One Hour (or Less) Yeast Rolls

The other day my family really wanted burgers for dinner. I did not want to run to the store and didn’t have three hours to make burger buns, so I tried out a super-fast bun recipe. And it worked! They were yeast buns and super delicious (recipe coming soon). This success gave me the idea to try and adapt a favorite roll recipe to be made start to finish in under an hour. Did I think it was possible? Yes. Did I think they would taste good? Undecided. But guess what? They actually taste amazing. Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious. There is no reason you cannot have yeast rolls with a home-cooked meal or especially a holiday like Thanksgiving. These one hour (or less) yeast rolls are knock your socks off good and they are start to finish…all in less than an hour.

Jump to the Recipe for One Hour (or less) Yeast Rolls

The Process

To make these rolls, mix up your dough as you normally would for a yeast dough. Knead the dough, by hand or by mixer for about 5-7 minutes. After the dough is kneaded, you do not need to let the dough rise. Instead, immediately shape the dough into rolls and set them in a baking dish. Give them a quick 10-15 minute proof in a warm place and then bake them for about 25 minutes. You have eliminated the first rise and most of the second rise and are relying on the fast-acting power of the yeast and the heat from the oven for some perfect rolls.

Why One Hour Yeast Rolls Work: Instant Yeast

I love this instant yeast and cornstarch adds a little bit of extra tenderness to the rolls too.

The key ingredient in this recipe is the instant yeast. I love using SAF instant yeast (affiliate link) and stock up on it from my local mill. Instant yeast is more fine than dry active yeast which means that it does not need to be proofed before being mixed into the dough. You may also find instant yeast labeled as “rapid-rise” yeast and “bread machine” yeast. All of those will work for this recipe. Dry active yeast takes longer to activate and requires a second rise, so it will not work well for these one hour or less yeast rolls. The amount of instant yeast in this recipe is a lot. This, combined with the heat from the oven, is what gives the rolls their beautiful rise. Despite the 2 Tablespoons used, the rolls do not have an overpowering yeast flavor.

Why Does Dough Typically Need Two Rises?

Almost all yeast rolls call for two rises. Typically the first rise takes place after the dough is kneaded and the second rise happens after the dough has been shaped. During the first rise, the yeast feeds off the flour and produces carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise and creates the air bubbles in bread. Punching down the dough and shaping bread allows the yeast to continue feeding off the flour and produces more carbon dioxide, which causes the second rise. The longer the rise, the more chewy, flavorful and complex the bread is, which is why most recipes call for two rises. You will get optimal results with a double rise.

Time as a Factor

With all that said, I think that the time saved in making these rolls is absolutely worth it. Let’s face it, we don’t all always have the three hours to give to make homemade rolls and if we can cut a few corners and still have fluffy dinner rolls, then I think it is worth it. This roll recipe is delicious. If I made it side by side with a roll recipe that had a double rise I may be able to notice a slight difference, but I think the time saved is worth it in this recipe. If I have three hours on my hands I may choose a different roll recipe, but if I only have an hour and need rolls on the table? This is my go-to every time. 

So what are you waiting for? Add this recipe to your list for the upcoming holidays. Or check out some of my other favorite roll recipes if you have a little more time on your hands. Enjoy!

One Hour (or less) Yeast Rolls

Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious. These one hour (or less) yeast rolls are knock your socks off good and they are start to finish…all in less than an hour.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/3 cup milk warmed
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Instructions
 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm milk (make sure this is the temperature of a baby's bathwater…so as not to kill the yeast), melted butter, sugar, yeast and salt.
  • Add the cornstarch and 3 cups of flour to the center of the bowl and knead using the dough hook. Alternatively you can mix the ingredients together in a bowl and knead the dough on your countertop by hand for about 10 minutes. If using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, adding the extra half cup of flour as needed. You should be able to pinch off a chunk of dough, roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little sticky residue left behind. You can check out this blog post for how to check for readiness of dough if you need some guidance.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray.
  • Move the dough to your countertop and cut into twelve equal pieces.
  • Shape the dough into rolls one at a time. Pull up the sides of the dough into the middle while rotating the dough in your hand to form a ball. Then roll the ball on the countertop before placing on a baking sheet or dish. Watch the process here.
  • Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm spot for 10 minutes.
  • After ten minutes, the rolls will have puffed up just a bit. If they don't look puffy, that's okay. Continue on with the recipe and bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes depending on how brown you like your rolls. For lighter rolls, bake in a glass pan. For a darker crust use a dark pan.
  • Once rolls have finished baking, top with melted butter and enjoy warm!

Notes

I always use SAF instant yeast in this recipe and in almost all my yeast breads. 
Keyword quick rolls, rolls, yeast rolls,
Watch this video for a roll shaping tutorial

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Applesauce Bread

Our favorite local orchard is open until the end of the month. While the apple picking days are over and these fried apple pies with freshly picked apples will have to wait until next year, we are still able to buy their delicious cider by the gallon. We’ve been enjoying some late fall outdoor playtime with beautiful weather and, of course, apple cider. This applesauce bread is perfect to whip up for a fall day. It has the iconic fall spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice that you find in apple and pumpkin pies and is full of fall flavor. It includes one full cup of applesauce, delicious apple cider and is the perfect snack for this time of year.

This recipe makes one loaf, but I always double it because it freezes so well and I have a lot of kids to feed.
Jump to Applesauce Bread Recipe Below

My One-Bowl Method

One of the things I love about quick breads, is how easy they are to mix. I have a few favorites on my site: zucchini bread, banana bread and these pumpkin muffins. One thing they have in common is that I love only using one bowl. Most recipes will have you mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. My kitchen is usually so full of dishes on any given day that I always favor one-bowl recipes. I don’t want to wash another bowl if I don’t have to. The key to these recipes is adding the liquid ingredients plus sugar to the bowl first and mixing them together well. Then adding the salt and spices to the liquid ingredients and mix. Last adding the flour on top without mixing and then the leavening (baking soda/powder). I lightly fluff them together with a fork, my fingers or using my mixing spoon before completely incorporating them in with the liquid ingredients. This way those dry ingredients get a light mix (and don’t go flying out of my bowl when I start mixing) and I don’t have to wash two bowls. Win-win.

Apple Flavor and Whole Wheat Flour

This applesauce bread packs a punch of apple flavor with the applesauce and apple cider. It is possible to substitute the apple cider for apple juice, though the apple flavor won’t be as strong. If you want even more apple flavor and texture in your bread, dice up about ¾ cup of some of your favorite apples and add them to the mixture after the dry ingredients. I always use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour in this recipe and it turns out great. My kids don’t even know they are are eating whole grains. I think this recipe would also be a great one to substitute gluten free flour (my favorite here) if you need to make a gluten-free version.

The Perfect Bake 

One of the keys to getting a beautiful loaf of quickbread is to bake the bread at a high temperature for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature and continue the bake for a longer time. This high heat helps activate the rising agent (baking powder/soda in this case) and forms a beautiful dome shape and crust on the bread. I bake this bread for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.

Parchment Paper Yes or No?

I found that this bread did not need a parchment sling if you have a really great non-stick pan (shameless plug for my favorite bread pan ever, affiliate link). If you are adding diced apples to the batter,  you will definitely want to use a parchment sling. A tutorial is found here. If your pan tends to stick, I’d liberally grease it or use parchment paper. There’s nothing worse than making a beautiful loaf only to have it fall apart when you go to turn it out (I’ve done that one too many times).

This applesauce bread is just delicious. It makes for a great after-school snack, morning breakfast or would be amazing as a dessert with a little drizzle of glaze on the top. I would mix a Tablespoon of apple cider with half a cup of powdered sugar (add a little more or less depending on the consistency you want for a glaze) and drizzle it over the top for a special fall dessert. However you choose to eat it, I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. Enjoy!

Applesauce Bread

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce if you use a sweetened version you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice if preferred
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour half whole wheat/half all purpose work well here too
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • To a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, applesauce and apple cider with a wooden spoon. Incorporate each egg by mixing quickly. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • To the center of the same bowl, add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix to combine.
  • Add the flour to the middle of the bowl. Don’t mix! Add the baking powder and baking soda right on top of the flour and lightly combine with a fork or using the same wooden spoon. Then, using the wooden spoon and a light hand, mix together until just incorporated. This helps make sure you don’t over-mix the batter resulting in a tough bread.
  • Lightly grease a bread loaf pan (my favorite here) or use a parchment paper sling.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.
  • Stick a toothpick in the middle to check for doneness and then let cool to room temperature before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

If you want even more apple flavor, add about a cup of diced apple to the mixture for a delicious flavor and texture.
I use a combination of all purpose and 100% whole wheat flour and the bread turns out great! (¾  cups all purpose, ¾ cups whole wheat flour)
This bread freezes very well. I like to slice my loaves and freeze for quick and easy breakfasts.
 
Keyword apple bread, applesauce bread, quickbread

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Mummy Dogs

Growing up, one of my favorite Halloween festivities was the fun spread of food my mom would throw together on Halloween night. Whatever it was we were eating was always turned into some “spooky” name: “witches brew” (soup), “blood and guts” (spaghetti and meatballs), “skeleton fingers” (carrots); and we always, always had a delicious “cat bread” that my mom would make. This was a basic bread recipe that my mom turned into the shape and face of a cat. She would bake it up and then add whiskers out of dry pasta noodles and a cute face. One day, I will recreate that cat bread. Today I’m sharing my own family’s tradition, one my kids love and look forward to every year: Mummy Dogs. They are delicious, easy and a crowd pleaser.

Jump Directly to Mummy Dogs Recipe

Our Halloween Dinner Now

We don’t always have our Halloween dinner on Halloween night. In recent years we almost never eat it on Halloween night because we enjoy having a friend party before trick-or-treating on Halloween. Instead, we pick one night leading up to Halloween and enjoy a spooky dinner. This almost always includes Mummy Dogs (along with other frightfully fun foods). Mummy Dogs are basically hot dogs wrapped up in a delicious breadstick dough with ketchup or mustard for eyes. They are fun for kids to make and super, super simple. I mean, you could technically buy some dough at the store, but you won’t need to with how quick and easy this breadstick dough is…perfect for wrapping up those hot dogs and turning them into “Mummy Dogs!”

Instant Yeast

These mummy dogs will take you less than an hour to make. Yes! Less than an hour! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a super simple and super festive fun dinner on your table for your family to enjoy. The key to this quick rise time is in the instant yeast (my favorite linked here, affiliate link). One of the beautiful things about instant yeast is that it technically doesn’t need two rises. You can throw the yeast in, shape the dough and let it rise once before baking. This is a huge time saver! These breadsticks benefit from the use of instant yeast because you mix up the dough, give it a short ten minute rest and then wrap up your hot dogs, mummy-dog style. After a quick 20-minute rise, they are ready to bake. Easy peasy!

A Little Extra Butter

Liberally butter your pan for a delicious buttery crust

Preparing the pan with a little extra butter gives these mummy dogs a crispy and delicious breadstick texture. You will be asking yourself when you can make them again…the bread is so good. Light and fluffy with a buttery crust. Soften or melt about 4 Tablespoons of butter and coat the two pans with the melted butter before wrapping each mummy dog and placing on the pan to rise.

Mummy Dogs for a Crowd

I love this recipe because it is great for a crowd if you’re having people over for Halloween dinner. Sometimes I make half the hot dogs (8) and turn the rest of the dough into “breadsticks,” just twisting them up and laying them on the baking sheet instead of making 16 total hot dogs – the dough is so good for making breadsticks.

If you’re looking for a last-minute, delicious dinner with basic ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry, look no further than these mummy-dogs. They are delicious and perfect for a special dinner or to snarf down before trick-or treating.

Mummy Dogs

A light and fluffy breadstick dough wrapped around hot dogs make the perfect Halloween dinner!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rising Time 30 mins
Course Bread, Main Course
Cuisine American, Halloween
Servings 16 mummy dogs

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups warm water (as warm as baby's bath water)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil or any neutral-flavored oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5-6 cups all purpose flour
  • 16 packaged hot dogs
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened or melted for the baking sheet

Instructions
 

  • To a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the warm water (as warm as a baby’s bathwater so as not to kill the yeast).
  • Add the instant yeast, granulated sugar, oil, salt, garlic powder, basil and oregano.
  • Using the dough hook, add the flour a cup at a time until the dough comes together in a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Take a pinch of dough and roll it into a ball. It should leave a little residue on your fingers but roll it into a ball. If it doesn’t roll into a ball, continue adding flour a Tablespoon or so at a time until it does. If you over flour the dough, you can add a little bit of water back in and mix it, though this should be a last resort. Check out this post for readiness of the dough if you have more questions.
  • Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
  • After resting for 10 minutes, separate the dough into 16 equal pieces and open a package of hot dogs (you need 16 total).
  • Butter two large baking sheets (my favorite here, affiliate link) with 2 Tablespoons of softened butter per sheet. I just plop it down on the sheet and use my hands to coat the pan in butter.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a long rope. Take a hot dog and starting at the end of the hot dog, wrap the dough around the hot dog, leaving a small gap for the eyes. Pinch the dough together at the end of the hot dog and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 15 hot dogs.
  • Cover the mummy dogs and let rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes for a quick rise. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • After twenty minutes, bake the mummy dogs in the oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden on top.
  • Add two dots of ketchup or mustard for the eyes and enjoy immediately.

Notes

I often halve the number of hot dogs used in this recipe and make 8 mummy dogs and 8 breadsticks. Twist the breadstick dough, place on a baking sheet and bake for the same amount of time. Sprinkle with cheese or extra melted butter when they come out of the oven.
Keyword Breadsticks, Halloween, Hot Dogs

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Masa Butterhorn Rolls

I love making dinner rolls. As a kid I was always partial to butterhorn rolls, usually a dough enriched with milk, butter and eggs and then more butter added on top of the dough before rolling up in a crescent shape. What’s not to love about a really buttery, delicious dinner roll? It even made me look forward to eating my vegetables, so I could have another roll. These masa butterhorn rolls are made in the same way as my childhood originals, but with the addition of a masa pudding that gives the rolls a little more depth and makes for a little bit sturdier roll…perfect for dunking in soup, eating with some leftover Thanksgiving turkey or sopping up the gravy from your leftovers. Now I just have to decide which roll recipe I’ll be making for Thanksgiving…these are definitely in the running! Masa butterhorn rolls are sure to be a hit at your next family gathering. 

Jump Directly to Recipe for Masa Butterhorn Rolls

Masa: What it is?

Masa flour is a finely ground corn flour that you can usually find in your local grocery store. It is a very soft flour that is traditionally made from dried corn that has been pre-soaked. Masa flour is traditionally used to make corn tortillas, tamales, sometimes to thicken soups and even make special drinks in Mexico and Central American countries. If you have some masa flour (I’m liking it here, but I recommend buying it from your local grocery store for much cheaper) lurking in your pantry, now is the time to pull it out and use it in this roll recipe. 

Make a Masa Pudding

The way the masa flour is incorporated in the rolls is a little unique. You begin by warming up milk and adding the masa flour to the milk. Continue heating the milk and masa mixture together until it thickens and forms a pudding-like texture. I liked doing this process in the microwave, though you could also warm it on the stovetop. If you are using a microwave, heat the mixture about a minute at a time until you notice thickening happening around the edges of the bowl. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in with the pudding except for the yeast and flour. Make sure the mixture is warm to the touch (not hot) before adding the yeast, so it doesn’t kill the yeast. Then add the flour and knead to form the light and airy dough.

Shaping Masa Butterhorn Rolls

One of the unique things about these rolls is the addition of butter before rolling up crescent roll style. Please don’t skip this step. It adds a delicious buttery flavor to the rolls. Shaping the rolls couldn’t be easier by rolling half the dough out into a circle and then using a pizza cutter to cut the dough into eight slices. Roll the dough up from the edge of the dough to the center to form a beautifully shaped crescent roll. If you want to make them as a standard roll, that is also possible with this recipe. Forgo the extra butter, cut the dough into 16 pieces and shape into small rolls. Bake for about 14 minutes.

Perfect for a Family Dinner

Masa butterhorn rolls are the perfect roll for a special occasion. They are substantial enough for the leftover turkey sandwiches from your Thanksgiving meal but are just as good with a little schmear of jam. We like to eat a more traditional Sunday dinner and these would be great to add to our lineup of bread recipes that grace our table. This recipe makes 16 rolls. It doubles well for a larger group and these rolls freeze well after baking. I like to let them cool, then transfer to a ziplock bag and freeze. When I want to serve them again, I’ll defrost a bit and warm them in the microwave. However you choose to eat them, I hope you love them as much as we do! Enjoy.

Masa Butterhorn Rolls

Tender, buttery and delicious, these Masa Butterhorn Rolls use masa flour in the dough and are rolled with extra butter to form the perfect roll for dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
rise time 2 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup masa flour
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter plus 4 Tablespoons softened and reserved for shaping
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 3/4- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Instructions
 

Roll Dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove (medium heat) until bubbles form around the edges but the milk is not boiling. If using the microwave method, use a large liquid measuring cup (my favorite is this one, affiliate link), and microwave for 1 minute, check for bubbles around the edges. Continue warming in 30 second to 1 minute increments to check for readiness.
  • Once the bubbles have formed, add the masa flour to the milk and whisk together. Continue warming the masa and milk together in the microwave (one minute at a time), whisking in between minutes. If using the stove, stir continuously until the mixture thickens and forms a pudding-like texture.
  • You are looking for the mixture to thicken around the edges in the microwave. Once this happens (usually after a minute or two), whisk the masa/milk together until it forms a thick “pudding-like mixture.” If mixing on the stove, continue heating over medium heat and whisking until it forms a pudding-like mixture.
  • Cut the 3 Tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the warm masa pudding mixture, whisking it in until fully dissolved. Reserve 4 Tablespoons of butter and let it come to room temperature on your countertop to be used when shaping the dough.
  • Add the sugar and salt. Whisk together.
  • Add the egg. Whisk quickly to make sure the egg tempers and fully incorporates.
  • Pour the masa mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • At this point, check the temperature of the masa mixture (I use my finger…if it feels cooler than a baby’s bath water, you are good to go. If not, whisk a bit more and allow to cool down a bit). Once the mixture is lukewarm, add the yeast.
  • Start the dough hook and add a cup of flour at a time, reserving the last half cup of flour to add in increments as needed. You will know to stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer and you can take a pinch of dough and roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little bit of dough sticking to your fingers. It’s okay for the dough to be a little bit sticky. See how to check for readiness of the dough here.
  • Knead dough for about 5 minutes. Then cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Shaping the Dough

  • Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour a countertop.
  • Pour the dough out on the countertop and cut it into two pieces.
  • Roll the first piece of dough into a large circle. Cover completely with 2 Tablespoons of softened butter.
  • Using a pizza cutter (or sharp knife), cut the dough into 8 pieces, pizza-slice-style.
  • Starting with the largest part of the dough, roll it up until it forms a crescent-style roll. Continue rolling the rest of the rolls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat this process with the other piece of dough.
  • Cover the rolls and allow to rise for about an hour until doubled.

Baking

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake rolls for 11-14 minutes (we like ours around the 11 minute mark, but you may want yours a little darker on top). Eat immediately while warm. Enjoy!

Notes

Shaping: You can also shape the dough into traditional rolls. Cut the dough into 12-16 equal pieces. Shape into a ball, let rise and bake 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees
Keyword rolls

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Pretzel Bites with Sourdough Discard

You guys know how much I love sourdough, right? It is one of my favorite things to bake with. I love the smell of fresh yeast, the light tang of the dough and the quality of the bread. I also love developing and baking recipes with my sourdough discard. It’s the perfect way to boost the flavor in a roll, biscuit or even pancakes and waffles. These sourdough discard pretzel bites are the best of the best when it comes to sourdough baking. They are light, fluffy and use up some of that discard lurking in the back of your fridge. Come on…I know it’s back there…just waiting for the perfect recipe to be used in. This is it!

Jump Directly to Pretzel Bites with Sourdough Discard Recipe

Why Use Sourdough Discard in Pretzel Bites? 

I am not a fan of food waste. I try to find uses for almost everything in my kitchen, and I enjoy meal planning to use up all the random veggies I have at the end of the week. This same thought process goes for sourdough discard. I love that this recipe helps me do my part in decreasing food waste by utilizing the sourdough discard. Truthfully, I keep discard in my fridge just so I can make this recipe—it is that good! If you don’t have discard in your fridge, go ahead and sub fresh sourdough starter. It will work too. 

Instant Yeast Helps the Pretzel Dough Rise

Discard in this recipe refers to refrigerated sourdough culture that is past its prime and over-ripe. it won’t have the same properties as a fresh, young, bubbly leaven (or sourdough starter). The cultures are often sluggish and do not produce the same rise as a bubbly starter would. Because of this, the pretzel dough benefits from the addition of instant yeast (affiliate link: I buy my yeast at my local mill, so look around to price check ). I love instant yeast for its fool-proof nature, but if you only have active dry, that’s okay too. Just proof it with a little warm water and sugar, wait 5 minutes and you should be good to go. The instant yeast gives the dough a quick rise while the sourdough discard gives a slight depth of flavor to the pretzel bites.

Baking Soda Wash

One of the unique things about these sourdough pretzel bites is the baking soda wash that is applied to the pretzels before baking in the oven. This gives the pretzels a golden brown, crunchy exterior with a soft, chewy middle that is just delicious. The baking soda wash is so simple and perfect for those little fingers that want to help you in the kitchen. Heat up ½ cup of water in the microwave until very hot (almost boiling but not quite). Add in a Tablespoon of baking soda (watch for the mixture to fizz up). Stir vigorously until the baking soda is completely combined with the water. Then brush the mixture using a pastry brush (affiliate link) onto each pretzel bite. Let the pretzel bites rise for 10-15 minutes while the oven preheats and then bake to perfection.

Brush on that Butter and Top or Dip to Perfection

Don’t skip over this step when making these sourdough discard pretzel bites. Keep on brushing the melted butter on top of the hot pretzel bites until it is all used up. The butter helps the toppings adhere and gives a delicious flavor to the pretzel bites. It’s worth it. Promise. Once the pretzels are fully covered in butter and toppings, enjoy them hot. They definitely do taste best eaten right away. We also like dipping them in cheese sauce or this yummy honey mustard sauce

  • Dipping sauce: 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard and 2 Tablespoons honey

Perfect Recipe to Bake with Kids

If you’re looking for a particularly kid-friendly recipe, this one is it. You can mix up the dough with your child or ahead of time and then after the dough’s first rise, let them help you roll the pretzels into logs, cut them up into bites and brush with the baking soda mixture. Kids can be so hands-on in this recipe and they love brushing the tops of the pretzels with melted butter and toppings at the end…not to mention eating them! Definitely check this recipe out if you are looking for a fun afternoon baking with your kids.

Double the Recipe to Make a Batch of Pretzels Too

While I am partial to the pretzel bites, this dough does make delicious pretzels too. My kids seem to love shaping the pretzels and playing with the dough, so I often double this recipe and shape half into pretzel bites and let them shape the other half into pretzels. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece and shape into a U. Fold over, twist around and then bring the ends down and pinch into the bottom part of the dough (see pictures for visual). Brush with the baking soda wash, bake for 9 minutes at 500 degrees, brush with melted butter and toppings and you have some delicious sourdough discard pretzels. These pretzel are yummy and fun for kids to make, though I really am partial to the pretzel bites; the perfect chewy, “pillowy” goodness in one bite.

Sourdough Pretzel Bites Make the Perfect Snack

Sourdough discard pretzel bites are the perfect snack. They are small, perfect to feed a crowd and absolutely delicious. I love how easy these are to customize so everyone can enjoy their perfect pretzel bite. Go find that sourdough discard in the back of your fridge and enjoy an ethereal soft, crispy sourdough discard pretzel bite. Yum!

Pretzel Bites with Sourdough Discard

Crispy, chewy and delicious pretzel bites made with sourdough discard. Perfect for a crowd or a snack. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 32 pretzel bites

Ingredients
  

Pretzel Dough

  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard or bubbly sourdough starter, 145 grams
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water 175 grams
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 5 grams
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 7 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt 5 grams
  • 2 cups all purpose flour* 285 grams, plus more for rolling

Baking Soda Wash

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda

Toppings

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt for topping
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese if desired
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar if desired

Instructions
 

  • To a large bowl or to bowl in a stand mixer, mix together the sourdough discard, water, sugar, instant yeast, salt and flour.
  • Knead by hand about 5-8 minutes or knead in a stand mixer for about 5 minutes until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. Add a little more flour as needed. The dough will still be sticky, but not overly sticky. Pinch off a piece of dough and roll it into a ball in your fingers. If it forms a ball with minimal sticky residue left on your fingers, you can stop adding flour. Check out a few other tips for kneading dough here.
  • Lightly oil a bowl or container (affiliate link) and turn the dough around in the bowl to cover it lightly with the oil. Drape a kitchen towel or some plastic wrap over the bowl and let dough rise for 1-1 ½ hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once dough has doubled in size, flour a counter with 1-2 Tablespoons flour and punch down the dough. Turn it out onto the floured surface and separate into 4 sections.
  • Roll each section into a long strand and cut each strand into 6-8 pretzel pieces. Place each pretzel bite on the parchment paper.
  • Heat ½ cup of water in the microwave until almost boiling. Add 1 Tablespoon of baking soda (it will bubble up a little) and mix together. Make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved before proceeding.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush each pretzel bite with the baking soda/water mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the pretzel bites rise for about 10-15 minutes (usually the amount of time it takes for the oven to preheat) before baking.
  • Bake the pretzel bites for about 8 minutes until crisp and lightly brown on the outside.
  • While the pretzel bites are baking, melt the unsalted butter and prepare any toppings (salt, parmesan cheese, cinnamon sugar).
  • As soon as the pretzel bites are baked through, remove them from the oven and brush with melted butter. Continue adding butter until all of the butter is on the pretzel bites. It may seem like a lot of butter, but keep adding it for the best taste and flavor.
  • Top with salt, cinnamon sugar or parmesan cheese and enjoy immediately.

Notes

*Flour: You may need more or less flour than called for in this recipe depending on the percentage of flour and water your sourdough discard has. Check for readiness of the dough by rolling the dough into a ball in your fingertips. If it forms a ball with just a little sticky residue on your fingers, you can stop adding flour. If it is very sticky, add a little more flour about a Tablespoon at a time.
Substitutions: Bubbly sourdough starter can be substituted for sourdough discard. Alternatively, if you don’t have sourdough discard on hand, the discard can be omitted and you can increase the flour to 2 1/3 cups the water to 1 cup of water in the recipe. Keep the other ingredients the same.
 
Keyword pretzel bites, pretzels,

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Croissants For A Home Baker

I lived in Europe for six years as a kid. My love for all baked goods started young at the neighborhood bakeries and small supermarkets that sold fresh-baked pastries and bread. Almost every Saturday morning we would head downtown to shop at the bigger grocery store in town. While there, we would stop at the bakery counter and take home 20-30 of the most delicious, fresh chocolate croissants. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. We always ate one right away and my mom would bring the rest of the croissants home and freeze them for breakfast to be eaten throughout the week…with a large family they didn’t last long.

Jump to Croissants for the Home Baker Printable Recipe

Adventures in Making Croissants

I’ve often thought fondly about those chocolate croissants, but the process of making croissants has seemed out of reach for a home baker like myself…until recently. I decided there’s no time like the present and threw caution to the wind which resulted in my elbows deep in croissant dough. My first time through an entire recipe was filled with many laughs, a few tears and lots of fun with my 10 year old as we scoured recipes and tried to figure out the exact timing of the art of preparing croissants. The process took a couple days longer than we’d originally planned thanks to not reading a recipe correctly. Oops! We sure enjoyed those croissants, though…piping hot out of the oven at 10 PM on a school night (thanks to our “timing”). Every time we’ve made croissants since then we’ve learned, refined and fixed the errors we had made before until we’ve been able to get a pretty darn perfect croissant.

The Best Croissants Take Time

As far as time goes, this is one of the more intense recipes on my site. Making croissants takes time and effort, and it is not necessarily easy. After making them for the third time, with comments of “These are the best croissants I’ve ever eaten” and “When are you making these again?” I decided to share the recipe with you and give you the opportunity for croissant rock-star status too! Just fair warning…read all these tips and the recipe beforehand and break it into pieces. The recipe itself is not hard, just time consuming. That being said, you are only a few days away from the most amazing croissants…ever!

I love seeing all those beautiful layers of hard work

Two Days-Minimum

This recipe is going to take you at a minimum two days. The first day is very hands off. The second day requires you to be home to work with the dough every hour or so for about half your day. Prepare for this! If you go on to bake your croissants the second day, you will have a wonderful dinner. If you want to take three days to make the croissants, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and shape in the morning OR shape the croissants and immediately freeze them. Allow them to rise the morning of the 3rd day for a rockstar-status breakfast. This gives you the flexibility to have croissants whatever morning you want.

Dough after its final turn and ready to rest overnight in the fridge

Start With a Poolish

Building the croissant dough begins with a poolish. Poolish is a french type of “preferment” (according to King Arthur Flour, “a preferment is a preparation of a portion of a bread dough that is made several hours or more in advance of mixing the final dough“). It is more liquid and not stiff. Using a poolish deepens the flavor of the croissants. The longer the dough develops, the more complex the flavor. A poolish also gives extensibility to dough which is especially important for croissants because you are constantly working the butter into the dough and handling the dough much more than you would for a traditional loaf of bread. A poolish-based dough will often have better oven-spring than a dough formed without a poolish, and it can slightly extend the shelf-life of a bread. You may be tempted to cut corners when working with a long and complicated recipe. The poolish is not one of those corners to cut.

What Does it Mean to Laminate Dough?

The process of laminating dough may be unfamiliar. It takes some getting used to. I’ve found it helpful to have a measuring tape readily available and out as I was laminating my croissant dough. The first step of the lamination process is creating a block of butter that you will be rolling out and folding between the layers of your dough. I found the best results for my butter block when I added a little bit of flour on top of the butter. This helps keep the butter from sticking to a rolling pin and makes the process more seamless. Once you add the butter to the dough and fold the dough on top of the butter, you are turning the dough. Every time you roll out the dough and fold it over is considered a turn and creates beautiful layers of butter throughout the dough. This is called lamination. Laminating the dough is what gives croissants a unique, flaky, buttery goodness. This recipe calls for laminating the dough three times. You could do more or less if you want to try that, but I personally like the amount of layers that three turns provide.

Favorite Croissant Fillings

If you like plain croissants, these will not disappoint. If you like filled croissants, these are amazing. I especially love the savory combination of gruyere cheese and smoked ham. It is the best croissant I have ever eaten. I also love almond flavor, so adding a little bit of almond paste to my croissant dough and rolling it up is also heavenly. And there’s nothing like the perfect chocolate croissant. I take a few pieces of dark chocolate and add them to the croissant dough and it brings me right back to my childhood croissants…except maybe better. No matter what you fill them with, these are sure to knock your socks off and bring you to rockstar croissant status! Enjoy!

Jump to Croissants for the Home Baker Printable Recipe

Step By Step Directions With Pictures:

Day 1

Poolish (2-3 hours)

  1. In a microwave safe, medium-sized bowl, warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm to the touch. It should feel like baby’s bathwater (not too hot as this can kill the yeast).
  2. Add the yeast (look for the yeasty smell to make sure your yeast is active…this happens within a minute or so of adding instant yeast).
  3. Mix the flour into the milk/yeast mixture, forming a thick batter. 
  4. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. Let poolish rise until doubled in size, at least 2 hours.

Dough (20 minute mix, refrigerate the dough overnight)

  1. Add the poolish to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add room temperature milk, yeast and sugar. Mix with dough hook. Add the salt and melted butter.
  2. Add flour a cup at a time and mix with dough hook. After the flour is incorporated, pick up a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball. If it rolls into a ball and isn’t super sticky, you can stop adding flour. If it is overly sticky and doesn’t form a ball, continue adding flour a bit at time and mixing. This helps to avoid over-flouring the dough. 
  3. Knead the dough with the stand mixer for 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let it mix. A long kneading period helps the gluten develop. You can check this post for more information on how to test for readiness of dough.
  4. After the dough is kneaded, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate the dough overnight.

Day 2

Butter Block (10 minutes)

  1. Pull 5 sticks of butter out of the fridge. 
  2. Line the sticks of butter in the center of a row on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the butter.
  3. Pull one side of the parchment paper over the butter. Using a rolling pin, hit the butter to flatten it and meld it together to form a butter block. Continue hitting the butter until it flattens. 
  4. Roll the butter into an 8 by 12 inch rectangle (I use a measuring tape to help guide me). Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lamination (30 minutes active time, 3 hours refrigeration/freeze)

  1. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a light dusting of flour. Use a measuring tape to guide you and set it to 18 inches at the top of your parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge.
  2. Roll the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Place the butter block in the middle of the rolled out dough so that the butter block aligns with the top and bottom of the dough.
  3. Fold the left side of the dough over, covering the butter block. Repeat with the right side of the dough, folding over on top of the left side. Pinch together any seams so the butter is fully encased in the dough.
  4. Rotate the dough 90 degrees or a quarter turn and roll out the dough to a 28 by 12 inch rectangle. 
  5. Fold the dough in the same manner as above, folding from the left side ⅓ and then the right side ⅓, resulting in about a 9 by 12 rectangle. This is your first fold.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  7. Second fold: After 1 hour, pull the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, repeat the process of rolling the dough out to a 28 by 12 rectangle and folding the dough over. Wrap again and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  8. Third fold: Repeat the same process as the first and second fold. FREEZE for 1 hour. At this point you can continue freezing the dough for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use the frozen dough, pull it out the night before you intend to use it and put it in the fridge before shaping. After 1 hour, pull the croissant dough out of the freezer and proceed with shaping.

Shaping Croissants (20 minute shaping, 2-3 hours proofing) 

  1. Line a couple baking sheets (my favorite baking sheets found here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare any fillings you plan on using (sliced cheese, sliced ham, almond paste or chocolate, etc...) by cutting or breaking them into small pieces or slices.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 30 by 10 inch rectangle. 
  4. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half so you have two sections 30 by 5 inches.
  5. Cut each 30 by 5 inch section into 6 pieces, resulting in six 5 by 5 inch sections.
  6. Slice each 5 by 5 inch section from corner to corner, resulting in a small triangle. Starting at the base, roll the triangle up to form a croissant. Place on a baking sheet.
  7. If you want to add a filling, place the filing at the base of the triangle and roll up, forming the croissant shape. You can also roll the 5 by 5 inch square up (cinnamon-roll-style) with a filling inside (ie: chocolate, almond paste) if you want a larger croissant. Continue with this process until all the croissants have been shaped.

Egg Wash/Rising/Baking

  1. Let the croissants rise, covered for 2 to 3 hours until puffed up and almost doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Whisk together the egg, heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash.
  4. Bake croissants for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. After ten minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven for an even bake and continue baking another 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Allow croissants to cool slightly before digging in. Enjoy all your hard work!

Croissants for the Home Baker

Buttery, flaky and downright delicious, these croissants are amazing. The entire process takes 2-3 days, so plan accordingly. This is the printable recipe, but I highly recommend reading through the blog post and pictures to give you an overview if you are new to croissants, before beginning.
Prep Time 2 d 12 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine French
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Poolish

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Croissant Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups milk room temperature or lightly warmed
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 6 cups all purpose flour may need an extra 1/2 cup
  • all of the poolish

Butter Block

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 sheet parchment paper

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Croissant Fillings (optional, depending on the fillings you choose)

  • 24 slices Gruyere cheese and Smoked Ham
  • 1 bar chocolate
  • 1 block almond paste

Instructions
 

Day 1

    Poolish (2-3 hours)

    • In a microwave safe, medium-sized bowl, warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm to the touch. It should feel like baby’s bathwater (not too hot as this can kill the yeast).
    • Add the yeast to the bowl (notice the yeasty smell to make sure your yeast is active…this happens within a minute or so of adding instant yeast).
    • Mix the flour into the milk/yeast mixture, forming a thick batter. 
    • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. Let poolish rise until doubled in size, at least 2 hours.

    Dough (20 minute mix, refrigerate overnight)

    • Add the risen poolish to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add room temperature milk, yeast and sugar. Mix with dough hook. Add the salt and melted butter.
    • Add flour a cup at a time and mix with dough hook. After the flour is incorporated, pick up a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball. If it rolls into a ball and isn’t super sticky, you can stop adding flour. If it is overly sticky and doesn’t form a ball, continue adding flour a bit at time and mixing. This helps to avoid over-flouring the dough. 
    • Knead the dough with the stand mixer for 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let it mix. A long kneading period helps the gluten develop. You can check this post for more information on how to test for readiness of dough.
    • After the dough is kneaded, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate the dough overnight.

    Day 2

      Butter Block (10 minutes)

      • Pull 5 sticks of butter out of the fridge. 
      • Line the sticks of butter in the center of a row on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the butter.
      • Pull one side of the parchment paper over the butter. Using a rolling pin, hit the butter to flatten it and meld it together to form a butter block. Continue hitting the butter until it flattens. 
      • Roll the butter into an 8 by 12 inch rectangle (I use a measuring tape to help guide me). Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use. See photos in blog post for step-by-step guide.

      Lamination (30 minutes active time, 3 hours refrigeration/freeze)

      • Prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a light dusting of flour. Use a measuring tape to guide you and set it to 18 inches at the top of your parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge.
      • Roll the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Place the butter block in the middle of the rolled out dough so that the butter block aligns with the top and bottom of the dough.
      • Fold the left side of the dough over, covering the butter block. Repeat with the right side of the dough, folding over on top of the left side. Pinch together any seams so the butter is fully encased in the dough.
      • Rotate the dough 90 degrees or a quarter turn and roll out the dough to a 28 by 12 inch rectangle. 
      • Fold the dough in the same manner as above, folding from the left side ⅓ and then the right side ⅓, resulting in about a 9 by 12 rectangle. This is your first fold.
      • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
      • Second fold: After 1 hour, pull the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, repeat the process of rolling the dough out to a 28 by 12 rectangle and folding the dough over. Wrap again and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
      • Third fold: Repeat the same process as the first and second fold. FREEZE for 1 hour. At this point you can continue freezing the dough for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use the frozen dough, pull it out the night before you intend to use it and put it in the fridge before shaping. After 1 hour, pull the croissant dough out of the freezer and proceed with shaping.

      Shaping Croissants (20 minute shaping, 2-3 hours proofing) 

      • Line a couple baking sheets (my favorite here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
      • Prepare any fillings you plan on using (sliced cheese, sliced ham, almond paste or chocolate, etc..) by cutting or breaking them into small pieces or slices.
      • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 30 by 10 inch rectangle. 
      • Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half so you have two sections 30 by 5 inches.
      • Cut each 30 by 5 inch section into 6 pieces, resulting in six 5 by 5 inch sections.
      • Slice each 5 by 5 inch section from corner to corner, resulting in a small triangle. Starting at the base, roll the triangle up to form a croissant. Place on a baking sheet.
      • If you want to add a filling, place the filing at the base of the triangle and roll up, forming the croissant shape. You can also roll the 5 by 5 inch square up (cinnamon-roll-style) with a filling inside (ie: chocolate, almond paste) if you want a larger croissant. Continue with this process until all the croissants have been shaped.

      Egg Wash/Rising/Baking

      • Let the croissants rise, covered for 2 to 3 hours until puffed up and almost doubled in size.
      • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
      • Whisk together the egg, heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash.
      • Bake croissants for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. After ten minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven for an even bake and continue baking another 8-10 minutes. 
      • Allow croissants to cool slightly before digging in. Enjoy all your hard work!

      Notes

      This recipe takes 2-3 days to complete. Plan accordingly. I highly recommend reading through my blog post and looking at the pictures before beginning if you have never made croissants before. This will help you get an overall feel for the process before starting.
      Keyword croissant

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      The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

      I had big dreams this year of planting a large beautiful garden and watching it grow all summer long. This did not happen. My big beautiful garden did not grow very well this summer (thank you bunnies, weird weather and a somewhat last-minute long-distance road trip that kept me from tending to the garden much throughout the summer). I was hoping for big, beautiful zucchini to sautee as a side to any meal, turn into our favorite zucchini boats or make many loaves of this amazing zucchini bread. This zucchini bread is light, tender, fluffy and uses up some of the sourdough discard that I always seem to have lurking in the back of my fridge. Lucky for me, my local farmers market and grocery store carry lots of zucchini this time of year.

      Jump Ahead to The Best Zucchini Bread Recipe

      Sourdough Discard in Zucchini Bread

      If you have zucchini coming out your ears and sourdough discard taking over your fridge, this recipe is for you! I love using sourdough discard in recipes, not only for the little tang it gives but also because I’m not a fan of wasting food. This recipe uses ½ cup of sourdough discard directly from your fridge (you can also use bubbly sourdough starter) and it enhances the flavor of this delicious zucchini bread. If you don’t have sourdough starter, don’t worry. You can still make an awesome loaf of zucchini bread: Omit the sourdough starter. Add 2 cups of flour instead of 1 2/3 cups and 1/4 cup of milk to the batter. That’s it. I made both recipes side by side (pictured above) and both were delicious. You don’t need sourdough starter to make this delicious loaf, but if you have it on hand, it is the perfect way to use up some of your sourdough discard.

      Wringing Out the Zucchini 

      Did you know that 1 cup of chopped zucchini is made up of 90% water? Because of this high water content, it’s important to wring out the zucchini a bit before adding it to the recipe. The pictures below show the easy way I do this. Take a box grater, shred the zucchini and then use a paper towel to wring the zucchini. I give it about three squeezes over my sink and call it good. This little extra step will help your zucchini bread to turn out perfectly moist and delicious.

      Baking Temperature and Time

      One of the tricks I’ve learned over the years I’ve been baking is to bake quickbreads, like zucchini bread, at a high temperature for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to finish the longer bake time. The high heat helps activate the baking powder giving a nice lift and rounded dome shape to your loaf of zucchini bread. This zucchini bread takes about an hour to bake. I like to stick a knife or toothpick in the center to see if it’s completely baked all the way through. Depending on the temperature of your oven it may need more or less time.

      Quick Mix. Long Bake. Delicious Zucchini Bread

      Whatever way you slice it, this zucchini bread is delicious. It is tender, moist and perfect to gift this time of year. It is my kids’ favorite way to eat zucchini. They do eat other preparations of zucchini, though maybe not as willingly. If I only had to make one zucchini bread recipe for the rest of my life, this would be the one. It is that good! I hope you enjoy it too.

      The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

      Amy
      Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious, this zucchini bread recipe is perfect for using up garden zucchini and sourdough discard.
      Prep Time 15 mins
      Cook Time 1 hr
      Course Bread, Snack
      Cuisine American
      Servings 1 loaf of zucchini bread

      Ingredients
        

      • 1 lb zucchini
      • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
      • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon allspice
      • 1/2 cup sourdough discard
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
      • 5 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (sour cream can be substituted in a pinch)

      Instructions
       

      • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8.5 by 4.5 loaf pan (you can also use a 9 by 5 loaf pan) with parchment paper.
      • Wash 1 lb of zucchini and chop off the ends. Use a box grater (affiliate link) to shred the zucchini. Grab a sheet or two of paper towel. Add the shredded zucchini to the middle of the paper towel and wrap the zucchini up to form a ball. Squeeze the paper-towel ball of zucchini over the sink 2-3 times to wring most of the water out of the zucchini. Continue this process until you have 1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini.
      • To a bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Stir together with a fork until fluffy and combined. Add the zucchini and stir until the zucchini is spread throughout the dry mixture and thoroughly combined.
      • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out ½ cup of sourdough starter. Add the eggs, vegetable oil and greek yogurt. Stir well to combine.
      • Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork or spoon until just combined (over-mixing will result in tough zucchini bread and nobody wants that).
      • Pour the zucchini bread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. This helps ensure a nicely domed loaf of bread.
      • After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of the bread to check if it is ready. If it comes out clean with no streaks of batter, it is ready! If it has streaks of wet batter, bake it a little longer and check again.
      • Allow the zucchini loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pans. Move the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before digging in. Enjoy!

      Notes

      To make an absolutely amazing loaf of zucchini bread without the sourdough discard, omit the sourdough discard. Increase the all purpose flour to 2 cups. Add ¼ of milk  to the liquid ingredients before mixing with the batter.
       

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      Tomato Basil Bread

      I love tomatoes – on sandwiches, in Caprese salad and especially fresh from a summer garden. There is nothing quite as sweet or delicious as one of those first garden tomatoes of the summer. They are juicy, sweet and full of the best tomato flavor; not to mention things always taste a little sweeter when you haven’t had them for an extended period of time. This tomato basil bread is made with garden fresh tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes if you can’t get ahold of fresh tomatoes) which lends a subtle, sweet tomato flavor to the loaf.

      Click Here to Jump Directly to the Recipe

      Canned or Fresh?

      I have made this bread with both fresh roasted tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes. If you have an abundance of fresh garden tomatoes, I would roast them and use them in the dough. If you are savoring your few garden tomatoes one by one (can you tell our tomato harvest didn’t produce very well this year?), I would use canned tomatoes and top a slice of bread with a garden tomato. This bread also calls for sun-dried tomatoes. You can find these at your local grocery store and I’ve found that they really help boost the tomato flavor in the bread. If you don’t want a lot of tomato flavor, you can leave them out or reduce the amount called for in the recipe, but be warned: the tomato flavor will be very subtle without them.

      Fresh Basil or Dried?

      We just moved to a new house and the previous owners left a beautiful garden of herbs all along our deck. We have a giant basil bush that is producing basil left and right. I love the fresh basil in this recipe and the flavor it brings. With that said, I also love being able to use dried herbs when I don’t have any fresh ones on hand. You can substitute dried basil for the fresh basil, though if you can get your hands on some fresh basil, I would still try to add a little bit of it into this bread. There’s something about the taste of fresh herbs that just can’t be beat.

      Use a Blender

      One of the keys to this beautiful loaf of bread is using a blender to mix up the tomatoes, herbs and water to form a beautiful tomato sauce. The “sauce” takes the place of the liquid in your bread dough. Do your best to blend the mixture until it is very, very smooth. This will also add a beautiful orange color to your bread. If you’ve roasted fresh tomatoes (instead of canned), let them cool before blending into the sauce. Make sure the sauce is room temperature or just slightly warm before mixing it with the yeast.

      Tomato Flavor Deepens As Bread Cools

      This tomato basil bread is delicious the day you bake it, though I would recommend letting the bread cool completely before slicing into it. I’ve found that the flavor of the bread deepens as it cools. I like to slice my whole loaf of bread, stash it in a bread bag (affiliate link) and then freeze the slices I’m not going to use right away. I’ve found that the pre-sliced bread toasts up beautifully, directly from the freezer to the toaster,  for a sandwich or slice of toast over the next few weeks…if it lasts that long! My favorite way to enjoy this bread is topped with a fresh garden tomato or toasted as a sandwich. I hope you love it as much as I do!

      Tomato Basil Bread

      Amy
      A blend of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and herbs into a delicious loaf of yeast bread
      Course Bread
      Servings 2 loaves of bread

      Ingredients
        

      Tomato Basil Blender Mixture

      • 3 cups roasted chopped tomatoes OR one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
      • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
      • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes up to 1/4 cup more for more tomato flavor
      • 1/2 cup fresh basil or 2 Tablespoons dried basil
      • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
      • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1 cup water more or less

      Tomato Basil Bread Dough

      • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
      • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
      • 2 teaspoons salt
      • 7-8 cups all purpose flour

      Instructions
       

      Tomato Basil Blender Mixture

      • For fresh garden tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop tomatoes and add to a liquid measuring cup until you have 3 cups of chopped tomatoes. Spread tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes and allow to cool before proceeding with the recipe. Alternatively you can use one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
      • To a blender, add the roasted or diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes (if you absolutely love tomato flavor you can add up to ¼ cup more sun-dried tomatoes), basil, oregano, rosemary, salt and garlic powder. Blend until smooth.
      • Add as much water as needed (about a cup) to make 3 ½ cups of liquid. The amount of liquid in different types of tomatoes will vary. This is the easiest way to standardize the recipe. My blender has measurements on the side so I know exactly how much water to add. If yours doesn’t have measurements, you could add the tomato mixture to a large liquid measuring cup (affiliate link) or measure the liquid as you pour it into your mixer and add enough water to make 3 ½ cups. 
      • Double check that your tomato basil liquid is cool to the touch or lightly warm (you don’t want to do all that work and then kill the yeast). 

      Tomato Basil Bread Dough

      • To a stand mixer, add the tomato basil liquid, granulated sugar, yeast, vegetable oil and salt. Stir together. Using a dough hook, add the flour a cup at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and can be pinched off and rolled into a ball in your fingers with just a little bit of sticky residue left over. Check out this post for how to check for readiness of the dough.
      • Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. Add a splash of oil to a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning the dough around so it is covered lightly in the oil. 
      • Cover the bowl of dough with a kitchen towel and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. The temperature of your kitchen will affect how long it takes for the bread to rise.
      • Punch down the risen dough, turn out on the counter and cut the dough in half. This recipe makes two loaves of bread. Shape the dough into a rectangle with the smallest side of the rectangle facing you. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a cylinder shape. Take care to press in the dough at the seam after each roll and pinch the seam closed at the end.
      • Transfer the dough, seam side-down to a bread pan. I use an 8.5 by 4.5 bread pan (affiliate link). Repeat with the second loaf of bread.
      • Allow the dough to rise again for about an hour, covered and in a warm place. The dough should just rise a little bit over the top of the bread pan (it will rise more in the oven). 
      • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 37-40 minutes. Top with melted butter if desired. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing and enjoying.

      Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

      Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas.

      Easy Overnight Brioche

      Buttery, soft, crispy exterior with a super soft middle, brioche is eating bread that tastes like a croissant…with a lot less work. It is a rich, decadent bread that is perfect for toasting, slathering with jam or eating plain. I was accustomed to picking up a loaf of grocery store brioche to make french toast for my family on special occasions, but with this recipe, those grocery store brioche days are in my past. With just a little planning and the work of a stand mixer, you can have some amazing loaves of bread and will never go back to the grocery store stuff again. Promise!

      Use a stand mixer

      A little disclaimer: This recipe really needs the use of a stand mixer. Brioche dough is very, very soft and unlike other dough that you may have worked with before. I would not try to hand-knead this dough. It kneads for a very long time as it incorporates all the butter. My hands are also usually warm and warm hands trying to incorporate butter will end in a melty mess. Do yourself a favor and pull out a stand mixer.

      Brioche Dough is Unique

      The first time I ever mixed up a batch of brioche, I was a bit overconfident. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this dough was definitely different than dough I had worked with in the past. I thought I had ruined the dough because it was so sticky, wet and taking forever to incorporate the butter. I now know that this is the normal process of brioche and the refrigeration process helps to solve all of those issues.

      Why Should I Refrigerate Brioche Dough?

      After mixing the brioche dough for a long time…at least 5 minutes before adding the butter and then 15-20 minutes as you incorporate all the butter (yes, please use a mixer for this dough!), the dough will turn shiny and be sticky. Transfer the wet dough to a large bowl. You may think, “this can’t be right!” but it is! Cover the dough with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight (or up to 8 hours). While in the fridge the cold air helps solidify the butter and makes the dough more workable in the morning. The dough should be left in the fridge for 8 hours or up to 2 days. This long refrigeration time not only makes the dough easier to handle and shape but improves the flavor. Win-win!

      How to Shape Brioche

      Once you pull your dough out of the refrigerator, cut the dough into two loaves and then decide how to shape your bread. Add a little bit of flour (not more than a Tablespoon) to the countertop and place the cold dough on top. Work the flour in a bit and shape it. Some of my favorite shapes for brioche are pictured below:

      Alternate balls of bread in a loaf pan

      Cut into three pieces, roll into three long strips and braid

      Fill with cinnamon sugar (or other filling), roll up cinnamon-roll style, cut and twist

      Make 6-8 buns out of one loaf of dough, shape into balls and flatten with hand

      I do have a very good brioche burger bun recipe on my blog already, but I often will make burger buns out of whatever brioche dough I am making. In the case of this recipe, instead of shaping another loaf, I shape 6-8 buns out of the dough even if we won’t be using them immediately. If I’m going to take the time to make brioche, I may as well make some extra buns! The buns freeze so well, toast up beautifully and are ready to pull out anytime we decide to throw some burgers on the grill.

      Brioche Has a Longer Shelf Life

      Due to the high amounts of egg and butter, brioche has a bit of a longer shelf life than traditional bread. After a few days if we have brioche left over, I like to slice the remaining loaf and freeze it. When we want a piece, we will pull a slice out and toast it. We also use leftover brioche to make amazing french toast if the bread has been left out for a few days without being eaten. I usually have to reserve a loaf specifically for french toast because it doesn’t happen very often that we have leftover brioche. 

      A Little Planning for a Big Payoff

      Brioche takes more of a time investment than a traditional loaf of bread. I don’t find it difficult, just something to plan around. This recipe makes two loaves of bread. If you’re going to take the time, you might as well get two loaves out of it! I will often double this recipe for my Kitchen Aid Mixer (affiliate link, though if you are in the market for one I would make sure and check Costco before purchasing from Amazon: they have great deals!) and make four loaves. This gives me enough dough to shape some of my brioche into burger buns, some into loaves of plain brioche and gives one or two loaves of cinnamon swirl brioche. I always end up sharing a loaf too.

      Easy Overnight Brioche

      Yield: Two loaves of brioche

      Time: 40 minute mix/knead, Overnight refrigeration (8 hours to 2 days), 20 minute shape, 3 hour rise, 45 minute bake

      Ingredients:

      • ½ cup milk, warmed
      • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
      • 6 Tablespoons sugar
      • 2 teaspoons salt
      • 6 large eggs
      • 5 ½ – 6 cups all purpose flour
      • 1 1/4 cup (20 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
      • 1 egg (for egg wash)

      Directions:

      Day 1 (Evening)

      1. Warm the milk in the microwave (be sure that it is warm – not hot, or it will kill the yeast). 
      2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk, instant yeast and sugar. Check to make sure the yeast is activating. It will look a little bubbly and smell yeasty within a minute or two.
      3. Add the salt and eggs. Stir to combine. 
      4. With the dough hook running, begin adding the flour a cup at a time into the mixer. Depending on the size of your eggs, you will need a little more or less flour. The dough should be a little sticky and clear the sides of the mixing bowl. Mix well until all the flour is incorporated. Knead for 5 minutes.
      5. While the mixer is kneading, cut the butter into chunks. 
      6. Add the butter a cube at a time into the mixer, trying to place the butter right near the dough hook in the center of the bowl.
      7. Once all the butter has been added, knead the dough for 15-20 minutes. 
      8. As the dough kneads, the butter will incorporate into the dough and the dough will become glossy and smooth. It will also be sticky and a little wet looking. 
      9. After a long kneading process, transfer the dough to a large bowl (with enough room for the dough to double in size in the fridge). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours to rise. You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days.

      Day 2 (Morning)

      1. When ready to shape your brioche, pull the dough out of the fridge. Lightly flour a hard surface and turn the brioche dough out onto the floured surface.
      2. Cut the dough in half and set one half to the side for the second loaf.
      3. Line two loaf pans (my favorite here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
      4. Shape the brioche as desired.
      5. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place (not hot or the butter in the dough will melt). I like to choose a window or place the dough under a light to rise. Let brioche rise for about 3 hours until puffed up.
      6. Once the brioche has just about doubled in size, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
      7. In a small bowl, crack an egg. Add a teaspoon of water and whip together with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash lightly over the brioche.
      8. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Check on the brioche in the middle of baking. If it is browning too quickly, cover the tops of the loaves with a piece of foil to prevent further browning.
      9. Allow the loaves to cool before slicing into them. Enjoy!

      Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas.

      Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

      Dehydrating Sourdough starter: Long-Term Storage

      I love baking in general but sourdough has a special place in my heart. I have spent countless hours researching, experimenting and baking with sourdough starter. Sourdough is a labor of love and I still have a spark of joy every time I take the top off my dutch oven and see the “oven spring” in a beautiful loaf of bread. 

      What do you do when you need to take a break from your sourdough “baby?”

      Because keeping sourdough alive is such a process, (tips for maintaining your sourdough starter here), it can be a little disheartening to leave your “sourdough baby” when you have a vacation or you just want to take a little break from the daily or weekly feeding process. In the past, after months of successful baking, I have let my starter die because I didn’t know how to travel with it or store it properly when I needed a break from the daily feeding process (when I had my babies, job changes or moves, etc…). 

      This year I feel a particularly special connection to my sourdough starter. We’ve been through a lot together…COVID-19, my son’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis, “unintentional homeschooling,” and starting up this blog. We have baked a lot of good loaves of bread together. When I decided to travel across the country to visit family post-quarantine, I didn’t want to leave my sourdough starter behind. I knew I had to find a way to travel with it that didn’t have me stopping at gas stations every morning to feed my starter or having it confiscated at airport security for it being a “liquid.”

      Long-Term or Short-Term Sourdough Starter Storage

      Sourdough starter can be kept in your fridge with a weekly feeding and honestly it can usually keep in the fridge for up to a month or longer if you really “forget about it” (though I wouldn’t recommend it!). The best way I’ve found to travel with sourdough starter or to store it if you just need a little break from a weekly feeding is to dehydrate your starter. Once the starter has been dehydrated and placed in an air-tight container, you can store the starter in a cool, dry, dark location for many months…even years.

      How to Dehydrate Sourdough Starter

      1. If you have been feeding your starter at room temperature daily: Feed it like normal and wait until the starter barely doubles in size (usually 4-6 hours) and is very bubbly.
      2. If you have been feeding your starter weekly in the fridge: Feed your starter like normal and leave it on the counter. After 12 hours, feed it again and wait 12 hours at room temperature. Feed it for the third time and wait (usually 4-6 hours) until it is very bubbly.
      3. Once the starter is very bubbly (usually 4-6 hours after feeding), line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an offset spatula (affiliate link), spread the bubbly sourdough starter very thinly onto the piece of parchment paper.
      1. 4. Let the starter air dry for up to 24 hours. If after 24 hours the starter is not dry, try setting it in your oven with the oven light on. Make sure your oven is turned OFF. Turning the oven on will kill your starter. Leaving just the oven light on with the starter inside and the door closed will give off enough heat to help dry out the starter. Alternatively you can leave it out at room temperature to dry for another few hours.
      1. 5. Once the starter is completely dry, break it up into little pieces and place in an airtight container. Store in a dark, cool place for many months or up to a few years (Full disclosure: I haven’t stored my starter for years, but everything I’ve researched has shown that with proper storage a dehydrated starter will store for a long time).

      Travel. Take a Break. Mail some to a Friend.

      Once your starter is dehydrated and stored, go ahead and feel the freedom of traveling…or just not being tied to the feeding process. Sometimes you need a little break. Bring a little starter with you if you want to bake for family/friends you are visiting, or keep it in your pantry if you want a little break. You could even mail some to a friend who wants to make their own sourdough bread but can’t seem to figure out how to get a starter going. If you need tips for creating your own starter, check them out here. Once you are ready to bake with your starter again, start the re-hydration process. This will take about 2 days (48ish hours) to get your starter nice and bubbly, and is very dependent on temperature and climate, so plan accordingly.

      Dehydrated starter ready to re-hydrate (or store in an airtight container).

      How to Re-hydrate your Sourdough Starter

      Note: If you are in a new-to-you area and don’t know the properties of tap water (some tap water has small amounts of chlorine in it, which is not good for sourdough), feed your dehydrated starter with distilled or bottled water

      First Hour

      Choose a jar to rehydrate your starter in. Place the dehydrated starter into the new jar. Using distilled water (or water from a water bottle), cover the dehydrated starter with water. The water should just cover the dehydrated starter.

      1-4 Hours

      Stir the starter every hour for about four hours. Every time you stir the starter, notice how the sourdough is breaking down and the mixture is turning cloudy. After about four hours, the starter should be dissolved in the water. If it’s not dissolved, give it a little more time and keep stirring. Proceed once the starter is completely dissolved.

      4-16 hours (or overnight)

      Spoon about 1/4 cup of flour into the dissolved sourdough and mix to combine. Add more flour if the mixture is soupy. It should be the consistency of a thick batter. If needed, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to keep the mixture the consistency of a very thick batter. Let the mixture sit overnight or about 12 hours.

      16-28 hours Stir, Feed and let sit for 12 hours 

      Check on the mixture. Look for bubbles, activity and maybe even some hooch (a thin, sour smelling liquid on the surface of the starter). If the starter has bubbles and looks active, feed* it. If it doesn’t look very active, let it sit in a warm place for a little bit longer.

      *To feed the starter, discard 3/4 of the starter. Add 1/3-1/2 cup flour to the jar with the 1/4 cup starter remaining. Add a few Tablespoons of water and mix to combine to a thick batter consistency.

      28-40 hours Stir, Feed and let sit overnight (12 hours)

      Stir down the starter, pour off any hooch and feed the starter. Mark your jar and watch as the starter rises and falls.

      40-52 hours Stir, Feed and let sit for 12 hours

      If the starter hasn’t doubled in size yet, repeat the feeding process. Feed the starter. Mark the jar and watch for it to become bubbly and rise.

      Ready to use Again

      Once your starter is rising and falling predictably, it is ready to use! Location, ambient temperature, environment etc… will determine how quickly this process or re-hydrating works but your starter should be rising and falling within 48-72 hours.  

      Ready to bake with! One bowl of leaven and continuing to feed my starter.

      From this point, you are just a few simple ingredients away from some very, very good bread that won’t take you a week or more to make your own starter! If you are looking for some good sourdough bread recipes, check out some of my favorites here, here and here.

      Please share this post if you enjoyed it!

      Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas.