pretzel bread

double loaf p b

Until Monday night I thought I was horrible at making anything with active yeast aka bread.  I used to kill the yeast because the water I was using was too hot until the Family Consumer Science teacher explained to me that your body temp is 98 degrees, so you want to barely feel any heat from the water on your hand or wrist.

cheers bread

So with this advice and a few encouraging words from a friend, I made the pretzel bread recipe from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious while listening to episodes of Cheers and maybe sipping on a cold brew to off put the heat from the stove.   Obviously the bread turned out great and I brought some into work where folks enjoyed it with a grainy mustard and at home I made a fancy grilled cheese with it.

Below is the recipe with all of my notes but if you have questions feel free to comment or tweet at me @thehomemadegood.  Also, Libbie’s book has a ton of other great recipes in it and would totally suggest ordering it if you like this one!


single loaf

Pretzel Bread Recipe

adapted from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons warm water 115 F

1/2 cup warm milk (I used half and half)

3 tablespoons butter, melted and room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoon

3 tablespoons packed dark brown butter

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)

1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used 1/2)

1/2 cup baking soda (used for boiling the dough)

1 to 2 tablespoons of pretzel salt or rock salt

a large spider or slotted spoon

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, put the water, milk, butter, yeast, and brown sugar.  For ease of mixing, take a second and break up the packed brown sugar.  Mix until combined, then let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, or until it begins to foam.  Mix in the salt.


With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of flour and mix for 1 minute.  Continue to add the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a firm ball that is tacky, not sticky.  You want it to feel like the back of a post-it note.  Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl-you can keep it in the mixer bowl if you want.  Pour the oil over the dough and begin to flip the dough around a few times to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

dough risen

Using the stand mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium-low speed, until the dough has a satiny shine and is elastic.  While you can do other things during this time you want to make sure that you stay in the kitchen because my mixer slowly moved from one end of the counter to the other.  Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.  You can place it on the center of your stove top while preheating the oven to 400 F to possibly speed up the process.   You can also complete the steps below as your waiting for the dough to rise.


If you haven’t already, preheat the oven to 400 F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Slowly add the baking soda without stirring.


Working with one dough ball at a time, use a large spider or slotted spoon to slowly lower the dough ball into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds, turning once to make sure the complete surface of the dough has been covered with water.  Remove with the slotted spoon to drain and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the second ball of dough.


Make a cross in the top of each loaf using a sharp knife.  The dough looks pretty ugly at this point, but it will pop up and look gorgeous and tasty after baking.


Sprinkle the loaves with salt… lots of salt!


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the loaves are a dark golden brown, turning the sheet around once in the middle of the bake time.  Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and let cool slightly before serving.


funfetti, banana cream & oatmeal


I’ve been baking but apparently not really sharing it with you and I am so sorry because I’ve been whipping up some tasty treats.  A few weeks ago I made Funfetti Gooey Bars from my new favorite bar recipe website Crazy for Crust. I would not change anything about these bars. They were downright addictive.

banana cream pie

I made Dorie Greenspan’s Banana Cream Pie for a co-workers birthday and could not believe how well it turned out.  Making custard from scratch really freaked me out but I it was so worth the time and now when I serve whipped cream with my Grandma Mary’s Pumpkin Cake I will be adding sour cream.


chocolate chips and oatmeal


Yesterday I made oatmeal cookies and used the leftover white chocolate chips from the Funfetti bars and raspberry dark chocolate chips I had in the cupboard. I am trying to use all the baking supplies I have this month in order to clear things out before the holiday baking begins. I still have almond joy bites, junior mint minis and cappuccino chips to use, so if you have any recipe suggestions for those ingredients, let me know!



weekend love




Last weekend friends and I went bowling at Bryant Lake Bowl and it was a blast. We got there early at 6:30 pm and bowled three games. Our last game or frame we played the group next to us for desserts. We won but shared all of the delicious treats. This adventure bowling made me start thinking of other fun indoor activities that you can do with friends during the Winter (besides cocktail hour) and I was wondering if you all have any suggestions or favorite activities?


Getting ready for Thanksgiving and need a GF pie crust? Check out GF Girl’s recipe.


All of my knitting patterns are available on this website but you can also find them and the folks knitting them on Kollabora and Ravelry.


A September soundtrack and quick morning wake-up workout from The Four Percent.


Homemade Bloody Mary Mix recipe from Goop.


With the chilly Fall weather setting in don’t you want to sew or just snuggle up with one of these blankets.


When running I’ve been tucking my hands into my sleeves and have started writing a pattern for running mitts. Anything you’d like to have in a pair of running mitts?



october love


I am not sure where September went but October is here and I’ve already gone through 6 cans of pumpkin! I don’t plan to make anything pumpkin related this weekend because I think I’ll be spending most of my time knitting but what about you? Maybe you’re not into pumpkin, well I’ve got a few more recipes and things to do and read to share with you while you snuggle up to enjoy your lovely Autumn weekend.


A friend made a pizza with figs a few months ago and I’ve been looking for a simple baked good fig recipe since then and I think I found it in this Fig Almond Breakfast Cake.


I haven’t used the Bamboo Paper app yet but my colleague shared a document with me the other day using it and I think I might be in love.


A treeline stripped cardigan pattern from PurlBee looks like a great Fall sweater to wear and to knit.


You know I love to-do lists, so you know I’ll love the Brief History of the To-Do List.


Celebrate the change of seasons with 30 Ideas to Set the Autumn Mood.


This recipe for Homemade Ranch Dressing may make me change my position on using dressing on salads.


A print that should be in everyone’s home, office, wherever.


Carefree Caramel Cake has Fall birthday cake written all over it.




coo coo bananas

banana nutella muffins

Last week I purchased a bag of baking bananas, you know the more brown than yellow banana you can pick up at most grocery stores. I purchased it on Wednesday but the bananas weren’t quite ripe enough, so I waited till this weekend to go coo coo bananas in the kitchen.

banana nutella muffin

I made Banana Nutella Muffins on Saturday morning and while I was really excited to scarf one down as soon as they came out of the oven, I found that they needed a few hours to settle before they tasted really good. This is also a really great kids baking project since you get to mash the bananas and then swirl the Nutella in to each muffin.


I also made Maple Banana Mini-muffins but with a dash of cinnamon and I sprinkled turbine sugar on top.  This is a recipe that I’ve made before and will probably make another million times because it is so easy and it is the perfect late night, I only have one of everything in the cupboard recipe. I’ve got a few more bananas left. so I am going to make one more batch of banana bread from the Baked cookbook and I’ll share that with you all on Wednesday.

mixed berry scoffins

kitchen aid dry ingredients



My Grandmother loves the scones that they sell at our local Great Harvest Bakery but they are always out when she stops in to buy them or has to make a special trip in to town to get them.  I decided that while the scones are yummy it wasn’t worth her doing all that driving, so I made her knock-off GHB scones.  My Grams is one of my besties, so I was pretty pumped when she just called and told me they were better than GHB and that she couldn’t stop eating them. Also, the “scones” at GHB aren’t really scones they are more like a muffin top, so I call them scoffins (muffin + scone = scoffin).


2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup Old Fashioned or Regular Rolled Oats

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/3 cup Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 stick or 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (cold-keep in fridge till ready to use)

1 cup Evaporated Fat-Free Milk

4 oz Cream Cheese cubed (cold-keep in fridge till ready to use)

1 tsp Vanilla

1 to 1/2 cup Berries, I used the Frozen Mixed Berries from Trader Joe’s

mixed together



Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Add sugar all dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and whisk together. Drop the cut butter on top of the flour mixture and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the butter is about the size of small peas, about 3 minutes.


Add Vanilla, Evaporated Milk to the bowl and mix just until the dough comes together. If the dough does not come together or is too dry, don’t worry the juice from the berries and cream cheese will add moisture. The dough will be thick but moist. Stir in the Mixed Berries and Cream Cheese.

unbaked scoffins



Using an ice cream scoop or spoon drop dough on baking sheet.  They won’t expand too much so you can put them pretty close together, about 8 per sheet.


baked scoffins



Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, I always rotate pans halfway through but it isn’t necessary.  Enjoy your scoffins!

strawberry rhubarb crumble

rhubarb fresh from the garden

Two weeks ago I came into two large containers of strawberries and due to the heavy rains had more rhubarb than one person needs, so I made crumble to share with friends.

beer baking

Since I had so much of everything, I doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 in pan instead of a pie pan.  However, I did not have a lemon on hand. So I looked at my friend Katie who helped me prepare the crumble and was sipping on a Honey Weiss and asked her to crack another one open and I used about half the can as a substitute for the lemon juice.


Everyone raved about the crumble and I have to say I think the beer was really what made everything work.  I will be making another today to bring with me to Chicago and I’ll let you all know what they think about it there. Below is the beer version of the recipe.


Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble adapted from Honest Fare




For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sugar in the raw
1 stick, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon


For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped (1-inch pieces)
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup of citrus flavored beer, I used Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt




Preheat the oven to 375 F.



Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.




rhubarb and strawberry


Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, beer, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (9×13 in pan if recipe is doubled).


crumble topping


Remove topping from refrigerator. If it has settled into one giant mound, rough it up a bit with your hands to create the crumbles again. Cover fruit thickly and evenly with crumble (and don’t forget to get the edges good).

unbaked topping


Place pie plate on a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes. If your crumble starts to get too brown, but the fruit isn’t quite bubbling yet, cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking until it does.


bake crumble


For more rhubarb recipes, check out my all about rhubarb post.

banana stand

I planed to publish this post on Monday but due to travel brain I forgot, but it is too good not to share!


“There’s always money in the banana stand.”  Oh man, that may be my favorite Arrested Development quote.  And in honor of the shows return I thought I would share a few banana recipes you could chow down on during your AD marathon today.



Banana Ice Cream, which you can make into Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches


Banana Maple Bread Bites


Chocolate Banana Bread


Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes


Banana Cream Pie


Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Bites


image via Yana Paskova for The New York Times

classic cream scones

scone with glaze


A few weeks ago a friend let me borrow his snow shoes, so I wanted to bake them something to say thank you. I would usually make bars but I’ve been on such a decadent treat kick that I needed to simplify things a bit, so I went with scones.


The original recipe is called Lemon Cream Scones from Kim Laidlaw’s Home Baked Comfort but in the footnote she mentions that you can drop the lemon juice and add currants instead to make Classic Cream Scones.  However, I didn’t have curants either, so I swapped in orange flavored dried cranberries and for the glaze I used orange juice instead of lemon. I would make these scones again tomorrow and can’t wait to experiment with different fruits.

scone in hand

classic cream scones (adapted from Kim Laidlaw’s Home Baked Comfort)


3 tbsp granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup of dried cranberries


mix all together


Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Add sugar and sifted flour, baking power and salt into the bowl of a mixer and stir together. Drop the cut butter on top of the flour mixture and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the butter is about the size of small peas, about 3 minutes.


Add 3/4 of cream to the bowl and mix just until the dough comes together. If the dough does not come together or is too dry, add more cream. The dough will be thick but moist. Stir in the dried cranberries.


Dump the dough onto a floured work surface.


flattened dough

Gently press into a disk about 3/4 inch thick.

wedges of dough

Cut into 8 equal wedges. I recommend using a pizza cutter instead of a knife.

dough on baking sheet

Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart.


Brush the scones with cream.

baked scones

Bake until the scones are golden brown, 15-17 minutes. Serve with jam and or butter.


Optional Glaze, seriously optional I don’t think the glaze did anything for the scones.

2 tsp of orange juice

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar.

Stir together the confectioner’s sugar and 2 teaspoons of orange juice. Brush or drizzle the glaze over the scones.

choose your own adventure


From Friday evening till Monday afternoon I was at a cabin in Rhinelander, WI (home of the Hodag) enjoying the outdoors, eating delicious meals and playing multiple rounds of my new favorite game Celebrity. It was a so much fun and the perfect opportunity for me to try out a few new cookie and bar recipes. Above are all the ingredients I used to three different types of cookies, a rice crispy treat and a mini cereal bundt cake and over the next few days I’ll share all of the new recipes.

peanut butter chocolate chip cookie

Frist, ingredients used peanut butter chips and dark chocolate chips. The difference between this and other peanut butter cookies is that there is no peanut butter in the dough, instead I mixed in peanut butter chips. The cookies turned out great and I would make them again, possibly with sea salt on the top. The recipe for Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies is below and don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see what ingredients were used next!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour- I use cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

10 oz dark chocolate chips

10 oz peanut butter chips


Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.


Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes.


Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.


Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips. Refrigerate for at least one hour.


Heat oven to  375° F. Drop by rounded tablespoon or ice cream soup onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, keep the cookies on the cookie sheet for 1-2 more minutes, remove from cookie sheet and let cool on wire rack.