Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

Carrot Soup and Cheddar Scones

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

Adapted from Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup milk

Line a sheet pan with parchment and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.   Mix in the grated cheese and thyme and then stir in the milk to get a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out the scones.  Transfer to the prepared sheet pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and enjoy with a pat of butter and some soup.

{printable recipe}

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Cream Cheese Biscuit

I’ve said that Miss Libby at 2 is a glimpse at what I can probably expect in about 10 years (or sooner!) when puberty starts rearing its head. What with the tears and tantrums and drama, toddler and teen really aren’t that far removed from one another…and boy, if one is a preview of the other, then I’m in for it.

So it’s kind of fitting that I chaperoned Miss Libby’s first date last weekend.  He’s a younger man so his parents were there too.  Neither of the kids seemed to mind though.  Or if they did, they haven’t figured out the eye roll and the embarrassed sulk.  We have to wait a while yet for that.

Actually, I’ve been trying to make this date happen for about the last nine months.  And I may be lobbying for something of an “understanding” between the two families as far as the kids go because these two are too cute together not to be together.  There may not have been any hand holding but that was probably because because both kids were using their hands to eat.  Something about seeing Libby pass pieces of quesadilla across the table to Evan and watching him accept her gift made me very happy.

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Adapted from Baked Bree

BAH Note:  If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then I see no better vehicle than a biscuit.  Adorned simply with butter and jam or used to sandwich a savory middle, this biscuit is your friend.  Oh, and I find it easier to cut the cream cheese and butter into cubes after they come out of the freezer.  Give it a try, you might too.

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Put the dry ingredients, cream cheese, and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks sandy and no big pieces of butter or cream cheese remain.

Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.  Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough just forms.  Transfer the rough dough onto a floured counter and knead it until it all comes together.  Roll or push the dough into a rectangle (the longer the rectangle the thinner the biscuits, the shorter the rectangle the taller the biscuits) and cut into biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to your parchment lined sheet pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

{printable recipe}

Touch of Grace Biscuits

Graceful Biscuits

There’s no graceful way to say this, so I may as well just be blunt…I can be a complete ass sometimes.  And by sometimes I mean when I just react instead of stopping and thinking about how I want to react.  It’s the dark side of living in the moment.  Because in that precise moment, it’s a head spinning, furious fisted meltdown.  I was swallowed whole by  that moment this morning at breakfast.

That’s right.  I had a tantrum over a plate of scrambled eggs.

And here’s the kicker….as soon as I started, I knew I was over reacting.  I knew it and knew that it was easier to just be swept out by the rising tide of my anger than it was to dig my heels into the shifting sand and ground myself to a halt.  And while I see progress in the fact that I’m not sitting here stewing mad hours later, listening to the looping rant in my head about “why can’t you just listen to what I say?”, this place of saying I was wrong is uncomfortable.

Wasn’t I just talking about being a student of life and the continuing education that has come courtesy of the Tater Tot?   What is the saying about pride coming before the fall?  Yeah, the Universe has a way of keeping us humble and in check.  So maybe I should expand this particular life lesson plan to include being mindful enough in that moment to consciously choose how to react.

Since the Universe also has an uncanny knack for giving us repeat opportunities to try and get things right, I have a hunch this won’t be the last time I get quizzed on this particular life lesson.  I can only hope that my scores improve so that I get to move on to the next chapter in the lesson plan.

And what exactly does this have to do with a pan of biscuits?  Well I’ll tell ‘ya.  Once upon a time, I tried to make Touch of Grace Biscuits.  There were  multiple attempts.   And they all failed to make a passing grade.  Really, click that link and take a look at the best I could do.  That’s no biscuit.

But thanks to putting my pride aside and paying attention to the lesson as the Universe presented it to me, I was able to create pans of graceful biscuits.  So while I still have a ways to go with some of life’s lessons, I’m going to say that I’ve gotten a passing grade on this one.

Thank you Shauna Server for bringing me face to face with perfectly graceful biscuits.  I am in your debt.  Not only did you get the right recipe in my hands but your photos gave me great visual cues to how my biscuit dough should look.

Touch of Grace Biscuits

Adapted from BakeWise

BAH Note:  I don’t typically say you need to use a specific brand of anything…unless it really makes a difference.  And in this case, I think it does.  So look in your grocery store for White Lilly self rising flour.  Once you get to know these sinfully graceful biscuits I don’t think that bag of flour will go unused in your pantry.

Oh, and if you were inclined to brush a tablespoon or so of melted butter on the tops of the biscuits when they come out of the oven, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad choice.

  • 2 cups self rising flour, preferably White Lily (see the note above)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening (yup, shortening)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (don’t substitute any self rising flour here)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the heavy cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup and set aside.

Place the all purpose flour in a pie plate or dish and set aside.

Whisk together the self rising flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to work the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand with no large clumps.

Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  The dough should resemble wet cottage cheese.  To tell if you have the right consistency, use an ice cream scoop and scoop out some dough into your plate of all purpose flour.  It should hold its shape.  If not, return the test scoop to the mixing bowl and add self rising flour one tablespoon at a time and gently stir it in.

As soon as your dough holds its shape, place a few scoops of it in the all purpose flour.  Working with one scoop of dough at a time, pick it up, dust it with flour from your plate, and gently toss the dough from hand to hand to form your biscuit.  Place the formed biscuit in your prepared pan and repeat the process with the remaining dough.  Fit your biscuits as close together as you can…they need to be snug up against each other to get a really good rise.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes  or until the tops are light golden brown.  Allow the biscuits to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning them out and serving.

{printable recipe}

Big Ass Biscuits

Big Ass Biscuits

Remember all those times you were asked to picture your life in x number of years?  Did your idea of what that life was include the nitty gritty details?  Like that you would struggle with {fill in the blank with your issue of choice} or that you would find yourself {name your situation}?  Probably not.  At least I didn’t.  Because if I had then maybe I would have a handle on my battle with time management by now.

I haven’t found my solution yet.  I maintain a calendar; I write myself notes; I set reminders on my smart(er than I am) phone.  And still deadlines come and go.  I’ve become more accepting of the idea that whatever “it” is will get done eventually.  There’s only but so much time in a day.  Perhaps acknowledging that is the solution in and of itself.  I dunno.

I do know that I now add appointments to my calendar to do things like wash Miss Libby’s dirty clothes and to respond to emails.  Funny, I just bought Lib’s spring/summer wardrobe and I swear that she could probably go about three weeks before she ran out of things to wear.  Coincidence?  I wonder.

One thing I have been able to do is make these Big Ass Biscuits.  And shove them in my mouth.  On more than one occasion. If the day ever comes when I have to put an appointment on the calendar to throw together some butter, flour, and cheese and bake until golden brown and delicious, then I will be a lost cause.

Until then, I guess there’s hope for me yet.

Big Ass Biscuits

Adapted from Cook’s Country

BAH Note:  I call these Big Ass Biscuits because they are sizeable.  But also because consumption of them on a regular basis will contribute to a personal expansion of sizeable proportions.  One way I try and keep things from getting out of control is to only make a half batch of biscuits.  If  you have more self control than I do, or have other people around to take one for the team, I would double the quantities listed below to make a dozen biscuits.  PS, the cheese is totally optional, but why wouldn’t you?

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (I’ve used both parmesan and cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 475 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

Combine the cold buttermilk and cooled butter in a measuring cup or small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  The cold buttermilk will cause the melted butter to clump up and thicken a bit.  If that does not happen, set your cup or bowl in the fridge for a few moments.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined being careful not to overmix.  Use an ice cream disher to portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave a good bit of room between them because they are going to spread.

Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.

{printable recipe}

Advantium Rolls

not my actual roll...for illustrative purposes only.

You may recall that I spent Christmas 2010 with Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Bread Bible recipes for dutch baby and dinner rolls.  Both recipes were so successful and made the day feel like a holiday should that I decided that Rose should be part of Christmas 2011.  Specifically, I wanted to make a batch of cloverleaf dinner rolls so that I could give the Proof setting on the Advantium a whirl.

I was hoping for a Christmas miracle to be honest.  My luck with getting bread dough to rise is spotty.  I follow directions, I use water that is neither too hot nor too cold, I use high quality yeast, and I try my best to surrender my fears to the bread gods.  Maybe our house is a bit on the chilly side.  Or maybe I have evil spirits in the air taking all the mojo out of the yeast.  Or maybe I just needed the Advantium to banish those evil spirits and unleash my bread baking super power.

The first rise of the dough was glorious.  When I took it out of the Advantium, it had grown as though any other outcome was simply inconceivable.  I deflated the dough, gave it a turn or two, and set it back in the Advantium on Proof for the second rise expecting that my good fortune with the first rise must have been a fluke.

Not so.  The second rise was as perfectly executed as the first.  I then portioned the dough, rolled each portion into balls, and set three dough balls into each cup of a muffin tin.  While the big oven heated, the dough went back into the Advantium for the final rise.

Once the dough had achieved about 3/4 of the final rise, my impatience got the best of me.  I brushed melted butter on the top of the rolls, gave them a generous dusting of kosher salt, and set them in the oven to fulfill their cloverleaf destiny.  If I had a been just a bit more patient on the final rise, my rolls would have achieved maximum lift when they hit the intense heat of the oven.  But I wasn’t.  And they didn’t.  And in spite of that, they still emerged golden brown and I eagerly pulled one apart to enjoy its salted, buttery deliciousness.

Is there anything better than bread, still warm from the oven?  The correct answer is no.

The rolls that we didn’t eat with Christmas dinner were carefully wrapped in plastic and stashed in the freezer.  I think they lasted all of two weeks before we had picked the last one off.  Which means that I am long overdue to set a bowl of flour, yeast, and water in my Advantium and harness the super power of the Proof setting.

Want the recipe that I used?  Click here to jump back in time.  The only thing I did differently this year, besides proofing the dough in the Advantium, was letting the starter develop in the refrigerator overnight.  Yes, it added even more time to an already lengthy recipe but it wasn’t like I was doing any more work.

Disclaimer:  As part of my partnership with GE, I received an Advantium oven.  All opinions posted about my Advantium experience are my own.

Food Memories – Grandmother’s Dinner Rolls

I met Jen Schall last year at Big Summer Potluck.  And then we both found ourselves attending the IFBC conference a month or so later.  One thing led to another and before I knew it we were tweeting back and forth and leaving comments on each other’s blogs.  Let me tell you something about Jen, she creates amazing things in the kitchen. Go.  Look.  Here’s the link.  Her talent isn’t limited to the sweets and savories.  That’s only half the story.  Her pictures are sublime.  Knowing that she’s only about 90 minutes away from B’more, I’m tempted to show up on her doorstep one day and request a private tutorial in how she sets up these shots.

I had asked Jen after IFBC if she had a recipe that I could include in my Food Memories Project.  She said she thought she did and then life got busy in the way it often does.  Later we were chatting about my challenges making bread and she mentioned that she had this great dinner roll recipe that she was going to post in her bread baking series.  So imagine my surprise when I read her post about her grandmother’s dinner rolls.  It was as though I had hit the trifecta….grandmother story (and I’m a big sucker for those), food memory, and a flawless roll all in one.

Thanks to Jen and her generosity, I now have perfect dinner rolls in my freezer and a food memory to share with you.

The following appeared on My Kitchen Addiction on 3 May 2011.

Light and Soft Dinner Rolls

If you ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that these are the ultimate dinner rolls. But, I can’t really take credit for them.

These are my grandmother’s famous rolls…  Whenever we would have get togethers with the whole family, she would make a big batch of these rolls. They were a holiday staple for years. My brother and cousins would fight over them, and I’m pretty sure that there were times where they each had more than 10 rolls in one meal. They really are that good.

My grandmother was a great cook and baker. Though she passed away a few years ago, I often think of her when I am in my kitchen. I am fortunate enough to have many of her recipes, and though I can’t prepare them quite the way she did, they always remind me of her.

Until recently, the recipe for her rolls was one of the few recipes that I didn’t have. In December, my mom and I were putting together a book of family recipes for my brother and his new wife.  When we asked around for recipes, one of my cousins happened to have the recipe for the rolls. We put it in the book (especially since my brother was one of the biggest fans of the rolls), and I set out to learn to make them myself.

Perhaps my grandmother is looking down on me, because there’s just something about these rolls that always amazes me.  They really are quite simple to make, and they always turn out beautifully.  They are the lightest, softest dinner rolls I have ever made. They’re also pretty adaptable. I have swapped out the all purpose flour for whole wheat, added flax, used oil in place of the butter, and even made them with herbs and cheese. The rolls also make fantastic buns for hot dogs and hamburgers… You’ll want to keep the recipe on hand this summer!

Light and Soft Dinner Rolls
(Makes 18 dinner rolls or 12 sandwich rolls)

Adapted from Jen Schall

BAH Note: I’ve made these as cloverleaf rolls with success.  After the second rise, portion the dough into 18 rolls. Divide each roll into three equal pieces and roll them into three small balls.  Place the group of three dough balls in the buttered cavity of a muffin tin so that it looks like a pyramid.  Brush the tops with melted butter,  cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise just until it reaches the top of the muffin tin.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  I’ve also frozen the cooked rolls and let them thaw at room temperature or warmed them in a 350 degree oven.

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    (or cut it into small chunks and microwave for about 15 seconds)
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Begin by combining the milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together until the yeast and sugar are mostly dissolved.

Add the butter and egg.  Stir to incorporate and break up the egg.  Add 1 cup of flour and beat vigorously to fully incorporate the flour and any lumps of butter that may have been remaining.

Gradually, add the remaining flour, stirring until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with your hands, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, but still light and soft.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 1 1/2 hours).  Punch the dough down, reshape into a ball, and let rise a second time until the dough has doubled in volume again (an additional hour).

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Shape the rolls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. Let the rolls rise while the oven preheats, until they are a bit puffy.  If desired, brush the tops of the rolls with some egg wash (to make them shiny) and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I usually do this for the hot dog and hamburger buns).  Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes, until the rolls are golden on top.

Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack. The rolls are best served warm, but they will keep for a few days in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic.

{printable recipe}

bake! boule

You might recall I’ve been trying to overcome my fear of yeast.  There have been some successes, some failures, and some that were too close to call either way.  So when I got my copy of Nick Malgieri’s bake! and saw that his bread recipes seemed far more accessible to my yeast averse self, I wanted to start baking immediately.  Mother Nature came through town and deposited a blanket of snow shortly thereafter which resulted in an unexpected weekday afternoon trying to coax magic out of some flour, yeast, and water.

I can not tell a lie.  I struggled with this method.  And by struggle I mean that I threw an entire batch of dough away because I was convinced that I had somehow manged to do it wrong.  The instructions and photos conveyed the notion that the dough would fully incorporate all of the flour with the deft use of a rubber spatula.  Not the first time I tried it.  And not the second either.  Both times I used half the flour to make a paste.  Both times I added half of the remaining flour and began folding.   Both times I struggled to get the first half of the remaining flour incorporated, let alone the second half.  Seeing how I got the same results both times, I decided to continue on with my second attempt and see where it got me.

Where it got me was up to my wrists in dough.  Because even my sturdiest rubber spatula could not get the upper hand.  So I chucked it aside and used my hands to gently fold the flour into the dough.  I was able to get all but about 1/4 cup incorporated.  There was a rise, some folding, more rising, and more folding all while I said a little prayer that all this work would result in something bread like coming out of my oven in a few hours.

It wasn’t until the dough had sat for an hour’s rise that my fears started to dissipate.  When I uncovered the bowl, I beheld the sight of doubled dough.  After some shaping and resting, the boules were slashed and slid into the oven.  Thirty minutes later, I pulled out the lovely loaf you see above.

I still can’t say whether my procedure was wrong or if my expectations were incorrect.  Oddly enough, I had a similar struggle with dry dough when I made Nick’s Quick Brioche.  But based on what he said at our bake! get together, his recipes are tested before they go to print.  So until I find reason otherwise, I have to say the problem lies somewhere in my kitchen.


Flashback Friday – +2

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 10/13/08 at Exit 51.


Despite my recent foray into decluttering my recipe files at home, I can’t help myself when it comes to printing new recipes to try.  Until someone comes up with a rehab program for this affliction, I’m just going to have to do my best to stay on top of it.  This may be easier said than done but I’m going to give it a shot.  And I’m going to start by trying these two new recipes that I stumbled across online.

The first is the infamous No Knead Bread, which Mr. Bittman has recently reworked to take less time and to be whole grain friendly.  Seeing as how I have almost five pounds of whole wheat flour taking up space at home, this is a no brainer addition to my to do list.

The second is a variation on roasted squash from the Washington Post’s Recipe Finder.  Since I don’t want SFC to get bored seeing plain roasted veg on his plate, this looks like a good place to start.

And I’m thinking that these two would go great together with something as simple as some hearty mushroom soup, salad, a quick frittata, roasted chicken, or Mr. Bittman’s Roasted Salmon with Pinot Noir Sauce.  Looks like I’ve got most of the makings of an entire meal right here.

Fast No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

Mark Bittman – New York Times

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole rye flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Oil as needed.

Combine flours, cornmeal, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Oil a standard loaf pan (8 or 9 inches by 4 inches; nonstick works well). Lightly oil your hands and shape dough into a rough rectangle. Put it in pan, pressing it out to the edges. Brush top with a little more oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour more.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread about 45 minutes, or until loaf reaches an internal temperature of 210 degrees. Remove bread from pan and cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 loaf.

Herb Crusted Butternut Squash Wedges

Stephanie Witt Sedgwick – The Washington Post

  • 3 small butternut squash, about 8 ounces each (a total of 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (see headnote)
  • 1/3 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Slice off the stem and root ends of each squash. Working with one at a time, stand the squash on its root end. Cut the squash in half vertically from top to bottom, then cut each half into 2 or 3 wedges, discarding the seeds in each wedge. Repeat with the remaining squash. (The squash can be peeled, if desired.)

Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the oil until well coated, then arrange so that the wedges’ points are facing upward. Sprinkle with the herbes de Provence (crushing them between your fingers as you work) and salt, then season with pepper to taste. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and let the wedges roast for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on their size), until they are fork-tender and starting to brown. Let sit for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before serving. (As the squash is eaten, it is scraped off its baked skin.)

Chocolate Filled Sweet Braid

My percentages of Bread Wins have improved…but I am still far from being a competent bread maker.  More and more I get the feeling that this, in particular, is going to be a life long endeavor.  So if I embrace the philosophy that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, then I’m just happy to make it to the next mile marker.  Doesn’t really matter how many miles are behind me, I’m one step closer to the finish line.

I never would have had the courage to try Chocolate Filled Sweet Braid had it not been for two of my favorite local bloggers, Beth and Lan.  These ladies and I attended a free demonstration put on by King Arthur Flour a few months ago.  The truth is, I probably wouldn’t have gone by myself so it’s only by grace of the fact that they joined me that I went at all…I can be a little introverted that way.  If you happened to be at the Holiday Inn by MOM’S that night, we were the ones causing all kinds of trouble in the front row.  After seeing the uber talented KAF staffer breeze through the dough, I started to think maybe I could too.  I left the demo armed with a shot of confidence, a recipe, and a packet of Red Star Yeast.

Since this is me we’re talking about, you know that I had to have at least one bump in the road to Chocolate Filled Sweet Bread.  And it was a pretty big one.  Once I had done the math to scale the recipe in half and had myself all nicely mis en placed, my sponge didn’t start.  There was no bubbly action going on that I could see.  So I set that bowl aside and started again.  This time the sponge developed some lovely bubbly froth and I was in business.  Maybe the first sponge’s lack of cooperation was The Universe challenging me to see how committed I was to the task at hand.  Or maybe I just manged to mangle things.

Either way, the point is that I persevered…and I marked this particular mile with Chocolate Filled Sweet Braid.

Sweet Braid Dough

Adapted from King Arthur Flour


  • 1 ounce unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3 ounces warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  • all of the sponge
  • 3 ounces plain low fat yogurt or buttermilk
  • 2 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 ounces sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or citrus zest
  • 9 to 12 ounces unbleached all purpose flour


  • 5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 ounces sugar
  • 2 ounces sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the sponge, combine the warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl and stir to dissolve.  Stir in the yeast and 1/4 cup flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 15 minutes or until bubbly.

In a large bowl, combine the sponge, yogurt or buttermilk, butter, eggs, remaining sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Once the dough pulls away from the bowl, stop adding flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead with lightly floured hands for 5 minutes until pliable and soft but not sticky.  Spray the bowl you mixed the dough in with nonstick cooking spray while you let the dough rest.  Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth and springy (if you gently make an indentation into the dough with your finger the dough will spring back).

Return the dough to the greased bowl, turn to coat it with the nonstick spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel.  Let the dough sit in a warm place for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.

Gently deflate the dough and roll into a rectangle approximately 10 x 14 on a sheet of parchment paper.  Using a butter knife or plastic bench scraper, gently score the dough so that it is divided into thirds.  Be sure not to cut through the dough, you just want to mark it for reference.  Cut notches out of each of the four corners and then use your butter knife or bench scraper to cut 1″ wide strips in the two outer thirds of the dough.  The center of your dough will be “fringed” with the strips on each side.  Try to get your strips to line up as much as possible on each side.

Stir 1 tablespoon all purpose flour into half of the prepared filling and spread over the center third of the dough, leaving 1″ at the top and bottom uncovered.  Reserve the other half of the filling for another use.  Sprinkle 6 ounces chocolate chips over the filling.

Fold the top and bottom flaps down over the filling and then bring the strips of dough fringe across the filling on a diagonal, alternating from side to side.  Press and pinch each strip into the side of the dough as you go until the loaf is braided.

Brush the top of the braid with an egg wash of one egg beaten with one tablespoon water and sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.  Loosely cover the braid with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes or until puffed.

While the braid rests and proofs, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover the braid and slide the sheet of parchment onto a half sheet pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Transfer the braid still on the parchment to a rack to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

{printable recipe}

Rose’s Butter Dipped Dinner Rolls

I hope you don’t mind the fact that it’s April and I’m just now talking about what I was cooking on Christmas day.  Wendi time works on its own schedule.  I feel as though I spent Christmas day with Rose Levy Beranbaum. Oh my, what a wonderful thing that would be.

Not only did we have her apple filled dutch baby for Christmas breakfast, we had her butter dipped dinner rolls at dinner.  Christmas was filled with all kinds of Bread Bible Studies.  And it was a complete success.

Rose’s Butter Dipped Dinner Rolls

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbum’s The Bread Bible

BAH Note:  This is not a quick recipe. But if you plan accordingly, the end result will be worth the wait.  I never imagined I would say that about a dinner roll that came out of my oven.  But I did and I stand by it.  I may sound like a broken record here but again, I don’t know if my flour was bleached or unbleached and my results were spectacular.  If you have the space to store both bleached and unbleached all purpose flour, please don’t tell me because I will develop a raging case of storage envy.


  • 170 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 22 grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water between 70 and 90 degrees
  • 22 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon) honey
  • .8 grams (1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast

Combine all the ingredients in the work bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand for 2 minutes until very smooth and the consistency of a thick batter.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.


  • 156 grams (1 cup plus 4 1/2 teaspoons) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 20 grams (2 tablespoons) nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1.6 grams (1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 64 grams (4 1/2 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 7.5 grams (1 1/8 teaspoons) salt
  • 56 grams (4 tablespoons) butter, melted

Once you have made the starter, begin working on the rest of the dough.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, milk powder, and yeast.  Sprinkle this on top of the starter, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature during which time the sponge may bubble through the flour in places.

Add the butter to your mixture and mix on low speed for 1 minute with the dough hook until the flour is moist enough to form a rough dough.  Scrape down any bits on the side of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest the dough for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt onto the dough and knead on medium speed for 7 to 10 minutes until it comes away from the sides of the bowl, is smooth and elastic, and sticks to your fingers.  Use an oiled spatula and scrape down any bits on the side of the bowl.

Quickly turn the dough out of the mixing bowl and coat the bowl with cooking spray.  Return the dough to the bowl, gently push it down, and spray the surface with cooking spray.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 1 /2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Use an oiled spatula or bench scraper to turn the dough out onto a floured counter.  Gently press it into a rectangle.  Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third of the dough up as though you were folding a letter.  Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat.  Return the dough to the bowl and spray the surface lightly again.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

To form the rolls, gently roll the dough into a long log and cut into 18 pieces, each piece approximately 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons.  Roll each piece into a ball between your palms and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the melted butter onto the rolls, cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been coated with cooking spray, and allow the rolls to rise for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.

During this final rise, place an oven rack with a baking stone on it at the lowest level and place a sheet pan or cast iron skillet on the oven floor and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and set the sheet pan on the baking stone.  Quickly add 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan on the oven floor.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and brush with any remaining melted butter.

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