Bread baking day

“The key to successful baking is just to enjoy it. Don’t fuss, don’t stress, and don’t try to make it ‘perfect’.”
Kathleen King

Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread A Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread from Baking for Friends by Kathleen King flooded our home with warmth and happiness yesterday! Kathleen’s baby, Tate’s Bake Shop needs little introduction. Iconic in the US, a must stop over in New York. The shop is called a ‘destination … worth putting miles on the odometer’ by the New York Times, and her books a must have on the kitchen shelf!

The creator and owner of the acclaimed Tate’s Bake Shop has an inspiring story. She began her baking career at eleven, selling her all-natural baked goods off a card table on her family’s farm.  Her award winning cookies are now sold at over 5,000 gourmet retailers throughout the US.

Tate's Bake Shop, Baking with Friends by Kathleen KingI got down to baking the day I received my copy for review! First Milk Chocolate Brownies, then little Chocolate Raspberry Tarts! If the feedback from the teens is anything to go by, the book is a winner!  I connected with Kathleens style of thinking and writing almost instantly. The little snippet before each recipe, the reaction to a test bake, her sons comment on his first bite of the Hurricane Irene Cookies, “Oh, don’t give these to anyone” …  all part of my everyday life as a home baker! Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread It’s a tough {read delicious} cookbook to put down. The very idea of an Apple-Italian Plum Deep Dish Pie had me swooning. Then came  PUMPKIN recipes!!! Sometimes I wish I lived in canned pumpkin country as Kathleen offers a number of winners now that Fall is here. For those who can grab a can, the book is full of delectable options – pumpkin apple cake, pumpkin whoopie pies, two-recipe pumpkin pie, pumpkin mousse pie … and more!

Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread

Yesterday I was bitten by the Bread Baking Day bug, and though I had some itty bitty yeasty ideas, they radically changed. It was time for tea bread from my new fave baking book! {Sorry the post is a day late but I have had a plethora of internet issues with the service provider, Firefox etc. Now experimenting with Google Chrome!}   Baking with fruit from Baking with Friends, PearsThe book has something for everyone. Since I love baking with fruit and since it was Bread Baking Day yesterday, the Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread was my pick! It baked as I furiously punched away at my keyboard, the house filled with the most amazing bakery aromas. Tate’s Bake Shop must feel like home!!

Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread

Did I tell you I did everything from scratch that morning? Made a big batch of butter, then saw the recipe had applesauce listed.  Was tempted to substitute but what the heck!! Had a bowlful ready in a matter of minutes and I think that might be the secret of this moist tea bread! Chocolaty, moist and fruity …. it tasted even better the next day!

Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread

The Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread is part of the Fetish Fridays at Javelin Warrior.

The book has an interesting chapter on “health & lifestyle baked goods” which includes gluten free and vegan recipes. The book is therapeutic because it connects the baker in me to the bake shop, the beginnings of the success story, touches base with reality and makes you believe in the goodness of natural, home baked comfort food. For me, more so after the rather pathetic recent experience of Rose Cafe. I needed some sense of reaffirmation in bakeries and cafes, and this was it! Baking with fruit from Baking with Friends

Baking for Friends is much more than a book of recipes. It’s about the sweetness of connecting with the ones you love. Kathleen welcomes you into her kitchen in the Hamptons, debuting more than 120 delectable, easy-to-bake recipes—from plump scones and muffins to mouthwatering pies and tarts to scrumptious gluten-free treats. Kathleen shares precious time-saving tips, designed to help you breathe easy in the kitchen without sacrificing taste.

Tate's Bake Shop, Baking with Friends by Kathleen King I did a few other bakes which should show up here on PAB soon. The first was a batch of Milk Chocolate Brownies as I was curious to see how they fare since I am a dark chocolate person. I never buy milk chocolate {as a rule} but the hub got me a few bars from HKG and they weighed heavy on my conscience.

Milk Chocolate Brownies Baking with Friends, Kathleen KingKathleen convinced me to try them, and they were winners in my kids eyes. Fudgy, chocolaty and indulgent, well worth the bake. The lad even inquired if I had added melted chocolate on top {which I hadn’t}, and the continued to unwrap the little parcels like a birthday present!Milk Chocolate Brownies Baking with Friends, Kathleen King And then I made these absolutely sinful little Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets. The book has one large chocolate tart in a chocolate pastry base. I used another pastry recipe from the same book and made mini tarts. Absolutely divine!! The recipes also include a buttermilk pastry dough which is used extensively through the book. I’ve bookmarked it to try it next! Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets Baking with Friends, Kathleen King In celebration of the highly anticipated release, Tates has partnered with KitchenAid to sponsor a Baking for Friends Bake-Off on Facebook. Join the Baking for Friends Bake-Off contest on the Tate’s Bake Shop Facebook Page.  Put your own spin on one of Kathleen’s recipes, then supply a photo/recipe for a chance to win $1,000 or a KitchenAid Artisan series stand mixer.

I can also offer readers of Passionate About Baking a  $5 discount on the cookbook from the website. The discount code is BAKEOFF, which entitles you to $5 off a copy of the book .

[print_this]Recipe: Chocolate-Pear Tea Bread


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Summary: Delicate pears, brown sugar and butter come together with dark chocolate chips to make a specially delicious  moist and flavourful quick tea bread. A delightful fall special from ‘Baking with Friends‘ by Kathleen King.Serves 10

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 210g {1 3/4 cup} plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g {1/2 cup} unsalted butter
  • 115g {3/4 cup firmly packed} brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce {recipe follows}
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 400g pears {about 2 cups diced} or 2 large {or 3 small pairs}, chopped
  • 150g {1 cup} dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly butter a (9 X 5 X 3 loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
  3. With an electric beater, whisk the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one by one, followed by vanilla  extract and applesauce
  4. On low speed beat in the flour mix.
  5. Fold in the chopped pear and chocolate chips with a spatula, and transfer batter to prepared tin.
  6. Even out the top and bake for about an hour until tester inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Let it cool in pan for ten minutes. Then gently invert onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper. Gently turn right side up and leave to cool completely before slicing {we couldn’t resist it of course!}

Recipe: Applesauce

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Summary: Basic applesauce recipe. Makes about 1 cup.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 Apples, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp water {as required}
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice


  1. Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. {I cooked it for 3 minutes in the microwave and then another 2 minutes. Did not add any water}
  2. Mash the mixture using a potato masher or an electric mixer until it is smooth.
  3. You can add a dash of cinnamon if you like. I didn’t


This recipe featured on Huffington PostDark Chocolate Recipes

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“Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread; there may be.”
David Grayson
This month’s Bread Baking Day theme is Breads with a Twist! It’s been a while since I posted a bread, and when I saw Natashya’s call on FB, I said YES, count me in!! Ever since of course, the twist has been haunting me and coaxing me into baking bread. Power cuts galore held me back. Its been days of incessantly hot weather and long hours of power outage … global warming, power mismanagement, 46C+ … with the mercury rising & the situation worsening, the baker in me weeps!
Suddenly day before yesterday was a better day than others. We actually celebrated that the outage was just for 4 hours and not 8!! Yes, we truly bend backwards and count the small blessings in life, even if it means not getting power for 4 hours. So with things looking up, I got up early to get this bread dough going. It was what I wanted to bake for Natashya. It was a braid, it was pretty, it was sweet and it was from Julia’s gorgeous blog Melanger in Melbourne. A lady very talented, who got married recently. Now we happily have Mr Melanger who adds fine recommendations to her recipes as well. It takes 2 to tango, and in Melbourne they are doing a pretty good job!
Enough said, it was time for bread. I used to love doing braids, as in ‘plaiting tresses’! Am a bit out of practice as I haven’t been near braiding for a good 4 years. Until the daughter wasn’t a teen, she had lovely long locks which I used to French braid in a matter of minutes every morning before she left for school. Even her friends used to line up for me to braid their hair at times. Her braids were the talk of school, until the dreaded teenage years hit her! Braids were now history, and we faced Medusa’s locks! We now have untidy locks of unkempt looking hair, in her eyes all the time… so you can imagine how nostalgic it was for me to braid bread! Always a twist to fate and I set off very confident-ally to give the dough a French twist. Needless to say, it didn’t work out, ended in Greek tragedy, and I ate humble pie. The dough didn’t like my attempt, so it was kneaded right back, into dough, and divided into 3 ropes.

A simple braid was rising soon enough, got some conditioning from an egg white wash, got dressed up with some almonds, and rose to the occasion for Natashya @ Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. I used chai spice flavouring to spice the dough, a spice concentrate that I got from our trip to Mahabaleshwar. It lent mild spice flavour to the dough… cinnamon, cloves, cardamom; all subtle but like a gentle hint of goodness. I accentuated the chai spice flavours by adding a few drops to the icing on top, and it tied up the loaf nicely. I love the way it rose and baked gorgeously.
Bread Baking Day is a monthly celebration of bread baking all over the world, created by Zorra of Kochtopf . Read more about Bread Baking Day and access the previous roundups on her blog. This month’s Bread Baking Day theme is Breads with a Twist hosted by Natashya.
This bread is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast and has been ‘Yeastspotted’.

Adapted minimally from Julia @ Melangor
{I made half the recipe below, 1 biggish braid}
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
10 gms fresh yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 drops chai spice
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups plain flour
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, beaten
Almond slices, toasted

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add one teaspoon of sugar and let stand for 5 minutes until yeast foams.
To the yeast, stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, chai spice, eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups).
Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add 3 more cups of the flour and beat well. Add the melted butter and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff (you may not need all 5 cups).
Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled. About 1 hour.
Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 30 cm strand. Braid 3 strands into a loaf. Lift the loaves onto baking sheets lined with greaseproof paper. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Brush each loaf with egg white and sprinkle with almond slices along the centre of the braids.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom can brown easily.
When cooled, drizzle with icing.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3tbsps hot water
2-3 drops chai spice
Mix till you get a thick and pourable icing. Adjust with extra sugar or water as required. Drizzle over the bread once baked.
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“Bread is the warmest, kindest of all words. Write it always with a capital letter, like your own name.”
…from a café sign

Yay…finally managed to bake bread. No mean task these days. We live in the so called millennium city, but have suffered unannounced power outages this winter from 4 hours to 6 hours daily, sometimes even more. It’s bad enough for a daily routine, but spells desperate times for the baker in me.
But bread I had to bake for Jamie who is hosting Zorra of Kochtopf’s Bread Baking Day #26. Bake something special for Jamie’s special BBD theme –“Baking Bread for a Birthday Party”! How could I go to her birthday empty handed? So began the search for a suitable bread!

Didn’t have to look far because my current obsession made me reach out for Ottolenghi… a book that is possibly the best & most used one that I own. The fact that Jamie also has the same book, adds to the connect. {Add Hilda & Meeta to this explosive package, & you have the Ottelenghi sistah’s!! YAY}.

My attention was held by the Sour Cherry & Walnut Stick. I just had to make this. The pictures in the book are moreish. Bread that called my name because it looked so artisanal. Fitted in with my ‘Ten in 10′ resolution too… as it had healthy flours in it! Of course we have very limited flour varieities available here, so I substituted a bit here & there. Was thrilled to see buckwheat flour in the ingredients. I had buckwheat!! Yippee…
The Ottolenghi bread is much darker in the picture cause they use country brown flour. I used a combination of all purpose, whole wheat and buckwheat flours. Didn’t have sour cherries so used dried cranberries instead. The bread was wonderful. I made it over a 2 day period. Did the first rise & kept it in the fridge overnight to get a quick start the next morning. Worked fine, though I think warmer weather will give me a lighter, more airier crumb & texture. Can’t wait to try it again!
It tasted like an artisanal bread, full of deep wonderful flavours, the sweetness of the cranberries coming out beautifully with the nutty walnut. Also tasted quite like the artisan bread Jamie & I had with our sweet potato soup at The Natural Kitchen in London. I knew she was going to love this bread…so here it is for her, with flowers!! Happy Birthday twin sistah!

Dried Cranberry & Walnut Stick
adapted from Sour Cherry & Walnut Stick, Ottolenghi – The Cookbook
160ml lukewarm water (not more than 30C; I used a little extra)
2 1/4 tsp tightly packed fresh yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp active dried)
1 tbsp olive oil
40ml orange juice (from about 1 large orange)
200gm plain flour
50gm whole wheat flour
65g buckwheat flour
1 tsp salt
50g dried cranberries (or sour cherries)
50 gms walnuts, roughly broken up into pieces
Oil to oil bowl


Put the yeast into the warm water & stand for 10 minutes, then add the orange juice, olive oil & salt. Stir to mix well.
Mix the flours together in a big bowl, and knead with yeast mixture for 8-10 minutes into a smooth and silky dough, adding a little more water if required. Knead in the cranberries & walnuts. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap & leave in a warm place to double.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Trying not to beat too much risen air out, pull the edges so that they all met in the centre to form a puffed round cushion shape.Using a long object, divide the dough into 2 equal spheres.Press down a little & fold one half over he other. Crimp the edges with your fingers like you were making Cornish pastry. Now roll this on th floured surface to create a torpedo like baguette shape. Lay it gently on a floured tea towel, cover loosely with cling film, and leave to rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 220C, place a bowl of hot water on the base. Roll the bread off the tea towl onto the baking sheet gently so as not to lose air. Use a sharp serated knife to give it 3 diagonal slashes, 1cm deep.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, till the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. (I baked for about 30-35 minutes). Leave to cool on a wire rack.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
This bread is off to  Susan @ Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting!

The Ottolenghi cookbook is a celebration of tastes, texture, flavours, complexity, simplicity… so much. The glossy colourful pictures have the food leaping out of the pages, the presentation droolworthy. It is comforting, rustic and tantalizing! A book I have an instant connect with. Just my kind of book. Never have I baked/cooked so much out of a single book! Thank you Hilda.

We just had the bread for lunch…with this flavourful roasted bell pepper sauce pasta from Muneeba’s blog An Edible Symphony. I connect to Muneeba, her taste, her blogging style and her food, like I do to Ottolenghi. I know that whenever I stop by, she’ll tempt me to make something. That was the case with these Apple & Brown Butter Tartlets, and so too with this pasta. She said it was the fastest pasta ever…how true. I made the sauce while the pasta was boiling, and LOVED it. I didn’t have pine nuts, so I used walnuts instead. Worked fine!
Also used some garlic greens which I currently tend to use in all my savoury dishes as I really love the flavour this imparts to food. Lunch came full circle with Ottolenghi’s chargrilled broccoli made for the nth time on Mr PABs request. Never has broccoli been so popular in our home. (I made 3 heads of broccoli, all disappeared… & he’s asked when I’m making it again. YES!!)

The kids loved the pasta to bits, nuts and all. The flavours really come out deep and strong thanks to the roasted bell peppers. The sauce would have been redder, but I had 2 red & 1 yellow bell pepper, which explains the orangish hue! The recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe here. In Muneeba’s words, ” The Pioneer Woman, Ree, being a cowgirl who is also usually short on time and needs to take a break from her typical man-pleasing food, had the perfect recipe for me. A pasta dish that came together in almost no time flat.”

Pasta With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
adapted from An Edible Symphony
based on Ree’s original recipe
Serves 2-4
3 roasted bell peppers(charred on the stove, skins removed, then deseeded)
3 tbsp walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 garlic greens with stems, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cream
fresh Parmesan, shaved or grated
fresh parsley OR cilantro OR basil
1/2 lb penne pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

Lightly toast walnuts in a skillet and set aside.
Puree peppers with walnuts with a stick blender and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
In a pot over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil, and saute the garlic and garlic greens till soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt and pepper – for some reason this sauce needs it.
Pour in cream and stir over low heat to combine. Add the cooked pasta and stir again. Taste for additional seasoning if needed. Place pasta in a comfortingly large bowl and sprinkle your fresh herb of choice over the top, as well as lots of shaved Parmesan.
…Then smile as you dig in to this bright, cheerful and super-quick pasta… in true ‘edible symphony’ style!!

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