Tag Archives: Breads and Rolls

Simple Spelt Bread (From A Bess Inspired Brunch)

January 2013

When I think of Sweden, I think of minimal design, foggy colors, folk patterns, bold reds, bungalows, strong, dark coffee and dense, grainy bread. One day, I hope to experience all of my associations first hand, but for the time being, I merely channeled some of those elements for a Bess Inspired Brunch.

Bess Inspired Table 02

This bread may very well become a staple. It’s so simple and quick to make, and though dense, this nutty flavored bread is far from the feeling of cutting into a brick. It works really well as a tartine. Here are a few suggested combinations:

Bread + Neufchatel + Fresh Dill + Capers + Salmon
Bread + Neufchatel + Avocado + Salmon
Bread + Neufchatel + Roasted Beet + Fresh Dill

Spelt Bread and Tablecloth

With a little bow, this bread could easily become a gift for a dinner party host, and with this flavor packed butter, a slice of this bread could really change your breakfast routine. I hope this becomes one of your staples!

Spelt Bread Ingredients

Simple Spelt & Flax Bread


4 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup golden roasted flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
*2 cups and 2 tablespoons milk (I used 1 ½ cups half & half + whole milk due to what was in my refrigerator)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, flax seeds, salt, molasses, baking soda and milk until well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden.

Placing a tin of the same size or a lid over the top of the loaf while baking gives it a lovely crust.

Sweet Orange Rolls (From A Bess Inspired Brunch)

January 2013

For brunch with Bess, the colors of my various vintage wares put me in a Scandinavian state of mind. When I think of going for coffee and sweets in Sweden (something I have thus far only experienced vicariously), I imagine a beautiful display of spiraling rolls. For this wintry brunch, a sweet orange roll was the answer!

Bess Inspired Table

Should you find yourself with extra orange filling, fret not. It works well on crepes, pancakes or toast in the days following. It’s also lovely to spoon a dollop of warm, orange sauce over the rolls when served.

Orange Rolls

Sweet Orange Rolls 
with Maple Whipped Cream

1 1/4 cups half & half, heated to 115°
1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast

1/3 cup raw sugar
2 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 large egg (local/free-range), lightly beaten

4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) organic, unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup orange zest (from about 4-5 oranges)

2 cups honey

1 teaspoon pure orange extract (not optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Combine the milk and yeast in a mixing bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and egg

Add flour, and mix until dough forms.

Knead until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel; let sit until dough doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.


Meanwhile, use a mixer to beat softened butter, brown sugar, and zest in a bowl.

Add remaining salt, honey, and extracts; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a work surface; using a rolling pin, roll dough into an 18″ × 10″ rectangle, and spread filling evenly over dough (there will be extra filling). Roll the dough into a log; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds.

Transfer rounds cut side up to a greased 9″ × 13″ baking dish; cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 6 hours or overnight.


Heat oven to 375°.

Uncover rolls and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Drizzle extra filling over rolls before serving.


Maple Whipped Cream
*makes enough for rolls and coffees 


1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Snap Liquor


Remember the chilled mixer blades trick?

Use an electric mixer [with chilled mixer blades] to whip the cream in a chilled bowl.

Once soft peaks have formed, add the vanilla, maple syrup and Snap and continue to mix until stiffer peaks form.

Keep chilled until ready to serve.

A Bess Inspired Brunch

January 2013

I’ve done my fair share of antiquing, thrifting and flea marketing, a claim to which my apartment attests. I’ve never transitioned from buyer to seller in the vintage world, another claim to which my apartment attests. Say I were to find a perfect red set of pyrex with a grain of wheat for a design embellishment, I’d have such a hard time edging that piece out of my life and into another’s vintage inspired home.

Bess Inspired Table 02

Before you submit me to a hoarding show, know that I set limits for myself, have the occasional purge-and-donate spells and really try to use what I collect. Whereas I may cling to closely to my flea market finds, my new friend Bess is building a community of buyers!

Bess Inspired Table

I first met Bess at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer, an event she cofounded with her etsy shop partners (I want mostly everything her Red Pop Shop has to offer). I was drawn to the event posters featuring the very same iconic Hamilton Beach mixer I have on my kitchen shelf. Subsequently, I was drawn to Bess’s warm personality, her drive to create a vintage community and her push to make Pittsburgh a better place to be. Accordingly, a brunch with Bess seemed like the perfect thing to do!

Orange Rosette

Thus on a snowy yet sunny Sunday morning, I pulled out all my vintage stops to create a Bess inspired brunch!

Bess and Quelcy Brunch

Something about that tablecloth sent my mind to a Scandinavian cottage, and the menu emerged from my wandering mind… orange rolls, spelt bread tartines, fresh squeezed orange juice mimosas, and coffee with a dollop of maple whipped cream (with a spike of Snap!).

Orange Rolls


Orange Rolls and Spelt Bread recipes to follow in subsequent posts.

Spelt Bread Tartines

Here’s to old treasures and new friendships!

Cardamom Muffin Tin Rolls

January 2013

When menu planning, I often like to have a pervading ingredient. For this dinner gathering, the curry of the entrée inspired notes of cardamom in all the accompanying dishes. Rather than make a traditional flatbread, I spiced these whole-wheat, muffin-tin rolls with cardamom.

Cardamom Roll

I sprinkled the tops with Himalayan pink sea salt for a dash of color to channel the colorful and flavorful experience of walking through an Indian street scene. The final touch was a browned butter with honey and cardamom (recipe to come), making this roll ideal for dinner or breakfast or any snacking point in between the two!

Cardamom Rolls in Muffin Tin

Cardamom Muffin Tin Rolls
Adapted from Muffin Tin Mania


2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm milk, not boiling

3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for kneading
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 large egg


browned butter
Himalayan pink sea salt
poppy seeds


Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, salt, cardamom and egg. Mix until combined.

Add 2 cups flour and mix until all the flour is moist.

Turn batter out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the work surface and hands as needed.

Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down dough which means pushing down the centre of the dough with your fist and then pushing the edges of the dough into the centre using your fingertips.

Form dough into 36 equal sized balls and place 3 balls in each of 12 greased muffin cups.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush tops of dough with browned butter. Sprinkle with salt and poppy seeds.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until browned.

Elephants Were Hungry

Here’s to cardamom spiced luck & longevity!

Recipes For A High Tea Hike

October 2012

Cambridge, England…

Just shy of one year ago, I spent an amazing two weeks in London, which also meant the opportunity to visit one of my dearest friends. My very smart friend had attended Cambridge University in her “uni” years and wanted to show me the town. With its peaceful pace and historical charm, Cambridge seemed like the prime spot for me to have a proper spot of tea. Though the experience was a bit rushed, and I accidentally ordered a full tea service (meaning enough food for two), I could finally say I had experienced a proper British tea time!

When my blogging friend Heather Mulholland invited me to be a part of her “A Cup of Tea With…” series, I was equally honored and inspired. In her honor, I channeled my British tea experience for A High Tea Hike, which meant scones, egg salad sandwiches, and cucumber goat cheese sandwiches. We even took loose leaf Early Grey into the forest for authentic sipping! The recipes are listed below should you be interested in hosting your own high tea. Hiking is optional but highly recommended!

Butternut Squash Scones


2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup firmly packed organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) organic unsalted butter, cut into chunks

3/4 cup roasted and pureed butternut squash
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon organic half & half

1 large egg yolk
Raw cane sugar


In a bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.

Add 1/2 cup butter and, with a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in until pea-size crumbs form.

In a small bowl, whisk squash and 1/2 cup half & half until well blended. Add to flour mixture and stir just until dough is evenly moistened.

Scrape onto a lightly floured board, turn over to coat, and gently knead just until dough comes together, 5 or 6 turns.

Pat dough into a 6-inch round 1 1/2 inches thick; use a circle cutting tool to cut small circles. Place shaped dough on a parchment lined baking stone.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolk and 1 tablespoon half & half to blend; brush lightly over tops of scones (discard any remaining egg wash).

In another small bowl, mix raw cane sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste; sprinkle evenly over scones.

Bake in a 375° regular until scones are golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

Transfer to a rack; serve warm or cool.

Egg Salad Sandwiches


8 eggs (local/free-range)
1/4 cup organic mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced red onion, caramelized
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

*Rocket is British for arugula. I bet British children eat far more leafy greens than American children based on that name alone!


Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Remove the eggs from water. Once they are cool to the touch, remove the shells. Place the eggs in a medium sized bowl, and chop them into smaller pieces.

Add all the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Serve with “rocket” on sprouted whole-grain bread.

Happy High Tea!

A High Tea Hike

October 2012

Alex said, “How about a hike?”
I said, “How about high tea?”
Then autumn summoned summer,
And they worked in perfect harmony.

Serendipitea [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] (noun): the good fortune of picking THE perfect day for a hike and a high tea picnic; the culmination of inspiration from various sources.

In the words of the great philosopher, Steph T., “If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it.”

The hike unfurled like swatches from a paint sampler, with one hue following the next. There were paths through deep yellows, followed by walks through green blankets of ferns, and then there were falling reds and oranges. I felt like Dorothy on a mission with the Tinman, the cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow.

The horses marked the spot, and it was here I began to feel like Alice in Wonderland with a Mad Hatter and a crazy cast of characters seated for a proper tea (of sorts).

The forest tea table marked the culmination of previous journeys, past ceremonies, growing friendships and new inspiration.

The forest tea table marked one of my most treasured days. I hiked playfully. I sipped tea warmly. I ate contentedly. I laughed heartily. Put quite simply, I was happy, really, really happy!

As we finished the fall flavored scones, egg salad, cucumber sandwiches and mugs of tea, we continued along the playful path of imagination, on which little mounds of moss became the rolling hills of a distant land. Like little children who play their hearts out until the sun begins to set and mothers call for their return, we had enjoyed one of the last beautiful bursts of fall to its fullest.

Recipes for this Raccoon Creek State Park adventure to come! Stay tuned.

An Ode To A Cabin In Autumn: A Shared Plate & Thoughts

September 2012

Printed words, sipped drinks, thoughts shared and a shared plate…these elements seemed to slow time in the best possible way…the way that makes me pause and question why more of my life is not this memorably simple. Every now and then, it’s inspiring to borrow someone else’s words to preserve these moments, and in this case, John Muir’s words take me back to that afternoon…

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. 

“Adult Root Beers” with Art in the Age Root
& Charcuterie

With inexpressible delight you wade out into the grassy sun-lake, feeling yourself contained on one of Nature’s most sacred chambers, withdrawn from the sterner influences of the mountains, secure from all intrusion, secure from yourself, free in the universal beauty. And notwithstanding the scene is so impressively spiritual, and you seem dissolved in it yet everything about you is beating with warm, terrestrial human love, delightfully substantial and familiar. 

One day’s exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers’ plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. 

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

-John Muir