Tag Archives: baking

Last-Minute Gift for Bakers… Plus, A Cookie Decorating Party!


Christmas is approaching fast. Really fast.

That may not be news to any of you, but the fact that Christmas is only about a week away is hitting me pretty hard at the moment. Let’s just say that I have a friend (just a friend, definitely not me) who has barely started getting ready for Christmas yet. This crazy lady hasn’t finished buying gifts, hasn’t wrapped a thing, and hasn’t even thought about baking yet. Yup, what is she thinking?

Anyway, enough about my friend.

Today, I wanted to share a fun idea for any bakers on your list. It’s perfect if you are still looking for something at the last minute like me… Errr…. Like my friend! It will all arrive from Amazon.com via Prime shipping. Is free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime not the best thing ever? That friend I was telling you about? Sometimes she orders shampoo from Amazon so she doesn’t have to run to the store. True story.

(Legal stuff… No, they aren’t paying me to say that… I pay for my own Prime membership. But, my links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Back to the gift idea… Continue Reading

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread


Do you know what it’s like to be hungry? Really hungry?

I’m not talking about when you get home from work and raid the pantry because you’re “starving” and can’t wait for dinner.

Nope. I’m talking about real hunger. I’m talking about going to bed at night without having anything to eat. I’m talking about not knowing where your next meal is coming from or how you are going to provide food to feed your children.

I’m fortunate that I am not in that situation. I’ve never truly been in that situation. But, it is something that tugs at my heart strings… It tugs hard, and it always has. Since having my daughter, though, I find myself thinking about it more and more.

What if I didn’t have food for her? What if she had to go to bed hungry at night?

Poor nutrition causes nearly half of the deaths in children under 5 years old – 3.1 million children every year.

It breaks my heart to think about it… And, it breaks my heart that there are mothers and fathers out there who are living with that reality every day. They are people just like me who have just been dealt a slightly different hand in life.Continue Reading

Soft Sourdough Rolls


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

When you think of sourdough bread, you most likely think of a crusty, chewy loaf with a distinct sour flavor. It’s perfect for slathering with butter or dipping in a bowl of soup. You can even slice it up and make a sandwich out of it or use it for panini.

All of that is fine and good. I like crusty sourdough bread as much as the next person. But, sometimes I don’t want crusty and chewy. In fact, I find that I tend to reserve crusty and chewy for the cooler months of the year. When summer rolls around, I start to want a softer, lighter bread.

Light and soft rolls are especially nice for grilling season… I find that hamburgers and hot dogs are best with a nice soft roll. After all, there’s a reason the store bought ones are generally soft.

So, when I started working on a new sourdough recipe for Red Star Yeast a few weeks ago, my goal was to find the best of both worlds… I wanted light and soft rolls for the summer that had a bit of a sourdough taste. I’m happy to tell you that these rolls fit the bill.Continue Reading

Honey Wheat Bagels


We’ve had an unusual number of chilly, snowy days this winter.  In the last few years, I have often designated snowy days as my baking days in the kitchen. Preheating the oven just seems to take the chill out of the air… And, a few freshly baked treats don’t hurt either.

While I don’t quite have the freedom to spend a whole day baking like I used to, I’ve still managed to get in some snowy day baking this winter… I’ve taken advantage of nap time and worked ahead on my chores to get a few extra hours in the kitchen when snow was in the forecast.

What was I baking? Well, I’m glad you asked… I have been working on this recipe for honey wheat bagels for Red Star Yeast! Surprisingly, I am pretty new to bagel baking. I’ve done my share of baking over the years, but bagels always seemed to slip through the cracks. Early in January, I finally got around to trying out a bagel recipe from The Sophisticated Gourmet that I’ve had bookmarked for years. Kamran’s recipe was fabulous. I made it twice. Once I had a feel for it, I decided to try to mix it up and make my own version using some whole wheat flour and honey.

After a period of trial and error (and trial and error and trial and error…), I’ve come up with a recipe that I’m pretty happy with. Everyone else in my family has been pretty happy with them, too. (Yes, that includes both the toddler and the yellow lab. The are sisters, and they love to share.)


While I originally attempted the recipe with all whole wheat flour, I’ve found that adding some traditional bread flour back in helped the bagels to have that nice chewy bagel texture that we all love. I also chose to use white whole wheat flour because it has a more delicate flavor that I think pairs beautifully with honey. I not only made them plain, but I’ve added chocolate chip and made a cinnamon raisin version. Each variety turned out well, and they were all gobbled up quickly.

Of course, my favorite way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese and jam. Not one or the other… Both. Seriously… Give it a try sometime.


Want to give the recipe a try? Great! I’ve got plenty of photos to help you along the way (along with a tutorial at the end on how to add mix-ins like chocolate or raisins).  Of course, if you’re looking for even more help, I’d recommend checking out this Baking Steps Guide from Red Star Yeast… They’ve got great information to get you started so that you’ll be on your way to freshly baked bagels in no time! Of course, you can always connect with Red Star Yeast (@RedStarYeast) or with me (@JenSchall) on Twitter… We’d be happy to answer your questions!


Honey Wheat Bagels
Makes 8 bagels
(Inspired by The Sophisticated Gourmet)

  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
    (Note – Red Star Dry Active Yeast will work, too… It will just rise a bit more slowly.)
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • Water (for boiling)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons additional honey (optional)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the bread flour, salt, and yeast. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the warm water (approximately 110°F) and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Add the liquid to the mixing bowl. Fit the mixer with the beater attachment, and beat for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-low, until the mixture is smooth.


Switch to the dough hook, and gradually add the white whole wheat flour. Add about 1 ½ cups and let the dough knead on the slowest setting for a minute or two. If the dough still seems very sticky (this will depend on the weather and other factors), add an additional ½ cup of white whole wheat flour. Continue to knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, an additional minute or two.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume and the imprint of two fingers remains when pressed lightly into the dough.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover again with the damp towel and let the dough rest for 10 – 15 minutes.


While the dough rests, prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

After allowing the dough to rest, shape each piece into a smooth ball and then press your thumb down into the center of the ball to shape the dough into a bagel shape. Transfer the bagels to the prepared baking sheet, and cover the bagels again to let them rest for an additional 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a teaspoon or two of honey to the water (optional). Gently place the bagels into the boiling water, a few at a time. Let the bagels boil for 90 seconds before flipping them over to boil on the other side for an additional 90 seconds. Transfer the bagels back to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. Let the bagels cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Want to add some mix-ins to your bagels? It’s simple! Before dividing the dough into 8 pieces, simply flatten the dough into a rectangle roughly 10 inches by 16 inches. Sprinkle your mix-ins (cinnamon, raisins, dried blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.) on the dough and then roll it up into a long roll. Then, cut the dough into 8 even portions and let it rise before shaping the bagels.


My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Cranberry Sticky Buns


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sticky buns on Christmas morning are a tradition in my family.  When I was growing up, there was a sweet woman in our church who would deliver freshly baked sticky buns each Christmas Eve for us to enjoy on Christmas morning.  After my family moved, my mom kept the tradition going, baking sticky buns herself and dropping them off for us to enjoy.

Over the last few years, I’ve started doing the baking myself.  After one taste of the famous sticky buns at Flour Bakery in Boston, I started making the brioche buns from the cookbook each year. They are always a hit. They’re super rich, so I only make them once a year for Christmas.  But, oh, they are worth it!

This year, I decided to mix it up a bit and work on a new recipe of my own.  I stuck to brioche for the rolls, but I scaled back another recipe that I’ve made in the past. The original recipe made enough brioche to feed an army, so I cut back the recipe to make just enough to fit in a 9 by 13-inch pan.  To make the buns just a bit more festive, I decided to fill them with cranberries and pecans and make a sticky cranberry topping (instead of the usual pecans).


It took a few tries to get it right (too much dark sugar, not enough cranberries, you get the picture), and I’ve eaten far too many brioche rolls in the past few weeks, but the resulting recipe is definitely a new favorite. The brioche has just a bit of orange zest to compliment the cranberries. And, the cranberry topping is the right balance of sweet and tart.  My family (who quickly became my taste testers when they were visiting a few weeks ago) loved the rolls, and I’m rather smitten myself.


In addition to developing a new recipe for our annual Christmas sticky buns, this recipe will also be featured on the Red Star Yeast website. Instead of baking one of their recipes this month, they asked me to create one of my own!


As always, I’ve included step-by-step photos of the recipe to guide you while you are baking. It’s not often that I will tell you that you need a stand mixer to bake bread, but I’d highly recommend it when you are baking brioche.  A hand mixer won’t cut it, and doing it by hand requires a lot of elbow grease. Of course, I’m always happy to answer your questions, and you can always reach out to Red Star Yeast on Facebook and Twitter, as well!

So, tell me… What are your family’s traditions? Do you have a favorite recipe that you make each year? Or, are you looking for something new this year?


Cranberry Sticky Buns
Makes one 9 by 13-inch pan, 12 rolls
(Loosely adapted from the Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook and Baking & Pastry)

For the dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

For the topping:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup eggnog (or cream)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

For the filling:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and orange zest in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Whisk to combine.  Add the milk and eggs. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and mix on low speed for 3 – 4 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.


Continuing to mix on low speed, gradually add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until the butter is incorporated into the dough before adding more. Once all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium (I use the 3rd setting on my stand mixer) and mix for 15 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and shiny.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.


The next day, prepare the topping for the rolls. Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally, cooking until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce starts to bubble slightly.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggnog (or cream). Let cool for 30 minutes.  Then, pour the topping into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan and sprinkle the cranberries over the topping. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, combine the cranberries, pecans, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor.  Pulse until the cranberries and pecans are well chopped and all of the ingredients are combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  The dough will feel a bit like cold play dough. Roll the dough out into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Spread the cranberry filling over the dough and roll up starting with the long edge.


Cut the roll into 12 even slices, and place the slices cut-side up in the baking pan, nestling them down into the cranberries and topping. Cover the pan with a damp towel, and let the rolls rise until slightly puffy, about two hours.


As the rolls finish rising, preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake the rolls for 40 – 45 minutes, until the tops are a deep golden brown. Let the rolls cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before inverting each roll individually to serve.


My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Please Note – The links to the Flour Bakery + Cafe and Baking & Pastry cookbooks provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase the cookbook (or another item) after purchasing on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!