Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Category: Bread (page 1 of 3)

Spelt Focaccia with Rosemary

This focaccia is light and delicately flavored with olive oil and rosemary.  Spelt flour gives it a softly sweet, earthy flavor and packs in more nutritional value than conventional flour.  It is perfect alongside a bowl of  soup or a salad, as a snack, or as a base for countless toppings of vegetables, meat, and cheese.

Focaccia, an oven-baked Italian flatbread, is similar to pizza dough.  It is like a blank slate on which you can add a variety of toppings.  In this recipe, the focaccia is simply topped with olive oil, coarse sea salt, and fresh rosemary.  I based my recipe on one by Paul Kahan, which I found on the Food & Wine website.  His recipe calls for topping the focaccia with kale, squash, and pecorino cheese, which sounds absolutely delicious.  However, the other day, I was just looking for a simple, flavorful bread to use as a side with our dinner of leftover soups, so I left off the vegetable toppings in this case, since we already had a lot of vegetables in the soups, and I wanted just bread.

spelt focacciaThis bread is lovely.  It is easy to make.  Maybe a little time-consuming, yes, because it has to rise twice.  But the actual hands-on time is not much.  It’s good to make on a day when you will be home for about three hours, but the good part is you can do lots of things around the house while the dough is rising and baking.

Spelt flour comes from an ancient whole grain, and though it does contain gluten, its gluten is more fragile and water soluble, so it is easier to digest than conventional wheat flours.  Spelt also has more iron, fiber, and B vitamins than conventional flours.  I am not about to give up wheat flours, but it is really nice to add some variety to our diet, and I really like the slightly nutty, slightly earthy taste of spelt flour.

spelt focacciaThe spelt flour does not need to be kneaded as much as conventional wheat flour, and tends to create a stickier dough.  This surprised me a bit the first time I worked with it.  But don’t worry, even if it feels sticky when you are forming the dough on the baking sheet, it bakes beautifully.  And if your dough gets too sticky to work with, you can add a bit of all-purpose flour as well.  I love the flexibility of bread-making, because you can always add a bit of flour or a bit of water or olive oil, and things usually work out!  I also love the flexibility of focaccia, and I expect I will be making it again soon, either with spelt flour, conventional flour, or a combination, and maybe next time topped with some vegetables.

My fingers are soft from the olive oil and they smell wonderful, like rosemary.  As I was making this spelt focaccia with rosemary, I was once again struck by the primal comfort I feel when working with dough.  There must be something deep within my genetic makeup that calls me to the kitchen to bake.  It is deeply rewarding and comforting to me.  And everyone in my family enjoyed this bread–that is a bonus!

The other day, I came across a quote that struck a chord with me.  I was waiting for our car to be repaired, reading an online article on bonappetit.com.   The article is written by Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward, known for the great blog, Dinner: A Love Story.  If you are ever tired, discouraged, or frustrated about making dinner for others, remember this quote from that article: “Don’t ever let someone convince you that cooking a meal for your kids–or anyone else for that matter–is one more thing to check off the to-do list.  Every time you feed someone, you’re offering love, security, comfort, therapy, and memories shrouded in happiness and warmth.  It’s no small thing.”

I just love that quote, and I agree wholeheartedly with it.  We all have our unique ways of cooking and putting meals on the table, and it’s not always easy, but never forget how important it is.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  It’s March! It came in like a lion, but hopefully spring will be here soon!spelt focaccia doughspelt focacciaNow it’s time to head over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Angie and Laura @ Feast Wisely.

Spelt Focaccia with Rosemary

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: about 3 hours total, about 15 minutes of hands-on time
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of spelt flour
  • 1 envelope of dry active yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling at baking time
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, yeast, warm (make sure your water is luke-warm and not hot) water, honey, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, not more than a minute.  If the dough is too sticky, you can add some more spelt flour or a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour to make it easier to work with.

Clean out the mixing bowl or get another one and oil it lightly with olive oil.  Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour, or until it about doubles in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Punch the dough down and then transfer it to the baking sheet.  Gently press it into a 12 x 8 inch oval shape.  If it is too sticky, put some flour on your hands to make it easier to shape the dough.  Then brush about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil over the dough.  Press small indentations all over the dough with your finger and then sprinkle evenly with the coarse sea salt and rosemary.  Let the dough rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free place for about 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the focaccia for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Enjoy as a side for a bowl of soup or a salad, or as a snack!

This recipe is adapted from Paul Kahan’s recipe on the Food & Wine website.

Pumpkin Apple Bread

Pumpkin puree and finely chopped apple slices keep this bread naturally moist, while cinnamon and cloves give it that classic, comforting taste and aroma.  What better way to savor fall than to bake with apple and pumpkin?  And it is a bonus to have a bread that is sweet enough to be considered a treat, yet wholesome enough to be considered a hearty, healthy snack.  The recipe makes two loaves, so keep one loaf and give the other away, or keep both loaves!

pumpkin apple breadI adapted this recipe from one I found in my Hollyhocks & Radishes cookbook by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson. Since I did not have quite as much pumpkin puree as the recipe called for, I added some chopped apple slices to make up the difference, and the combination is delicious.  It is a very mild bread, and my husband, who is not a huge fan of a strong pumpkin flavor, prefers this adaptation.  My kids love it too, as do some of their friends (I often pack extra in their lunches so they can share).pumpkin apple breadThis past few days the weather has really turned, and it has been chilly and breezy outside.  It is dark earlier in the evenings, and dark when I take the kids to school in the mornings.  Suddenly the inside of the home becomes more appealing, and we spend more time inside.  We crave cozy things like baking bread, hot tea and blankets, soft lamps and candles.  I get to wear my favorite rain boots out and about, and tromp around in the woods taking pictures of the colorful leaves before they fall, and as they fall.

pumpkin apple breadI was leafing through a cookbook the other day and saw a recipe for ice pops.  When I saw it, I realized how far away summer seems now! Instead of dreaming up fun flavor combinations for homemade ice pops, after a busy day spent going all kinds of different directions, nowadays we are sitting down in the evenings with a cup of hot tea.  Even my kids are getting into drinking herbal tea, and I love using that as an excuse to drink a cup with them and try to find out what’s going on in their lives, though I don’t think I ever really find out as much as I’d like to.  This pumpkin apple bread goes perfectly with tea, by the way.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Stay warm and cozy! I am sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Maggie @ Spoon in a Saucepan.pumpkin apple breadpumpkin apple breadred maple tree

Pumpkin Apple Bread

  • Servings: two loaves
  • Time: about 20 minutes of prep time and 1 hour of baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 and 2/3 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (if you prefer to use all pumpkin and no apple, just use 2 cups of pumpkin puree)
  • 1/2 cup of apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 3 and 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then add them to the butter/sugar mixture.  Add the pumpkin, chopped apple, and water.  Stir well until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves.  Stir with a fork until well combined.  Stir the dry ingredients into the bowl with the pumpkin mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Fold in the nuts, if you are using them.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pans, distributing the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then gently turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from one found in Hollyhocks & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.

Zucchini Banana Bread

This zucchini banana bread is moist and delicious. Extra-virgin olive oil and Greek yogurt give it extra richness, and with both a fruit and a vegetable in there, you can feel good about eating it! Perfect as a snack or part of breakfast, this bread is satisfying without being heavy, and it’s full of cinnamon and vanilla flavor.  Your kitchen will smell so comforting and good while it is baking!

DSC_0028 (1)When I am trying to figure out what to make for myself and my family, often necessity is my best guide.  Because I needed to use a zucchini, and because my husband and I accidentally both bought bananas on the same day, I made this great bread that I will definitely make again! Though I have made zucchini bread and banana bread separately many times, those two ingredients are a great combination.  I am especially pleased with this recipe, because the moistness seems just right.  I have had zucchini breads that are too dry or too oily, but this one tastes very well-balanced.  The recipe is a combination of lots of different recipes I have used over the years, and it is definitely a keeper.

zucchini and banana in sunThis is the time of year when zucchini starts to roll in around here, and I feel like it is one of the vegetables most frequently given away.  It seems like someone is always passing out zucchini, and I am happy to use it!  With a break in the heat wave, I finally felt like turning on my oven to bake. This bread makes a great gift, and it freezes really well too.

I woke up this morning to the sound of soft rain and distant thunder.  It has been a long time since we have had rain in the morning, it seems.  I am sure the parched earth is enjoying it.  It definitely puts one in a more contemplative state of mind.  Our daughter is away at cross country camp for a few days, and though I know she is having lots of fun, I miss her.  Our son is getting lots of attention though. 🙂 I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, whether in the rain or the sunshine! Though I’m a bit late to Fiesta Friday, I am joining the great bloggers there, co-hosted this week by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love.zucchini banana bread on tray 1

Zucchini Banana Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Time: about one hour
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup of grated zucchini
  • 1 cup of mashed banana (about 2 bananas)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large mixing bowl, first stir the eggs vigorously with a fork.  Then add the sugars, Greek yogurt, olive oil, and vanilla.  Stir again (with a fork or whisk) to thoroughly combine.  Hold the cup with the grated zucchini over the sink and gently squeeze the excess water out of the zucchini.  Add the grated zucchini and mashed banana to the egg mixture and stir with a spoon to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Then pour the batter into the two prepared loaf pans, distributing as evenly as possible.

Bake in your 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with a couple crumbs attached–just not with wet batter).  Let the bread cool before removing from the pans. Enjoy!

 

Citrus Nut Bread

Orange zest and a half cup of lemonade infuse this bread with a subtle zing, balanced by the creamy flavors of walnuts, pecans, and milk.  Moist and subtly sweet, this citrus nut bread is a tasty snack, with nutritional benefits from the nuts and orange zest.  Savor a slice with a cup of coffee or tea, as an after-school snack, or even just grab a piece on the go.  Some may like to spread cream cheese or jam on a slice; I like it just as it is.  There is something joyful and energizing about citrus flavors.  As we wait for seasonal fruits to become ripe here, citrus can do wonders to tide us over.  Though it takes almost an hour to bake, it takes just a few minutes to zest some orange peel and mix up the batter.

DSC_1155This recipe is adapted from a favorite orange walnut bread recipe in one of the many cookbooks I have collected from various churches over the years.  Once I got started making the bread, I realized I didn’t have the orange juice the recipe called for.  I also didn’t have enough walnuts.  My husband suggested I use lemonade instead of the orange juice, and I used a combination of walnuts and pecans.  The bread turned out great! I actually like it better than the traditional orange walnut bread.  The lemonade gives it a sunny flavor and such a pretty, delicate color.

citrus nut bread on bench 2The making of this bread helped soothe my nerves.  I made it a day or so before my daughter was to leave on her overnight class trip to Chicago.  I know she loves this bread, and making it for her made me feel like I was giving her an extra hug before she waved goodbye and hopped on the bus.  It is true that food can express love in ways that words sometimes cannot. I look forward to hearing all about her trip when she gets back!

citrus nut bread on porchMeanwhile, spring marches on with warm days and cold days, bright sun, rain, and wind.  The key is to dress in layers, since it changes so quickly!  The scene around us is becoming more colorful by the day.  After the browns and grays of winter, it feels good to see such bright colors.  Our cherry trees are starting to blossom! Bright yellow dandelions decorate bright green grass.  I hope you are all having a great week!cherry blossomscherry blossoms against blue sky

Citrus Nut Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: about 15 minutes prep time, plus about an hour for baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • 1 tablespoons of orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of a combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, lemonade, butter, egg, and orange zest.  Add those ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir gently until just incorporated and a batter forms.  Stir in the chopped nuts.  Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the top cracks just a little.  Test to see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When the bread is done, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy!

Date and Walnut Loaf

This sweet, moist bread tastes great with a cup of coffee or tea.  With chopped dates and walnuts, lemon zest, and black tea as ingredients,  it has a uniquely rich flavor. It’s the kind of sweet bread that makes me want to slow down, sit in a sunny spot, and and enjoy a few moments of peace.  Dates are so old-fashioned, yet so in style again, as we are looking to get away from processed sweeteners and get back to more natural sweeteners.  Plus, they are loaded with nutrients, such as potassium and iron.  Walnuts have their own nutritional benefits too, so this bread is both rich in flavor and dense in nutrients.

DSC_0534-001Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be a fitting day to share this recipe, since I found it in one of my latest cookbook obsessions–“The Irish Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Everyday Cooking from the Emerald Isle”, published by Love Food.  This type of bread is not solely Irish (it seems to have been popular in England and Scotland as well), but in any case, the recipe I share below is from an Irish cookbook.  I love the part where the recipe calls for soaking the dates and lemon zest in tea, and then adding that mixture to the batter.  The tea makes the bread such a pretty color, and gives a subtle flavor that helps balance the sweetness.

date bread in handsWe are lucky to have such bright, breezy St. Patrick’s Day this year.  I can remember some St. Patrick’s Day snowstorms, so I am happy to see the bright sunlight today!  For some reason, this bread really touched me this week.  My husband, daughter, and I loved it, (my son, not so much….) and for some reason it’s the kind of bread that made us slow down when we ate it.  It’s meant for a snack or a tea/coffee break, and it is the kind of thing that encourages contemplation and conversation, as least for me.  walnuts dates lemonMaybe because it feels old-fashioned and has the essence of a slower-paced time.  Maybe because it’s so richly flavored that we had to savor it slowly.  Or maybe it’s just that it’s been sunny the past few days, and the novelty of being in the sun has lulled us into a state of contentment.  In any case, this bread is sweet. It also tastes just as good the next day (if it lasts that long).  I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and a great weekend! Now it’s time to join the party at Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie On Board.date bread with teapot 1crocus and rockdate bread in hand on porchdate bread in sun 2date bread loafdate bread on bench18

Date and Walnut Loaf

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: about 20 minutes of prep time, about 35 minutes for baking
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Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup of hot tea
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  •  1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts, chopped
  • walnut halves to decorate

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 8 and 1/2  X  4 and 1/2  X  2 and 1/2-inch loaf pan, and then line it with parchment paper.

Place the chopped dates, baking soda, and lemon zest in a bowl, and pour in the hot tea.  Let soak for 10 minutes, until softened.

In the meantime, cream the butter and sugar together until  the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

When the dates are done soaking, add that mixture to the butter mixture and stir well to combine.  Add the flour mixture, and fold in, gently combining.  Fold in the chopped walnuts and gently combine again.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Smooth the surface and place the walnut halves on top to decorate.

Bake in your 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden brown, and firm. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice it and enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from The Irish Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Everyday Cooking from the Emerald Isle

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