I started baking bread years ago, realizing that it is much healthier and cheaper solution.
Since then, I made many many loafs, and even entered some contests. In 2001, my Bean bread won  "Healthy loaf "contest at Vancouver's "The Wellness Show".

Bread made with my natural starter

My winning Bean bread

It is the most basic food from an early age of human society.
Not today anymore. It becames sometimes sophisticated, upscaled part of the meal, partially because nobody has time to bake it anymore and partially because good bread is so expensive.

I make my bread at home in the oven, old fashion way.

Few tips to bake a good bread:
For the yeast bread, preheat the oven at 450F and after putting the dough in, sprinkle the oven with a water or just spill 1/3 of cup of water on the bottom to evaporate, but immediately close the oven door. That will make crusty, but still soft bread on the outside. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat on 300F-350F and bake for about 40 minutes more, depending on the size of the bread.
It should look dark brown, but not too dark.
After taking it out, if you want softer crust, wrap it in a tea towel to cool, or just leave it on the counter to cool at least for 15 minutes, before slicing it.

For non-yeast bread, oven should be heated not that high but on 350F all the time. And no necessary "hydrating ", like with a yeast bread.

Natural starters that you can make at home (sour bread starter):

Bread Recipes:

Bean bread
(my "Healthy loaf "winner bread)

1/2 cup of cooked pinto or white beans*
1 cup of warm water
2 tbsp of dry yeast,
2 tbsp vegetable oil,
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2  to 3 cups of whole wheat flour

After dissolving yeast  in a warm water, puree beans with oil and add along with other ingredients in the activated yeast. Let stand covered on a room temperature until double. After that, knead and let it rise again one more time in a oiled pan or silicon sheet.
Bake it on 200 C  for 50-60 min. Cool on a rack.

No yeast bread

1½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
1 cup ground flax seeds
¼ cup whole seeds (flax, sesame, hemp..)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbs olive oil
~ 1 cup of water (room temperature) - (approximately, it depends of a flour – you have to get medium soft dough)

Mix thoroughly all the ingredients together except water and oil. Add water and oil at the end and mix it first with a fork, than with your hand. If the dough is not soft enough, add water, spoon by spoon, until you get compact but not too dense dough. Find your terra cotta/ceramic or glass dish and oil it. Add your dough and bake it in the 375 F (180C) for approximately 25-30 min. until the top of the bread is dark brown. Don’t worry about cracks in the bread, that’s normal.


Serbian Corn bread


                    1 cup of corn flour,
1/4 cup of whole wheat flour,
1/4 cup of unbleached flour,
2 tbs of baking powder,
3 eggs,
100 g of feta cheese,
100 g kajmak**
1/2 cup of yogurt,
1/2 - 1 cup of water *,
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
* add so much water to get not thick but soft dough
** kajmak is "cheese/cream" made in Serbia by skimming cooked raw milk and layering it without any additives

Salsa Corn bread


• 1 tsp instant yeast
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tbs sugar
• 1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 cup unbleached white flour
• 1 cup corn meal
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup water (warm)
• 1/2 cup salsa



In the bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let it stand covered in warm room until bubbles form on the top. Add other ingredients, cover, place in a warm spot, and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down risen dough and set aside again to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
When the second rising is complete, punch down the dough and shape into loaf. Place dough in loaf or cake pan greased with olive oil and let rise again until doubled, about 1/2 hour. Mix well and let it rise for one hour.


Bake on 400 degrees for 20 to 30 min. depends on the type of pan you use.

Cool and enjoy with hummus or other good spread. 

Quick Mango Bread

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup ground flax seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
 zest of 2 lemons
oil for loaf pan
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and olive oil, and beat well.
Toss chopped mango in a little flour to coat them lightly. Add the mango, pine nuts and lemon zest to the flour and egg mixture and stir to distribute evenly.
Grease loaf pan with oil. Transfer the batter into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour, or until a thin skewer inserted in the centre comes out dry. Let cool for a few minutes. Unmold and cool on a rack.

Cracked wheat bread


 1/2 cup cracked wheat
 2/3 cup hot water 
 1/3 cup warm water
 1/4 cup olive oil 
1/2 cup milk 
1/4 cup flax seed 
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
 4 tbs of poppy seeds 
1 tsp of instant yeast 
2 cups whole wheat flour 
1/2 cups unbleached white flour 
 1 teaspoon of salt

 In a medium bowl place cracked wheat and pour hot water, (not boiling), over wheat. Add olive oil, milk, seeds and mix well. In the small bowl mix yeast and 1/3 cup of warm water, let it bubble. Cool wheat mixture to lukewarm and stir in the yeast.
 Stir in the flours, 1 cup at a time, beginning with the whole wheat then the bread flour. When dough is stiff enough to work, turn out onto a floured surface and knead  10 minutes.
When smooth and elastic, shape dough into a ball and put it into a greased bowl. Cover, place in a warm, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours, punch down risen dough and set aside again to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
4. When the second rising is complete, punch down the dough and shape into loaf. Place dough on bread stone or loaf pan and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Brush tops with an egg wash, made by whisking one tablespoon water into one whole egg until well blended.
5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Choco Hazel soda bread


1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for baking sheet
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup toasted whole hazelnuts
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the medium bowl, cream oil, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a loaf. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 to 30 minutes. Take out if the oven and cool on the counter.

Walnuts, Figs & Anise  Bread

Aroma and flavour of this bread matches with absolutely anything, from savory  to sweet. Enjoy it with some great soft cheese or blue cheese spread or my favourite Chestnut/chocolate jam.

1/2 tbsp dry yeast
Pinch of Sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) warm water
1 1/2 cups (225g) unbleached flour
1/2 tbsp aniseed seeds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
2/3 cup dried figs, stalks removed and diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Dissolve yeast and sugar in a warm water and set aside for 10 min.
In a large bowl combine all other ingredients and add to the yeast. Add more water if necessary to get firm but soft dough. Knead for about 10 more minutes until is smooth and not sticky. Oil a dough and leave it to rise for about two hours to double in size.
Knock it down and knead a little bit and than place on a oiled baking sheet or  dish for bread baking (I have my La Chamba bowl). Brush with egg yolk mixed with water and sprinkle with a remaining anise and sesame seeds. Leave it to rise for about 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C) and bake it for about 45 minutes, reducing temperature after first 15 minutes to 350F (175 C).

Corn-salsa bread patties

1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/2 cup corn meal
2/3 unbleached flour
1/3 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda 
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt 

These tasty patties are baked on a stove and if you are out of bread, they are really quick and great replacement.
Eat them alone with a piece of good feta cheese or with a salad.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Heat a small baking pan with a little bit of olive oil, on a stove. Place three to four tbsp of mass in a pan and try to spread it over the pan to the edges, about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Bake on one side for about 5-7 minutes  on a medium heat, than turn and bake more for about 5 minutes.
Cut in quarters and trough a middle and fill with cheese or in smaller pieces and serve with some dip.

Rosemary Focaccia 


300ml/½ pint tepid water
1½ tsp dried yeast or 2 heaped tsp fresh yeast
500g/1lb 2oz '00' flour or strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
medium coarse sea salt

2 sprigs rosemary, torn into small pieces (optional)

Preparation method:
Pour a little of the tepid water into a small bowl. Add the yeast and blend using your fingers. Leave the yeast for five minutes to soften and dissolve.
Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. You may like to transfer your mixture to a pastry board or other flat work surface at this stage and prepare the dough there. Otherwise, mix the dough in the bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and salt mixture. Pour the blended yeast and water into the well along with the olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add the rest of the tepid water until a sticky dough is formed.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Gather any stray pieces. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding a little extra flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic and the dough no longer sticks to your hand. 
Leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - about 1½ hours depending on the room temperature.
Use your fist to knock it back, then knead it again for a further two minutes.

Leave to rest again, but only for 5-10 minutes.
Shape by placing into a shallow baking tray, using your hands to spread it out to a depth of about 1.5cm/¾in, then allow to rise again, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size - this will take about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil evenly over the dough. Sprinkle over the sea salt and push the small pieces of rosemary into the dough.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is crusty and cooked through to the base. 

1 comment:

Terrie said...

These are healthy and easy bread I suppose. I always love walnuts, raisins, seeds etc. Love the chewing texture. I may give a go.