Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baking bread in the snow

Since it's now February, silly northwest Oregonian that I am, I thought that the wicked wintry weather was behind us. Yet, on the day that I planned to prune my apple tree:

...this is what I saw when I looked outside:

And it kept coming down, all day long:

So I amended my plan of the day and decided, instead, to do something with all the various ingredients that had begun to gather on my counter:

I've had enough of sourdough experimentation for a while and have recently become interested in baking with different types of flour:

I found a recipe on the Bob's Red Mill site that intrigued me: Gruyere Rye Buns. I'm not a fan of caraway seeds and most of the rye bread I've seen has this in it, so I loved that this recipe gives me the opportunity to experiment with rye flour without that nasty seed getting in the way.

I've included the recipe for these buns is at the end of this post - these were very fun to make!

Bread with cheese is wonderful. I've rarely met a cheese I didn't like. Gruyere is yummy:

The dough remained very sticky and was a bit awkward to work with:

But it rose beautifully in my pretty wooden bread bowl:

The tops of the buns were brushed with olive oil and egg yolk before baking:

A few of the tops got a bit browner than I would have liked, but the flavor is delicious and the texture moist and light:

Because this recipe calls for a mix of rye and white flour, the rye flavor in these buns is extremely mild. It is a nice change from traditional wheat flour:

p.s. Note to Farmer Jen: Hey, Jen, look what I found:


Recipe: Gruyere Rye Buns

2 Tbs Yeast, Active Dry
2-1/2 cups Warm Water (110 - 115 degrees F)
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp Sea Salt
4 cups White Flour, Unbleached
2 cups Rye Flour, Light (unbleached)
2 cups (8 oz.) Gruyere Cheese, divided
2 Large Eggs, separated
2 Tbs Cornmeal, Medium Grind
2 Tbs Olive Oil

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil, honey, salt, 1 cup unbleached white flour, 2 cups rye flour, and 1 cup cheese to yeast. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into dough.

Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the boil. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl; turn to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over the dough. Knead the cheese into the dough slightly – there should be large streaks of cheese visible in the dough. Cover with a towel and let rest on the work surface for 5 minutes.

For crispier buns, sprinkle well-seasoned baking sheets lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 24" long rope. Cut each rope into 10 equal pieces. Place buns 3" apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten the tops so they’re about 2" high; cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Just before baking beat egg yolks with olive oil and brush over the tops and sides of the buns. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the buns reaches 190°. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on a rack.

Makes 20 buns.


  1. I am quite sure dribble all over your Keyboard is not good for it!
    But that Bread looks y-u-m!

  2. Well, first off. Can I just say that thats a whole lotta baking stuff there? I LOVE that pic. It looks so farm girl...especially all those delightful eggs in that bowl. The varying shades of brown.....Sigh.

    And cheese. I could just eat the cheese. So to put it in bread? Thats like a match made in heaven.

    Totally yummy. Im just sayin.

  3. Im so hungry right now. That looks so good!

  4. Those look amazing. Cheese & bread, yum.

  5. Your buns are beautiful! :)

    And I totally covet your wooden bread bowl! I am so happy that you found a source for wheat gluten. Cool to have you mention me in your blog post. Now you can experiment with gluten too. Thanks for the bun recipe. I've not tried baking with rye flour yet, but I have heard that it does create a more sticky dough than wheat flour.

    We got 4 inches of snow here last night with more expected tonight. Very wet and cold here today.

  6. You shared two of those rolls with us. They were truly amazing! Light and fluffy inside, and satinly, (is that a word? Like satin, I mean.) crusty and golden outside. The cheese flavor was just a hint, not overwhelming, but noticeably delicious. Quite the masterpiece. And I have to have one of those wooden bowls! In one of those, I'm sure, even the breads that haven't, WILL rise for me.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and the result.

  7. I went back to re-read your post after I left my first comment, and spied the metal hen that I sent you supervising your bread ingredients from the windowsill. Made me smile really big. Then I noticed in the next photo, that you have a Cow with Sunflowers potholder or towel or photo that is almost exactly the same as my Cow with Sunflowers magnet that I have had on the inside of my front door for several years now. I cracked up out loud when I noticed that cow in your photo. You like many of the same things that I do. Makes me happy to know that Danni.

  8. Danni those look so good. I am not a big fan of rye but these might be worth a try. So sorry for the snow. We had a little but it didn't stick. My daffodils have popped their little green heads through the soil so I think spring might be thinking about coming.

  9. I like most foods, but given the choice of cheese or rye bread, I make the same choice you did! Looks like you had a wonderful "snow day".

  10. You've got great looking buns!

    That plum tree looks like it ought to be a whomping willow from Hogwarts...I'd be afraid to prune it!

  11. They look delish, danni. We finally caught up with your weather here in MI. Please tell me you're currently experiencing a balmy 70 and will be sending it my way??

  12. I want that. That and that and that. I want all of it. I want!

  13. This recipe is going into the "do" file right away. Looks scrumptious!

  14. Now they do look yummy, but I just can't understand why no one comes up with any Peanut bread recipes.

  15. I know I left a post. It was quite thoughtful as well---full of good things to say, advice and praise.
    I'm repeating it, because I feel it was very important....
    "You had me at Gruyere'". Quick, Danni, what movie is that from? Hint: Last movie Tom Cruise did that wasn't a big waste of money to go see.

  16. Ohhh I love bread and cheese! And Bob isn't too bad with his Red Mill and all!

    I use vital wheat gluten everytime I make my whole wheat bread.

    I'm gonna have to try those buns, I've got the rye, now I'll need to get the cheese and not eat it all before it goes in the bread! Kim

  17. Woooooo, that bread is gorgeous!! I'll have to try this recipe :)

  18. Rachel Ray who??? Iron Chef who????
    I want to see the Danni cooking hour in an igloo from Oregon...syndicated too of course !!!!

  19. You have almost inspired me to bake bread.....which i do not do well and have given up for years now!

  20. I just left a perfectly lovely and satisfying dinner, but now all I can think about is cheesy bread. Yum. . . And these photos are just incredible!

  21. Danni, where the heck are ya? Is everything okay? Just taking a break?

  22. Hey, it's been eight (8) days since your last entry! Have you abandoned your adoring blogging fans?


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