Category Archives: Breads

Gluten-free, Dairy Free Cranberry Scones

Gluten Free Scones|Spoonwithme-com

I’m having a secret love affair with coconut oil.  At first it started off as an innocent flirtation, a little here, a little there.  It turned a little tawdry when I started using it as one of my main pan frying oils.  I freaked out when it actually worked to make a flaky pie crust.  I knew I had fallen deep when I substituted it for butter in my favorite chocolate chip recipe, and the cookies turned out beautifully, and my father in law tasted and said, “MMMMM!  There must be a lot of butter in these!”.  I may or may not use coconut oil as hand lotion.  My love grows day by day as I find more uses for it.  My most recent coconut oil celebration came when I found a highly reviewed recipe for gluten-free scones on the King Arthur Flour website and decided to give it a mini-makeover.

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Gluten Free Scones|Spoonwithme-com (16)

I know first-hand that it is difficult when trying to cook for people with various dietary needs.  When the lactosally challenged and gluten-freegans are invited to the same brunch, menu planning is like a puzzle.  Do we have enough things that are dairy free?  Gluten-free?  Are there things that we can make that everyone can eat?  Sometimes I feel like Paris Hilton.  So high maintenance.

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When I came across this recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site, it matched all my requirements for a recipe.  Straightforward ingredients, nothing weird or overly processed.  I was intrigued by the idea that in the recipe’s footnotes, the author indicated that the recipe could be made dairy-free with a couple of substitutions.

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Gluten Free Scones|Spoonwithme-com (4)

When I decided to whip up a batch of these scones on a Saturday morning, I was thinking, Don’t fail me now, my tropical jar of love.  I followed the recipe, substituting the coconut oil for butter, using almond milk instead of milk.  When they emerged from the oven, looking and smelling in every way like proper scones, I fed them to my most honest recipe tester, who just happens to eat scones every chance he gets.  His rating involved a full mouth, furrowed brows, an emphatically nodding head, and a garbled mmmmrahllygood.  Mister approved.

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Gluten Free Scones|Spoonwithme-com (12)

These scones are not a half-hearted substitution for the real thing.  They are the real thing. Moist on the inside, biscuity crisp on the outside.  Dotted with cranberries.  Adaptable as far as your imagination will take you, with citrus zest and aromatic spices.  They are everything I would expect from a proper scone.  Even if you’re not lactosally or glutonially challenged, you won’t miss the butter or the flour.

My secret love affair continues.  Who knows where we will go next on our magical voyage?

Readers, have you jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon?  Any favorite uses?

Gluten Free Cranberry Scones

Closely Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 8 Scones

  • 1  3/4 cups King Arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour (or other multi purpose gf flour mix)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or other dried fruit
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup cold plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add the coconut oil and work it in with your hands or a pastry cutter until crumbly.  Stir in the dried fruit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until frothy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until completely combined.

Drop the dough by the 1/3 cupful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Allow the scones to rest for 15 minutes.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.



Filed under Baked Goods, Breads, Breakfast and Brunch

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Crumbly Banana Bread

Nothing makes teachers act like kids more than a snow day. It’s a dirty little secret that teachers hope for snow days with even more fervency than students.  A couple nights ago, Facebook was abuzz with weather-related status updates.  SNOW DAY!  WOOHOO!…Finally got the call!  No school tomorrow!…Very happy camper right now…  And then there was my status:  Saaaaahhhhnnoooooooowwwwww daaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy! Yesssss!  I was the teensiest bit excited.  Now, what does one do in winter conditions with time off and a bowl full of spotty bananas?  Do I even need to say it?


Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked Up Banana Bread is my go-to recipe.  For years, I actually followed the recipe as written–besides replacing the flour with whole wheat pastry flour, and the bourbon with other various liquors.  I had never thought to drastically change it, because I knew I had found everything I was looking for in banana bread. It was moist.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Spiced and fragrant, with an underlying boozy hum.  I was completely satisfied with the recipe, and not tempted to change a thing.




But then…  My eyes began to wander.  Visions of coffeecake crumble danced in my head, and I just couldn’t shake the thought.  Banana bread and coffeecake in one?!?  Do you think?  Nawwwww!  Deb’s recipe is perfection.  You can’t!  But you must!



I started tinkering around, trying to create a nutty crumble to complement, but not over-shadow the banana bread perfection.  I finally arrived at the perfect intersection between coffeecake and banana bread: a fragrant crumble with toasty, wal-nutty clumps on top, and my favorite (almost) original “Jacked Up” banana bread underneath.

Banana bread up

You won’t even need to summon the snow gods to make this banana bread.  Just a little bit of time, and few spotty bananas!

Sliced Banana

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes one loaf

For the Banana Bread:

4 ripe bananas, smashed with a fork

1/3 cup melted salted butter (or earth balance vegan butter)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon brandy or bourbon (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

For the Walnut Crumble:

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup walnuts

3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt


  1. Spread the walnuts on a cutting board and smash them using the bottom of a measuring cup or jar. Combine all walnut crumble ingredients in a medium bowl. Using clean hands, blend the ingredients together until the butter is completely incorporated.  Squeeze handfuls of the crumble in your hands, then break apart the bigger clumps to form pieces resembling a coffeecake topping.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan with butter.
  3. Put the bananas in a large bowl, and use a fork to mash them.  Mix in the melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, brandy, and the spices.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top and mix it in.  Add the flour, and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into the buttered loaf pan.  Spread the crumble topping evenly over top.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before slicing and serving.

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Filed under Baked Goods, Breads, Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts

Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan)

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas and the art of procrastination

I’ve tried to be organized and efficient.  Believe me, I would love to muster up just a drop of the left-brained efficiency required to tackle tasks in advance, in a calm and serene manner.  Gifts purchased or homemade, wrapped and placed under the tree. Strings of cranberries draped around the perfect tree.  Mulled cider wafting through the clean house.  Stockings all hung by the chimney with care, and nothing left to do to but settle down for a long winter’s nap.  Unfortunately, try as I may, Christmas Eve is always a whirlwind.  It’s the deadline for tying up all the loose ends of holiday to-dos.

Roll the Dough

Christmas preparations happened extra late this year.  Who am I kidding, with me, Christmas preparations always happen in a somewhat frenzied manner.  Take, for example, the Mister and I’s foolproof method for procuring the perfect tree.  Let fate choose your tree for you.  To do this one must make sure to wait long enough that most tree lots are empty.  When you find a tree lot that has a few mis-shapen trees left, you’ll know you’ve struck gold.  This year, we were thrilled to find a tree, flouncy and filled out on one side, and relatively flat on the other, a perfect fit against the living room wall.

Zest and Sugar

Zesty Sugar

Now, this next one takes a bit of advance planning.  When purchasing a house, be sure to move next to neighbors that use more than their fair share of electricity around Christmas time with a gaudy holiday display.  When lit, the reindeer on their roof will cast a pleasant holiday glow on yours until you can put up a couple strings of lights.

Filling the Rolls

Risen Rolls

The thing I love about Christmas morning is that the frenzy comes to an end.  Even if you have to rotate from house to house like the mister and I, making the rounds, there is nothing left to buy, and whatever is, just is.  I’m finally tying up preparations, and thought I’d throw out one more last-minute idea to all of my fellow procrastinators who haven’t yet thought about Christmas breakfast.  For all the organized people out there, who already have plans, these rolls would be great for any breakfast or brunch.  They are scented with cinnamon and orange, tender and gooey inside, their sweetness punctuated with tart cranberry.

Baked Golden Brown

Gooey Baked Rolls

However you celebrate, I hope you enjoy the people around you and some delicious food.  And most of all, fellow procrastinators, enjoy the calm after such a whirlwind of holiday preparations.  Merry Christmas!

Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Makes about 24 rolls

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

For the dough:

2 packages of yeast, dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons vegan butter, such as Earth Balance (or use real butter), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
7 1/4  cups all purpose flour (plus more if dough is still sticky)
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon salt
grated zest from 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon

For the Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 2 large oranges
3/4 cup granulated sugar

For the orange sugar topping:

Zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the frosting:

4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1  tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Dough:

1. Add the yeast to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir and set aside for about five minutes, or until proofed (the top layer should look foamy and bubbly)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the coconut oil, 3 tablespoons butter, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for about a minute, or until the butter and coconut oil are melted.  Allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  Stir in the yeast mixture and the 1 tablespoon orange zest and mix until well combined.

3. Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed if the dough is sticky,  until satiny and smooth.

4. Put the dough in a floured bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

5. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Divide dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape.

6.  Add the filling: spread dough evenly with 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup  and 3/4 cup dried cranberries. Rub the orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in small bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the dough.

7. Gently roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick (after cutting with the floss, you may need to finish cutting it with a sharp knife). Rub the zest of one orange and half cup of sugar together in a small bowl. Dip and twist the rolls into the orange sugar mixture. Place rolls in greased 9X13 baking pans.Now follow the exact same steps with the other half of the dough.

8. Place the rolls in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rolls rise until double in bulk, about an hour. Bake  425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 5-7 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove pans from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

8. To make the frosting-in a medium bowl combine, butter, powdered sugar, almond milk, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Frost rolls generously with frosting. Serve warm.

*Rolls may be re-heated in a 300˚ oven if needed


Filed under Baked Goods, Breads, Breakfast and Brunch

Heavenly Ginger Apricot Muffins

I had a moment with an apricot this weekend–well, more than one apricot, actually, and more than one moment as well.  We met at the Cherry Creek Farmers market on Saturday.  They blushed at me from their little cardboard box and set my heart a-flutter.  I strategized about how to convince the fruit-stand owner to let me have them.

“You mean, I can actually buy these?  I can pay you and you will give them to me?”

I filled a white lunch sack with the prettiest, most colorful apricots, and headed home with new plans for the afternoon.  They were very photogenic.

Three hours and a hundred photographs later, it occurred to me that these little beauties could taste as good as they look…

Upon first bite, I had an epiphany.  Birds chirped, and I could swear I heard a Hallelujah chorus. So this is how an apricot really tastes.  The pink blushed skin stretched tightly around juicy orange flesh.  At first taste, sweetness.  Then, a transformation in my mouth, ending on a bright note.  I think I saw a fast forward of the entire life of the apricot, from the perfect balance of Western Slope sunshine and afternoon rainstorms to the observant grower who waited for the exact right moment to pluck it from the tree, not a moment too soon.

Of course, I’d eaten apricots before, but knew that I had not yet met the epitome…until now.

As it turns out, I met two ideals this weekend; the second of which nestled within the pages of my most recent cookbook acquisition, Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce  (which I won from Bon Appetit Magazine!).  I first started coveting this cookbook when Deb from Smitten Kitchen featured not one, but two recipes on her blog–a rustic rhubarb tart and oatmeal pancakes.  Boyce uses an assortment of whole grain flours, from the more common whole wheat and oat, to the exotic amaranth.

In the past, I’ve met whole grain baked goods with hesitation.  Does anybody really enjoy eating a dense dry muffin, even if it’s good for you?  Well, I was convinced as soon as I laid eyes on the beautifully photographed Cheddar Biscuits, and converted when I baked my own version of the Ginger Peach Muffins (using apricots, first, then peaches on the second batch).  Kim Boyce will change the way you think about whole grain baking.

Oat flour, whole wheat flour and all purpose flour band together with sour cream, milk and butter to into a fluffy, moist muffin, unlike any other whole grain muffin I have ever tasted.  They come out of the oven scented with ginger and topped with a ginger and honey glazed apricot.

Rarely do I make the same recipe more than once in a single week, but I’ve made these muffins twice; once with apricots, and once using peaches.  Once alone, and once tag-team style with my good friend Karissa.  They disappeared quickly both times. Plain-Jane white flour muffins will never be the same again.

Heavenly Ginger-Apricot Muffins

adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce

Use your imagination and feel free to substitute the best in-season fruit you can find.  Here in Denver at elevation 5280, baking can be tricky.  If you’re way up high like me, adjust for high altitude using the notes below.  For a pretty presentation and muffins that are easy to eat, cut 5 1/2 inch squares of parchment paper to form into muffin cups.

Fruit Topping:

  • 12 small apricots, ripe but firm, sliced in half (or quartered), pit removed (or any type of stone fruit or berry you desire)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Dry Mix:

  • 1 cup oat flour (I made mine by grinding oats in a coffee grinder)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix:

  • 3/4 stick of butter (6 tablespoons), melted and cooled a bit
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

Materials Needed:

  • muffin tin (to hold one dozen)
  • 11  5 1/2 inch squares parchment paper (or rub muffin tins with butter)

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.

Make the topping:

Place the butter, honey and 1 teaspoon ginger in a medium skillet over medium heat to melt the mixture.  Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, then add the apricots and stir gently to coat.  Set aside.

Make the dry and wet mixes:

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring the ingredients remaining in the sifter back into the bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until combined.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine.

Fill the muffin cups:

Place a square of parchment paper on the palm of one hand.  Scoop some batter onto the middle of the parchment paper, then place in a muffin cup.  Add another spoonful of batter if needed so that the muffin cup is generously filled.  Toss the apricots in the syrup to coat them once again.  Tuck one apricot slice into the batter, and lay a second slice over top.  Glaze each apricot with additional syrup.


Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  The muffins are ready when they smell nutty and their bottoms are golden in color.  Remove the muffins to a cooling rack, and allow them to cool slightly before eating.  They are best when eaten the same day, but may be kept in an airtight container for up to two days.

High Altitude Notes:

I made high-altitude adaptations using Susan Purdy’s guide on as a reference.  These adaptations will work for elevation 5280.

  • Decrease baking soda to 3/4 tsp
  • Add 1 tablespoon plain yogurt to the wet mix
  • Use slightly less sugar (as in, a scant 1/4 cup)


Filed under Baked Goods, Breads, Breakfast and Brunch

A Trio of No-Knead Breads + Compound Butter

Ever watch a movie where a homely under-confident girl or guy goes from zero to hero?  Think Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, or Peter Parker, the nerdy guy who morphs into Spider Man and fights evil villains like Doctor Octopus or Venom.

This is the tale of an underdog, a homely mass of dough made from humble ingredients, neglected for hours at a time.  When you see the gooey, sticky, bubbling blob in your bowl, you’ll start to doubt the magic.

You’ll wonder if you should be kneading, fussing over, or finessing the dough until it turns into a smooth elastic ball.  You might begin to think that the evil villain has taken residence in your bowl.  Don’t worry, this is a zero to hero story, remember?

A quick stir creates a shaggy dough.  Resist the urge to fuss.  Cover it up, and go do something else.  Sleep.  Wake up.  Eat breakfast, paint a picture, watch a movie.  Sprinkle in some flour, and fold the dough around in the bowl a little bit.  Don’t over-exert yourself though.  We wouldn’t want anyone to catch us kneading our no-knead bread.

Now, amuse yourself for two hours.  You could make some compound butter (a fancy name for jazzed up butter).  More on that later…

After almost a day of waiting, and very minimal effort on your part, your homely glob of dough will be ready to make it’s grand transformation from “blah” to “yeah!”.

Enter the dutch oven (ie:  cast iron pot);  the magic chamber that makes the impossible possible.  Jim Lahey, the most well-known mastermind behind the no-knead dutch oven method, calls the dutch oven “an oven within an oven.”  The hot cast iron imitates the evenly heated bricks of a domed brick oven, and the tight-fitting lid traps in the steam, which keeps the inside of the bread moist and gives the outside a solid, crackly crust.

After lid-on and lid-off cooking in the dutch oven, your hero will emerge.  Like many super-heroes, your bread will be attractive and solid on the outside (so solid, that it will sound a hollow “knock” when tapped), and tender and complex on the inside.

You may want to partake immediately.  I don’t blame you…but you must wait.  An hour, in order to achieve the best texture.

Be sure to make an extra boule or two…You may not be a zero, but baking this bread will surely make you a hero.  Even the most evil of villains melt into giggling little school-children at the smell of orange cardamom bread.

Basic No-Knead Bread + Variations

Adapted from  Jim Lahey, via Mark Bittman of the NY Times

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/3 cups water

cornmeal or additional flour for dusting


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast.  Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hand until you have a very sticky, shaggy dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel.


Let the dough rest and rise for 12-18 hours, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough doubles in size.

Fold and wait:

See “Notes” for an easier, less-sticky way to form your bread into a ball

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a cutting board with flour.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl to the cutting board (it will be sticky).  Using lightly floured hands or a rubber spatula, gently fold the edges in toward the center, shaping the dough into a ball.

Generously coat a cotton towel (non-linty) with cornmeal.  Put the dough seam-side down on the towel and sprinkle with more cornmeal.  Fold the towel over the dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.   30 minutes before the last rise is complete, place the dutch oven (cast iron pot) in the oven and pre-heat to 450˚ F.


Remove the pot from the oven.  Slide your hand under the towel, and turn the dough over into the pot.  (This will be messy, but no worries…it will round out as it bakes).

Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking for about 15 minutes, or until the loaf is browned.


Remove the bread to a wire rack and allow to cool for an hour before eating.


Variations + Compound Butter

For all variations, combine the extra ingredients with the flour, and yeast, changing the amount of salt if directed, then proceed as you would for the basic no-knead bread recipe.

Orange, Honey and Cardamom No-Knead Bread

Add the following ingredients to the flour and yeast in the basic no-knead bread recipe, then proceed as directed.  Note that the amount of salt is reduced.

2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt (instead of 1 1/2 in the basic recipe)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons honey

Sweet Orange-Cardamom Butter

Don’t let the name fool you–compound butter is much more simple than it sounds,  and it compliments the subtle sweetness of Orange, Honey and Cardamom No-Knead Bread.

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened (at room temperature)

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon real maple syrup

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients using a fork until smooth and well-combined.  Serve immediately, or if desired, spoon the butter from the bowl onto plastic wrap and roll into a log.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to one week.  Serve with Orange, Honey and Cardamom No-Knead Bread.

Parmesan, Cracked Pepper and Thyme No-Knead Bread

Add the following ingredients to the flour and yeast in the basic no-knead bread recipe, then proceed as directed.

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, picked from the stem

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

3/4 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano, romano, or parrano cheese

1 teaspoon salt

Rosemary Lemon No-Knead Bread

adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s version of Lahey’s no-knead bread

Add the following ingredients to the flour and yeast in the basic no-knead bread recipe, then proceed as directed.

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


•Less-sticky method:  Instead of removing the dough to a cutting board after the first rise, lightly sprinkle some flour over top of the dough in the bowl.  Using your hands or a rubber dough scraper or spatula, fold the edges of the dough in toward the center, forming a ball.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.  When it comes time to bake the bread, generously sprinkle cornmeal in the bottom of the preheated dutch oven, and gently scrape and slide the dough into the pot.  Bake as directed.


Filed under Breads, Jams, Jellies and Spreads