Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

June 2, 2010 in bread, cheese, Food Porn


We are making loads and loads of homemade raw goat milk cheese (chevre) around here. Because of this I have to find new and exciting ways to USE the goat cheese, hence today’s recipe.

The bread comes out delightfully herby, cheesy, and moist. Super delicious. This bread keeps well in the refrigerator and goes fantastically well with red meat as a side.

This bread is a definite keeper for me!

I made a video on how to make chevre cheese, see below. Its certainly not the best video out there but it gets the job done! Sorry that my voice over is not more fetching!

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread
Adapted from Joy of Cooking Cheese bread recipe (pg 749, 1997)


  • 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3 packages of active dry yeast (make sure its absolutely fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups home cultured raw goat milk kefir, medium thickness
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups raw homemade goat cheese (chevre)
  • handful of fresh oregano, minced
  • handful of fresh dill, minced


Mix together: flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add kefir and melted butter. This part could be difficult if you are hand mixing (much easier if you are using a stand mixer). As you mix, its possible that this amount of kefir may not be enough. This depends on the dryness of your flour! You will need to keep adding kefir until the dough comes together just right (not too dry and NOT too wet). The knead the dough (hand/mixer) for a good 10 minutes or until it is delightfully elastic.

Put dough into oiled bowl (make sure top of dough is oily too), cover with plastic, and let rise 90 minutes.

In the mean time, prepare your cheese filling.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Mix your goat cheese with your herbs.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and split it in half.

Roll out half the dough into a rectangle, not too thin.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Take half of the cheese mixture and spread it out onto the dough rectangle.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Roll it up.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Pinch it closed.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

You now need to go to the next rise. Put the dough in a bread pan, seam side DOWN.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Oil and cover with plastic, rise for 90 minutes.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Put into a 350 F oven for 40-45 minutes until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread

Raw kefir chevre (goat cheese) bread


Be sure to keep this bread in the refrigerator (due to the cheese).

Its amazing simply toasted (under a broiler, not in a toaster), try it!

Sous Vide Bread, I know its odd

March 30, 2010 in bread, product


Today I am sharing the results of an experiment I recently did while I had access to a trial Sous Vide Supreme unit.

To the point, I wanted to see what happened when I used this hot water bath for making bread, something that would not take advantage of quite a few aspects of oven baking.

Some of those are:

  • dry heat of the oven evaporating moisture from the surface of the dough which leads to gradual drying of dough surface but also, initially, cooling of the dough surface by evaporative cooling
  • the slow raising of temperature as is requested in my original recipe (put dough in cold oven then turn onto 400, allowing for final proof/loft in the oven which gives excellent bread)
  • the creation of a temperature differential between the surface of the bread (crust zone) and the interior
  • the creation of a brown crust due to the Maillard Reaction (where high temperatures cause intermolecular bonding between proteins and sugars and gives rise to the browning), absent in sous vide cooking

This is not the first time that I have played with this machine, I wrote previously about Sous Vide here – St. Patricks day brisket – sous vide style. That brisket was simply amazing! Sous vide cooking is excellent for applications where long slow cooking or really finicky temperature regulation is needed (fish, rare meat preps, etc).

Just as a reminder, sous vide means “under vacuum” and when people refer to this method they usually mean the use of vacuum and hot water bath cooking.

To do this experiment, I used a recipe that I have used many many times before from the Joy of Cooking and specifically the Whole Wheat bread Plus recipe found on page 559 of the 1997 edition.

JoC Whole Wheat Bread Plus


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional)
  • 4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour

Set the sous vide bath temperature to 190 F (if you set it a bit higher, let it get there, and then set temperature to final desired temperature you may have better results). This is the temperature mentioned by bakers as the target finished internal temperature.

Add yeast and sugar to 1/2 cup warm water, allow to rise 10 minutes. If it doesnt get foamy and smell yeasty, do not go forward with this recipe until you get fresh yeast.

After 10 minutes, add everything but the flour and beat until incorporated.

Add 4 cups unbleached white flour and incorporate.

Add 4 cups whole wheat flour and incorporate. At this point you will be kneading the flour into the dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth.

Rise in a warm place for 90 minutes (doubled) just once.

Bunch down dough and then form smallish baguette shaped loaves and then proceed with experimental part of this recipe, below.

Put dough into sous vide bag.

Sous Vide Supreme: experimental bread

Seal bag and pull a vacuum.

Sous Vide Supreme: experimental bread

Put into sous vide machine and leave for about 1 1/2 hours. You will have to prod your bread at times, perhaps even open the bag and check the internal temp or moistness of the bread to get a feel for what is going on.

Sous Vide Supreme: experimental bread

Remove bread and this is what you get.

Sous Vide Supreme: experimental bread just out of bag

I sliced them in half and then toasted them to make a sort of garlic bread concept.

Sous Vide Supreme: experimental bread - toasted

The bread came out like bread which was the main hack. The exterior doesnt have a nice crust because of the method but it didnt come out slimy, just sort of springy. Might be a great way to make bao?

The crumb was dense and not as flavorful as this recipe can yield.

So, I made bread in the sous vide but I wont again because the baking in the oven yields a superior result that cant even be recaptured via toasting.

Homemade non-kosher matzoh

March 20, 2010 in baking, bread, Food Porn


Sometimes a recipe inspires me to jump up, spend way more energy than I have, to make it immediately. This recipe today was that for me.

I watched Mark Bittman’s video on making these non-kosher matzoh which seemed quite easy to make and they look fantastic.

There are several things which make a matzoh kosher (and then another layer of rules to make it kosher for Passover). These include the composition of the flour used, the type of liquid used, the careful handling of the dough so that it doesnt begin to ferment, the time from starting to make the dough to the time of baking (18 minutes max), and supervision by a rabbi.

I think this recipe is likely non-kosher in every way except the use of relatively pure flour. Bittman says that this recipe is essentially the same as Sardinian “carta musica” or “pane carasau” although this recipe for matzoh is not baked twice.

If you live in the USA and are not Jewish you may not know much about matzoh other than that you have likely seen matzoh in the stores around this time of year – this is because Passover is coming!

In very short – Passover is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the escape of the Jews from slavery to the Pharaoh in Egypt. A ritual meal is eaten on the first night of Passover, called a seder. For an extensive description of this meal visit this wikipedia link – Passover Seder.

Remember that Jesus was Jewish so it makes sense that what is celebrated in the communion rite of the Christian Mass as the Last Supper was actually a passover seder, which it was. In art that depicts the last supper you often see hunks of bread but the reality is that the bread at the last supper would have been unleavened bread like matzoh.

In some ways, it was a masterful stroke by the writers of Christian theology to add meaning to the already heavily ritualistic and extremely important Jewish holiday by adding the ritual of Jesus giving bread as his body and wine as his blood – the mystery of the transubstantiation.

Think about the communion wafer or eucharist – its a flat unleavened wafer barely recognizable as bread and much more like a matzoh.



A handmade and expensive especially kosher matzoh called a shmura matzoh


The machine made matzoh that you see in stores.

Homemade olive oil matzoh

Homemade non-kosher matzoh (This is Mark Bittman’s recipe)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sea salt, optional


Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Put flour, salt and olive oil in a food processor. Once the machine is on, add water. Continue to run the machine until the dough forms a firm ball, rides around on the blade and is not at all sticky. (If you prefer, whisk together the water and oil and add this to the machine all at once.) [This is the way Bittman does it in the video. I put the water and oil in a canning jar, put on the lid and shook the heck out of it, well emulsified that way]

Cut the dough into 12 small balls — this is easiest if you cut the ball in half, then half again, then into thirds — and flatten each into a 3- to 4-inch patty. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll each patty into a 6- to 8-inch circle. The shapes can be irregular, but the dough should be so thin you can almost see through it.

Put the dough on ungreased cookie sheets, sprinkle with sea salt if you like, and bake for about 2 to 3 minutes, keeping a very close eye on the breads — they can burn very quickly. Once they begin to puff up and brown, flip and cook for another minute or so on the second side. Repeat with all the dough and let cool completely.

Yields 12 servings.

Whole Wheat Kefir Crumpets

February 2, 2010 in bread, Food Porn, recipe


I recently got a starter batch of kefir grains from Wardeh at Gnowfglins. She too has her own herd of dairy goats and also works hard to give her loved ones whole and wholesome foods.

Her kefir grains have been amazing, quite vigorous, and the kefir delicious!

What is kefir?

Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. This symbiotic matrix forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower. Many different bacteria and yeasts are found in the kefir grains, which are a complex and highly variable community of micro-organisms termed probiotics.

How to pronounce “kefir”:

It is NOT “Keeee-fer”

its “Kuh-fear”

I have made my own goat buttermilk in the past and have been struck how much like buttermilk kefir can be (except for the yeast smell). For this reason, I immediately thought of using kefir in baking and breads. I have yet to make a bread with kefir but I do plan on it.

Today I am sharing a recipe for whole wheat kefir crumpets that I made up and found to turn out to be quite excellent.

I recommend buying crumpet rings if you want to make the proper size. I didnt have rings and I could not find biscuit or cookie cutters anywhere (mysteries abound here).

Instead, I used, the horrors, canning jar rings because I just could NOT wait until the budget allowed to order crumpet rings.

Whether you use the proper crumpet rings or any other sort, be sure they are well greased and well heated in your pan before using. This helps the crumpet batter to not stick to the rings, they will pop right out.

If you do not have real kefir (alive, made at home, not the sterile stuff in the store), use real cultured buttermilk in its place.

Whole Wheat Kefir Crumpets

Whole Wheat Kefir Crumpets


  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water + 1/4 cup warm water if needed to adjust
  • 1 cup medium thick kefir (or buttermilk)
  • 2 pks or 4 1/2 tsps yeast
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

To 3/4 cup whole wheat flour add 1 cup warm water and yeast, mix and proof until fluffy, about 20 minutes or so, do not let it over-proof (would smell alcoholic).

Add 1 cup medium thickness kefir (or buttermilk), remaining flour, baking soda, salt, to the foamy yeast/flour base and then mix well. 

Add 1/4 c water as needed to make medium thin batter.

Spray rings with non-stick spray or oil them. 

Heat rings in medium hot pan with some oil.

Add batter to rings until about 1/3 full.

Cook until dry bubbles on top, watching for any burning.

Flip, remove rings, cook until light brown or golden.

Allow to cool.

Slice in half and toast interior.

Slather with butter and load up with delicious jam or preserves or many be clotted cream!

Whole Wheat Kefir Crumpets