Recently in Bread Category
In October, when the hot, dry, Santa Ana winds blow here in Los Angeles, I long for cool, crisp fall days, colorful foliage, and farm stands adorned with apple and pumpkin displays—spectacles I came to love during the years I lived in New England. We may not have many chilly days or crimson and gold leafed maples in Southern California, but I can get a taste of Vermont by placing several large pumpkins by our front door and cooking with pumpkin and other winter squash.
While the Santa Anas were gusting last week, I was inspired to create a pumpkin cornbread for my friend Kelly, a California girl who doesn’t crave New England autumnal pleasures but fancies anything made with pumpkin. The first loaf I baked was a little bland, begging for molasses and spices, so I stirred up a spiced molasses butter to spread on big squares of the bread. Delicious, but this triggered the idea to combine all the flavors in one, easy-to-make loaf.
One cold, fall evening a white bean and kale soup was simmering on the stove, and I began to crave a good bread to go along with it. I decided to bake my first gluten-free loaf, using my favorite cornbread recipe as a template. Twenty minutes later, the aroma of homemade bread baking in the oven filled the kitchen, and in 10 minutes more we cut into the warm creation. It was so tender and satisfying; I have been making it ever since.
This whole grain, ever-so-slightly sweet loaf has become an essential item at my table. We enjoy it for breakfast with eggs, or with almond butter, peanut butter, or pure butter. It rounds out dinners featuring soups, stews, chili, and salads. It also makes a great snack, with or without almond butter or peanut butter, accompanied by crisp apple wedges.
Doesn’t this photo send you straight to the kitchen? It's from my latest book, Gluten-Free Baking
. If you are missing artisanal style breads, try your hand at this whole-grain soda bread. Soda breads translate well to gluten-free baking, and are easy to make. No yeast or kneading or rising time, just cut in some butter and then mix, shape and bake.
The cold, windy weekend weather drove me into the kitchen to bake something comforting. In less than 15 minutes I had mixed together a cornbread batter, and in 10 more minutes enticing aromas accompanied the welcome heat radiating from the oven. It was only minutes longer and a golden, crusty loaf was ready to serve with the maple-molasses butter I had whipped together.
The bread is sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with sage leaves. Whole grain cornmeal offers crunch, and buttermilk imparts tenderness. This recipe makes a reliable starting point, but I have fun changing it around. For a healthier version, I replace the butter with light olive oil or vegetable oil, and use whole wheat flour rather than all purpose. Sometimes I season it with rosemary instead of sage, or use honey as an alternative to maple syrup. I have added generous quantities of freshly ground black pepper, and folded in corn kernels.
I’ve been obsessed with these Mexican flatbreads since learning to make them. Corn tortillas are cooked on a griddle until the bottoms are crisp and the cheese melts, flavored with a fragrant pesto, and topped with vibrant vegetables. They are fun to assemble, take only minutes to cook, and are addictive. I first served them, cut into wedges, as an appetizer at a birthday party for one of my gal pals. Since then, Steve and I have enjoyed this friendly finger food for lunch on a hot weekend afternoon, and I’ve whipped them up for quick snacks.