Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mike’s Spent Grain Bread

 It’s time for the revealing of this week’s bread! First, I’d like to introduce you to Mike’s beer:

Umm, Laura, what does Mike’s beer have anything to do with bread and what you’re making us this week???

Ah yes, I will explain! This is a winter jubiale that is just about ready to bottle. Exciting stuff! Mike bought a beer making kit from F. H. Steinbart Co. last summer when we were in Portland for part of our honeymoon. He’d been inspired by my brother, who is a die-hard beer fan and master of beer making. We’ve made plenty of beer over the course of last year and have drunk even more. Making beer involves grains. At a certain point they are pulled out and discarded once the aromas and flavors of the grains have been imparted into the beer. After making beer with Mike a couple of times, I started to wonder if there was anything one could do with all this left over grain besides composting it, or feeding it to cows and chickens. Well, there is! It can be used in bread and this week I’m doing exactly that.

I tried out a loaf last week and it came out really delicious with big hearty grains dotted throughout the loaf. It was earthy and so flavorful and I’m stoked to be making this for you this week.

I also came across a recipe for spent grain burgers. Hmm, a little something to put between spent grain bread, or would that be overkill?? Oh, and a weird fact for the day: apparently spent grains are an ideal medium for growing mushrooms! Who knew?!

In other news, do you remember me mentioning that I left my mother some sourdough starter while visiting California a few weeks ago? Well, she finally pulled it out of the fridge this week and I have been receiving nothing but ridiculously comical emails from her since. I’m not sure if she actually wanted to make my ‘far more complicated than your average loaf of bread’ recipe, or if she perhaps felt obligated to try it, but alas, she did. There were a whole lot of questions, comments and concerns. It started with an email titled, “Concerned,” which had about a half dozen questions that needed responding to. I was starting to regret the whole thing, but then things became quite hilarious. I received an itinerary for the day, and how the bread fit into her schedule… “Then I have to strap the baby to a car seat and take him to Sam’s Club with me. I hope it’s not more than 80 degrees out there, he might get dehydrated … oh, the worries.” Eventually, the ‘baby’ was making her lose sleep at night. The second to the last one I got said, “Taking a break from all this stress. The baby is having a nap in a cozy little basket. Looks alive and well.”

And my absolute favorite, her latest email, titled, “SUCCESS!!!” states, “The bread tastes good, looks good, and by golly, it does you good. Nice and chewy, big holes, crust nice but not quite as thick as yours was. I was trying not to use too much flour while shaping it. I may just try this again…”

Here is ‘Mom’s Bread’

She ends the email, “I’m not just a pretty face… And talk about the egg teaching the chicken.” My mother cracks me up. Love you mom! Happy Bread baking!

And to you guys, happy bread EATING!


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Tomato Basil Bread

oh man am I excited for this weeks bread! I’ve kinda been dreaming about it all summer long actually. But in June the prices of tomatoes are like $5 a pound at the farmers market and so I waited and waited through June, July, August….it’s been a looooonnngg wait for this recipe. The past few weeks when I’ve shopped at the farmers market I kept seeing tomato prices falling and falling and I kept thinking to myself, “come on Laura, get on this, you have a new recipe to be writing!” And alas, the recipe has finally been written, tried, the bread tasted, devoured, I’d go as far as to say that it was demolished. Yes my friends, I present you two of my favorite summer things.

Exhibit A, the tomato, or rather, a mountain of tomatoes….

Exhibit B, basil, by the bag

Exhibit C, my new recipe!

I substituted some of the water with squished fresh, organic tomatoes, added some chopped basil and voila, tomato basil bread. I love the orange hue that is created by the tomatoes. I definitely didn’t put  in enough tomatoes with my trial batch, but that will be altered for all of you lovely folks. Somehow the idea of this recipe appeared to me on a food blog years ago and somehow it stuck hard in the deepest crevice of my brain and just would not leave no matter how many years went by. Funny how the brain works…I can barely remember what I ate for dinner last night yet this one memory of this one recipe on this one blog oh so many years ago is still with me. Love it. I’m glad to have finally tried it out and I can’t wait for you to try it too.

I wish I had noticed which stands I bought my ingredients from, my bad. Farmers Market at the People’s Co-op rocks, y’all. If you don’t shop there yet I highly recommend it!

I’ve also got plans for next weeks bread, which I’m also super excited and geeked out by but I’m not going to share it with you yet. Why you ask? Because I’m mean and I want to keep the suspense fierce!

In other news, I have officially been dubbed the “bread lady”, my neighbors signed up for a new subscription. They have a couple of daughters and one of them designed this lovely envelope my payment came in. LOVE IT!!! Thanks!

Happy bread eating….


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Mushroom and Zucchini Bread Galettes

This is my first post with a recipe for you all. While visiting in southern California Mike watched TV!!!! That NEVER happens at our place. For us, it’s one of those things we do in a hotel room, on vacation, after a long day of exploring a new city; you get back to your hotel room, your feet aching from so much walking, your belly full of tasty restaurant food and alcoholic beverages and you just collapse. Usually this type of television watching includes really bad comedy sitcoms, reality TV or old movies. On this trip, at my parents’ home in Orange County, it involved a food show. Jacque Pepin’s, ‘Essential Pepin’ to be exact, with his French accent and all his butter soaked cooking. I watched one episode and everything he made seemed to involve at least 1 stick of butter. Well, except this recipe, which I missed watching!!

Mike kept going on about some galettes he wanted to make and I really had no clue exactly what they were, even after his description. I’m kinda a bossy stubborn “I want to do it my way” type of cook in the kitchen and sometimes I just have to let go and say, “Mike, whatever you want to make, that sounds great, you should make them and I’ll gladly eat them.” Usually the dialogue is more, “Mike, I think the onions are on too high and they’re going to burn. Oh don’t it like that, do it like this!” and thus ‘take over’ the kitchen and his cooking when really I should just be sitting back with a glass of wine, propping my feet on something soft and saying to myself, “my husband is cooking, sit back and enjoy this.” And it’s not even that my husband ‘doesn’t cook’, he does, and he’s capable and willing, it’s more me who is not willing to give reins to someone else in ‘my’ kitchen. Gosh, I sound horrible!!

Anyhow, I’m getting better at this, and it helps to not even be around when said lunch by husband is being prepared, because then I really can’t butt in. Today yesterday Mike made Pepin’s Zucchini and Mushroom Galettes. Why am I posting this on my bread blog you ask? Why, the recipe involves old bread! Wondering what to do with some of your staling on the counter, I can’t eat it fast enough, another loaf will be here any second bread? Make galettes!!!

These came out really really really really good. They are like zucchini fritters except there are pieces of bread that have been soaked in a little water to hydrate them. The zucchini are chopped up fine instead of shredded, though shredding would work well here too. There are savory mushrooms, chives (or in our Mike’s case, onions), parsley and some whipped up eggs to hold them all together and then they are fried, preferably in a hot skillet, until golden brown and delicious. I then butted in and added some grated parmesan and a touch of smoked sea salt I stole from my brother (shhhh, don’t tell!). They were incredible and I highly suggest you get into your kitchen and give them a go, and then come back here and tell me what you think.

Happy eating everyone!

This recipe can be altered for sure. Don’t have mushrooms and zucchini? I bet diced bell peppers, cilantro and corn would be nice. Or maybe peas and carrots? Basil, tomato and eggplant? The possibilities are endless. Use your best judgment, I promise not to butt in!

Serve these with a side salad.


Bread Galettes

2 1/2 ounces stale bread, preferably from a baguette, cut into 1 inch pieces (2 cups)

1/2 cup lukewarm water 1 large mushroom (about 1 1/2 ounces), washed and coarsely chopped

1 piece zucchini (2 ounces), cut into 1/4 inch pieces

(1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 clove garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped (1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Place the bread pieces in a bowl, add the water, and squeeze the bread lightly to saturate it with the water. Add the mushroom, zucchini, onion, chives, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and the eggs, and mix well. (The ingredients should be well combined but not like a purée.) Yield: About 2 cups.

2. Heat the canola oil in one large or two smaller skillets. Using about 1/2 cup of the bread mixture for each of four pancakes, spoon it into the skillet(s), and press down on it with a fork to make pancakes that are about 5 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Cook the pancakes for about 5 minutes over medium to high heat, then flip them over, and cook them on the other side for 5 minutes. Transfer the pancakes (or galettes) to a warm plate, and serve with a side salad.

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Back From SoCal

Hello friends, I have missed you!! I am back from ridiculously hot southern California and am ready to start baking again. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer trip. It was a whirlwind of friends and family and so much driving!!! It was well worth it though. I got to visit old stomping grounds and eat at my most favorite restaurants, including Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos. The restaurant in magical and the food is amazing. Call me biased if you must since I used to work there. I have many fond memories–my husband and I even had our wedding reception there last summer. If you are ever in the Santa Barbara wine country and want somewhere good to eat this is the place to go! You won’t be disappointed. Los Alamos is the smallest of cute quirky towns, there is even a saloon you can go to post dinner for another glass of locally made wine, a shuffle board game, some live music, and even dancing if you so desire. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening!

My brother requested I bake him bread while visiting and so my sourdough baby came with me on the plane. That involved needing to find a teeny tiny container to pack it into since I didn’t want to check in my luggage. Thursday morning I wandered around Fred Meyer looking for a 3 oz container for my yeast baby and struggled to find anything shallow with a wide lid. After much humming and haaaing I settled on a baby food jar. Genius! I have two little kitty cats at home who enjoyed the sweet potato contents and my yeast enjoyed it’s new temporary home and arrived smelling a touch sweeter than normal.

While waiting to board the plane I checked on said yeast baby hiding amongst my toiletries in the required quart size ziplock and got a good laugh from a lady sitting next to me. Oh the things people travel with! I baked off four loaves and took two to some family friends houses. I hope they enjoyed it. I left a little bit of sourdough for my mom to experiment with.  The rest of the yeast returned home with me and so your bread this week will have just a touch of California still in it. Does that sound weird?

We’ve got a few new subscribers starting this week, welcome! So I’d like to do a repeat of my basic country bread which I will occasionally go back to time and again since it’s just so simple and delicious and sometimes you really don’t need anything extra in your bread. My basic loaf is a white bread with just a touch of wheat and gosh it makes amazing toast, sandwiches, whatever you like!

In other news, Edible Portland posted about me on their facebook page which resulted in a Bakester Wait List?!?!? Oh dear….I’m currently on the hunt for somewhere new to bake my bread. I have started to wait list new subscribers because I just can’t keep up with all your bread needs! I apologize for that. If anyone knows a commissary space in Portland that is not too expensive please email me the information. I’d like to take on any subscribers who wants my bread and I need a new space!

See you all soon, I hope you all have a wonderful bread-filled weekend. I’ve missed you!

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Just a reminder that I won’t be delivering bread on Friday Sept. 7 or Monday Sept. 10, so don’t be waiting for me cuz I ain’t coming! See you all next week. Have a great weekend! 🙂

-the bread lady.

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