Cheesy Thyme Semolina Bread

Hey There,

A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to become an expert bread maker. I made dozens of rolls, biscuits, and loaves of bread and I can confidently say that after much practice and a ton of trial and error that I am still nowhere close to being considered an expert baker. LOL. I am not sure that I can even be considered a decent bread maker. Making bread is an art and a science that I have yet to master. No matter how much time and care I take, I always seem to get some aspect of the recipe wrong. I either kneed the dough too long, add too much water, under proof my bake or underbake it. Sometimes, I just get so frustrated but for some reason, I am always willing to try again. For me, I feel that baking bread is one of those “old-fashioned” skills that every good home cook should know how to do. I mean, you definitely can be a great cook without knowing how to make bread but I just think that it is a great skill to have.

Now, while making bread is still a real struggle, I have been able to find some recipes that usually work for me. While scrolling through Instagram one day, I ran across Alexandra Stafford’s page and instantly became hooked. I ran out and bought her book, Bread Toast Crumbs and ever since then I have been whipping up somewhat decent loaves of bread. Now while her recipes are perfect, I am not, so sometimes I still manage to mess them up but for the most part, they turn out great. Her methods are easy and uncumbersome and most of her recipes are made by following the same 5-6 steps, which I like. I would highly recommend this book for beginning bakers.

So, last night as I was going through my refrigerator I noticed that I had an insane amount shredded cheese on hand so I decided to use it to make cheese bread.  I ended up combining Alexandra’s recipe for Cheesy Cheddar and Parmigiano Bread and Rosemary Semolina Bread with Pine Nuts. I also made a few substitutions to the recipe.  Basically, I made used the Cheesy Bread recipe but substituted a half of cup of regular flour for a half of cup of semolina flour. In addition, I used fresh thyme instead of Rosemary and I used a variety of shredded cheeses including, mozzarella, a Mexican cheese blend, and a taco cheese blend. In the end, the bread turned out great. I must say, this turned out to be one of my more successful baking experiences.

If you are interested in making this recipe or if you are just interested to learn how to make bread then check out Bread, Toast, Crumbs. Also, if you already have this book or are just an expert bread maker, please share with me your favorite bread recipe. I would love to give it a try.

See Ya,

~ Samantha J.







Nutty Bread Pudding

Hey There,

So, all April long I’m featuring some of my favorite comfort foods. I know that you usually don’t think of comfort foods in April but since the weather has been so cold and dreary here in Virginia all month long, I figured why not! So, today’s post is all about bread pudding. Now, I will admit that bread pudding is not my absolute favorite but there is just something about the smell and the taste that is comforting to me. It reminds me of my childhood babysitter. Whenever I smell it or taste it, I can just see me, my brother and her sitting in her kitchen eating breakfast. Maybe that is where I first had it; I don’t know. But anyway, I had some leftover EuroClassic cream cheese brioche bread just sitting in my refrigerator so I decided to make some. I whipped up some eggs, vanilla, sugar and voila, I had a bread pudding. To make it extra comforting, I mixed together some sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, butter and sugar and topped off the pudding with that.  Oh and, I added a little (okay, a lot) of whipped cream on top right before I ate a slice.

How do you all feel about bread pudding? Is it one of your favorite comfort foods or could you do without it?

See you in my next post!

~Samantha J.

Bread Pudding

1.5 loaf of cream cheese brioche bread (slightly stale)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/2 tablespoon of almond extract
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups half/half
3/4 cup  sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

Cube bread

Combine eggs, vanilla, almond extract and half and half into a large mixing bowl. Wisk until combined.

Add in bread and allow it to soak up the mixture for 5-10 mins.

Use 2 tablespoons of the butter to grease all sides of a baking dish.

Add bread and mixture to the baking dish and make for 30-45 mins.

While the pudding is baking, combine the nuts, brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of butter (melted) into a bowl. Mix until combined and the nuts are coated.

Sprinkle the nuts and sugar on top of the pudding and bake for another 5-10 mins.

Remove pudding and allow it to cool.

Top with more nuts and whipped cream right before eating.