/2 of the cheese (about 2 cups per pizza), then your toppings which I’ve listed as optional in the recipe ingredients. On top of those optional toppings is the sauce. Pour about 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce on top of each. If you do not like that much sauce, you can reduce to 3/4 cup per pizza and have leftover sauce. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
  • Place the cake pans on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything potentially spilling over the sides of the pans. (Nothing usually does.) Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Feel free to loosely cover the pizzas with aluminum foil after the 15 minute mark to prevent any heavy browning and uneven baking. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice, serve, and enjoy.
  • Place any leftover pizza in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot.


Orange Blossom Squares (Pareve or Dairy)

Grandma B had this recipe clipped out of a magazine from the 1960s. It is one of our favorite desserts. It can be made dairy or pareve. I have cut the sugar down 1/3 in this recipe (as I do for all recipes.) Sugar was rationed during WWII, and recipes post war enhanced sugar in celebration, even though it wasn’t necessary. The blend of orange flavor and chocolate can’t be beat!

2.5 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Earth Balance sticks or olive oil
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (use soy for pareve)
6 ounces choclate chips (dairy or pareve)

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 T orange juice, 1/2 t orange rind

Heat oven to 350. Mis together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Cream sugar, shortening (or olive oil), and vanilla. Beat in eggs and milk alternately with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into greased 15x10x1 pan. Bake for 30 minutes, but be VERY CAREFUL not to over bake. While hot spread with orange glaze. Cover and let stand 24 hours before cutting.

Pita (Pareve)

 These are incredibly easy to make. I usually make baby pitas and serve with Red Pepper Walnut Spread.

500 g bread flour (1 lb, 2 oz or 3.5 Cups)
1/3 ounce dry active yeast (1 T)
1.5 cups tepid water
1 T sugar
1/2 T salt
2 T olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. The dough will be a little sticky. Place dough in a bowl, sprinkle with additional olive oil and cover. Let rise until double (takes about an an hour, about 30 minutes with the proof feature of the oven) Preheat oven to 500.  Roll pita into walnut size balls. Let rest 10 minutes. Place on baking pans (spray lightly with cooking spray, or use non stick foil). Flatten balls to 1/4 inch. Bake 5 minutes or until just starting to turn golden on edges. Great warm, but can be frozen after cooling.

Banana Bread (Pareve)

The key to super moist great banana bread is to throw your peeled over ripe bananas in the freezer as the come until you have enough for a batch of bread.  Or do as I do, buy two big bunches of bananas, wait a few days until they are very ripe (skins will be turning black) peel and place all in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When ready to bake, takes your frozen bananas out of the freezer and thaw (bananas will produce a syrupy liquid that makes this bread an outstanding success.)

Mix together in a large bowl:
1.5 Cup all purpose flour
1.5 Cup whole wheat flour
2 t baking soda
1 t table salt
1 cup natural sugar

1 Cup Olive Oil
4 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
4 Cups thawed bananas with liquid

Mix thoroughly and add optionally any or all of the following:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins or craisins
1 cup chocolate chips (pareve to keep bread as such, otherwise, dairy chocolate will change the bread to dairy (we are all SO sad that Trader Joe’s wonderful chips became dairy, but Illinois Nut and Candy DOES carry pareve chips. Yay!)

Top before baking:
Sprinkle of turbino sugar.


Heat oven to 325.

This recipe is enough for two large loaves, 5 medium, or 7 small. Fill pans 3/4 full.

Spray loaf pans with oil, or use disposable tins or paper loaf pans. (A source for well priced tin or paper loaf pans and other baking supplies.)

Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes until top middle of loaves are firm to touch. Do not over bake.

Cool before removing from loaf pans or wrap in paper or tin pans and freeze if desired.