Cranberry-Oat Sourdough Scones

My brilliant, talented, and beautiful niece R moved into her dorm at Berkeley this past weekend. I wanted to send her off with something as sweet as she is, yet also, like R, health-conscious and a little unconventional. (OK, these scones aren’t quite what I’d call healthy, but I tried.) I love you R!

To make sourdough scones, I consulted recipes for buttermilk scones (from Tartine and King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking), substituting sourdough starter instead of buttermilk to contribute acidity and liquid (as well as a good proportion of flour) to the dough. The result was a lighter, moister, less crumbly scone than those typically found in coffee shops around here. Not as exceptional as R herself, but still pretty good.

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Crisp Sesame-Semolina Flatbreads

thin sesame-semolina flatbreads

It will be a long time before I buy crackers again.

Flash back to two hours ago: I need to decide on a flatbread for this month’s BreadBakingDay. Our host Petra (Chili und Ciabatta) has mandated no pizza. Pitas are out, because I just posted about those last month. I’d like to try Ehtiopian injera, but the 3-day fermentation doesn’t fit into my schedule just now.

I’m really in the mood for something thin, crisp, flavorful but not overly complex. And quick. I thumb through the newest addition to my baking library, Savory Baking from the Mediterranean, by Anissa Helou. The Sardinian Crackers (Pane Carasau) look interesting, and the wheels start turning.

What if I add sesame seeds to the dough, as Helou suggests as a variation? How about making them black ones, to add a bit of visual punch? I wonder if I could use a pasta roller to make them super-thin, and wouldn’t baking them on a stone make them super-crisp? And I’m thinking just a bit of olive oil and coarse salt would work well for topping.

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Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers)

Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers)

Oh my goodness. When my daughter went to Sevilla, Spain two summers ago, she brought back some tortas de aceite, the crisp, lightly sweet olive oil wafers traditionally made there, and I was in love.

Imagine my delight when, paging through Penelope Casas’ excellent La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain, I found a recipe for tortas de aceite that calls for leftover bread or pizza dough. I had that leftover dough! And in short order, I had those tortas. I was in love all over again.

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Grissini (Thin Bread Sticks)

Grissini bouquet

If you think you can’t bake bread (which is probably a false notion, by the way), grissini are a sure-fire way to fast success.

These thin bread sticks could not be simpler to make. If you love playing with dough, you’ll get plenty of opportunity here. And who doesn’t love their eminently nosh-able crunch, not to mention the visual panache a bouquet of these babies adds to the dinner table?

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Sourdough English Muffins

Wish I was an English muffin
‘Bout to make the most out of a toaster
– Simon and Garfunkel, “Punky’s Dilemma”

Sourdough English Muffins

If you want to make the most out of your toaster, lose the Thomas’ and grace it with these instead.

Inspired by several talented bakers at The Fresh Loaf who have produced various takes on the English muffin in recent months, I finally could stand it no longer, and had to try them for myself. I see why they have been so popular. The bang for the buck is tremendous; they could not be easier, yet the result is outstanding.

The recipe uses just the amount of starter I’m “discarding” from my evening feeding, so I don’t even have to have planned ahead to make them (always a bonus in my world). Ferment the sponge overnight, and it’s a simple affair in the morning to mix and cook them.

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Sourdough Bagels

I am a morning person. If I’m still in bed at 6:30, even on a weekend, I’ve slept in. I love the stillness before the other creatures in my household are stirring, and sometimes I just spend it over the crossword puzzle and a cup of coffee. But if I’ve started bagels the night before, I have some work to do. Just a little, though: boil and bake, and I’ve got these wonderfully chewy gems in time to take to work, or to welcome my family as they trickle out of bed.

Sourdough Bagels

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