Archive for the 'Slow Baking' Category


Puff Pastry Rugelach w/Ginger Chocolate Fruit Filling (Baked)

At one time I was a paralegal at a large law firm in New York City. I worked every night (7 days a week) past midnight. For dinner, I and my crew would order from Carnegie Deli, and I almost always asked for rugelach for dessert. This version of rugelach simulates a cream cheese pastry dough with standard puff pastry as the base. I could have used the low-temperature puff pastry dough, but this recipe is the first of several LTB experiments with standard puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm brand), purchased at my local market.

In this first trials, I made rugelach like mini crescent rolls. The dough, cut into triangles and spread with a layer of a cream cheese paste and dried fruit and nuts, was rolled up and baked at 250°F/121°C. As seen in the pictures above, the rolls puffed up nicely. However, when cut open, the dough in the inner part of the roll and on the bottom did not puff as much and imparted a hard texture to the pastries.

For the final version, I rolled the puff pastry into a single-layer log, because a single layer bakes faster and more thoroughly. The cream cheese paste was reformulated to be drier, as the wetter paste made the interior soggy. I conclude that for this kind of pastry, the low-temperature puff dough or a cream cheese tart dough would produce a result closer to the traditional rugelach. On the other hand, if these were baked at the package-recommended temperature of 350°F/177°C, these log-style or the crescent rugelach would be very crisp, flaky and spectacular puffs.

Makes 12 rugelach
– 60 calories per rugelach
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C


  • 3 rectangles prepared puff pastry (2 x 4-1/2 x 1/8 inches – see text)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

Fruit-Nut Filling

  • 1/8 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/8 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts

Ginger Sugar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Filling Methods:

1. To make chocolate cream cheese filling: in a small dish, mix the cream cheese and sugar.

2. Add cocoa and ginger and mix until well combined. Set aside.

3. Mix in flour to form a thick paste.

4. To make fruit-nut mix filling, in a small dish, mix the chopped raisins, dried cherries and chopped nuts.

Rugelach Method:

1. For each pastry, cut a sheet of 1/8-inch thick puff pastry dough 2 x 4-1/2 inches.

2. Spread a thin layer of chocolate cream cheese over the surface.

3. Sprinkle about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the fruit-nut mix over the top half of the dough only.

4. Fold the dough up and seal the edges to form a log.

5. Cut the log into 3 pieces and place on baking mat.

6. In a small dish, combine 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger.

7. Lightly brush the surface of the rugelach with beaten egg or apricot/peach jam and sprinkle with the ginger sugar.

8. Bake rugelach for 50 minutes until golden. They will crisp up as they cool.


Walnut and Valerian Biscotti (Baked)

[Equipment: convection oven for slow baking, baking tray with silicone mat. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths.]

Note: This cookie contains a medicinal ingredient: valerian root. Please research any concerns about the ingredient before making this recipe.

These relaxing cookies get their mild but noticeable tranquilizing effect from homemade valerian root oil. Valerian has a bitter taste, so I played with the bitterness by adding complementary flavors of brown sugar, walnuts and coffee. Baking soda offsets some of the acidity, for a cookie that tastes very smooth. The sedating effect is truly mild for me, and I could eat them all day. However, anyone not familiar with valerian root should consume them cautiously.

My local market sells solid valerian root, which is very hard – like wood – and cannot be cut with a knife. For the oil infusion, I snipped off small chunks of it with a set of wire cutters, the kind sold in hardware stores. The same amount (2 grams) of powdered valerian root could be infused more easily, and could be added to the cookie dough after infusion with the risk of more bitter cookie. Choose a bland oil (I had canola) to avoid any off flavors. The infusion time should be at least 24 hours at 115°F/46.1°C.

The infusion could be heated in an oven, a dehydrator, on an insulated incense burner, even in a box heated with an incandescent bulb, but keep the temperature no higher to preserve the efficacy of the valerian essences.

Makes 10 cookies
– 117 calories per cookie
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon valerian oil (see text and see below)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 packets sucralose (equal to about 3 tablespoons sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)

Valerian Oil:

  • 2 grams valerian root or valerian powder
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Valerian Oil Method:

1. If using valerian root, weigh out 2 grams. With mini clippers, break up the root by snipping off small chunks. If using valerian powder, measure out 2 grams of powder.

2. In a small heatproof dish, mix the root pieces with the vegetable oil. Cover the dish with heat-resistant plastic wrap.

3. Heat the oil over an insulated incense burner or put the dish in a low oven for at least 24 hours. In either case, the temperature of the oil should rise no higher than 115°F/46°C. Check it occasionally with a thermometer. Use immediately or store until ready to use.

Biscotti Method:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder until well combined.

2. In a small bowl, mix the egg, brown sugar, sucralose, valerian oil, vanilla and water until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.

4. Add walnuts and knead into the dough.

5. Transfer the dough to a baking mat. Shape into flat log about 9.5 x 3 inches.

6. Bake at 250°F/121°C for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden.

7. With a serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1-inch cookies. Place the cookies on the baking mat, one cut side facing up. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn cookies over so that other cut side faces up. Bake for another 15 minutes.

8. Let cool and serve or store in an airtight container.


Lemon-Chamomile Angel Food Loaf Cake (Wet-Dry Steam Baked)

[ Equipment: Steam oven or convection oven with water tray for wet-dry steam baking, 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

This angel food cake has a firmer texture than a standard angel food cake and is shaped in a loaf pan. It’s my first recipe baked with a wet-dry steam method. Steam quickly heats the batter, and then dry heat finishes the cake and crisps the surface. The chamomile and lemon flavoring reminds me of a soothing herbal tea.

I didn’t have a chamomile extract, so I made my own chamomile oil infusion, heating it on top of a ceramic incense burner. There were no instructions for making chamomile oil, so I let it infuse for about a day on low heat, switching out tealight candles (beeswax) as they burned down. I recommend a bland vegetable oil, such as canola oil, to get the best chamomile flavor. Check the temperature of the infusion periodically. It should be no higher than 110-120°F/43-49°C (same as the raw food dehydration guideline) to preserve the flavors and essential compounds in the flowers.

Makes 5 servings
– 162 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: Wet-Dry Steam-Baked effective 250°F/121°C

Angel Food Cake:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or low-calorie sweetener blend, see text)
  • 2 teaspoons chamomile oil (see text, see below)

Chamomile Oil:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers

Chamomile Extract Method:

1. In a small, heatproof dish, mix oil and chamomile flowers. Heat chamomile mixture over a very low flame for about 24 hours. Shown here is a ceramic oil diffuser as the heat source. Check the temperature of the oil periodically. If it’s above the 110-120°F/43-49°C range, place a disk of aluminum foil between the dish and the heater to dissipate excess heat.

2. Cool. Cover and set aside.

Angel Food Cake Method:

1. Line bottom and long sides of 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan with a single strip aluminum foil to make a sling. Do NOT grease pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites, lemon juice, lemon extract, salt until frothy.

3. Sprinkle in sugar and whip to stiff peak stage.

4. Sift flour over batter and fold in.

5. In a small dish, mix 3 tablespoons of the egg white batter and the chamomile oil using a fork. Pour the oil mixture back into the egg white batter and fold in.

6. Spoon batter into lined loaf pan and gently smooth the surface flat.

7. Fill water tray for steaming baking with about 1/8-inch water. The water must completely evaporate after about 30 to 40 minutes of baking. Preheat oven to effective to 300°F/148°C (for an effective temperature of 250°F/121°C with the steam – checked with an oven thermometer).

Place pan on trivet so that it does not touch the water. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. Top crust should be lightly golden but sticky. Check water level. All the water in the tray should have evaporated. If not, drain or siphon off the remainder.

Continue baking for another 20 minutes until the crust is crispy and dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Invert the pan over a heatproof bowl and allow the cake to cool.

9. With a small knife, loosen the cake from the short sides of the pan and lift out by pulling out the ends of the foil sling. Carefully peel off the foil.

10. Slice and serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.


Triple Floral Red Earth Cake (Baked, Low Fat/Sugar)

[ Equipment: convection oven (preferred) or other LTB oven, a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 (inch) loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

Compared to the mini red earth cake I made back in 2010 as a tribute to the American South of Gone With The Wind, the “triple” in the title of this cake refers to its size (3 times the size of the mini) as well as the 3 kinds of flowers that color and flavor it. In the original, a hibiscus infusion tinted the deep brown cake with a rusty tinge spotted with flecks of red hibiscus petals. The texture of that cake could sometimes taste dry, so I reformulated it recently with greater moisture retention in mind. A small amount of oat flour (coarsely-ground rolled oats) absorbs water more efficiently than wheat flour. The cornstarch has been replaced with more baking powder – which has a cornstarch base and helps soften the crumb. For this reason, the baking powder MUST have a cornstarch base (check the label – it should be the first ingredient). I’ve tried as much as 3 tablespoons of baking powder, because the hibiscus seems to reduce the lift, but 3 was too much. The cake has more fat (in the form of oil), but still earns the title of low fat at around 5 grams per serving.

A tri-part bouquet infusion subtly flavors the updated cake with hibiscus, roses and lavender. The color is lighter and redder, due to the slightly higher concentration of red and purple flowers and acidified natural cocoa powder. A traditional red earth (like a traditional red velvet cake) rouges from red food dye and the acidification of natural cocoa powder. My mini cake from 2010 contains dutch-processed cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa) that never reddens. In this cake, the tartness of the floral blend is the main acid in the batter, and I mix in some lemon juice to fix the color of the cake and restore brightness to the flavor.

Since I put in more oil, I take out calories by replacing the sugar with a sucralose-sugar blend. I grind the flower petals and buds with real granulated sugar, but sweeten the rest of the cake with granulated no-calorie sucralose. Although granulated sucralose weighs less than sugar, I did run a test with it as a grinding medium for the flowers, and it works fine. In general, I prefer the taste of sucralose-sugar blend, but this cake could be made with 100% granulated sucralose or 100% sugar, for that matter.

In one of the pictures, I garnish the cake with a “sugared” nut. The coating is actually granulated sucralose, which bakes into a whitish shell. The nuts are quite tasty, so I include the recipe for them below. By the way, I should emphasize that this cake was made with granulated sucralose throughout, not powdered sucralose – the kind in the packets. Powdered sucralose could work too, but with a slight change in the texture of the cake and in the appearance of the nuts.

Makes 8 servings
– 165 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C


  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (see text)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered coffee bean or instant coffee crystals (see text)
  • 1.2 oz. dried hibiscus flowers (approx. 4 tablespoons powdered hibiscus, see text)
  • 2 tablespoon dried rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (see text)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sucralose
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk, skim or reduced-fat
  • Fat-free Cool Whip topping or whipped evaporated skim milk (sweetened)

Sugared Nuts:

  • Assorted large nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sucralose or sugar
  • 1 egg white

Sugared Nuts Method:

1. Cover cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Rinse off nuts of any oil and salt and dry.

2. In a small dish, light beat the egg white. Dunk nuts in egg white and allow excess to drip off.

3. Roll nuts in sucralose or sugar until evenly coated.

4. Place nuts on baking sheet.

5. Bake at 250°F/121°C for about 25 minutes or until sugar coating is dry and has turned lightly golden.

Cake Method:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk all-purpose flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.

2. In a small food processor, add 1/4 cup sugar, hibiscus, rose petals and lavender buds. Process until contents have turned to powder.

3. In a medium bowl, mix boiling water and floral powder. Let infuse for at least 5 minutes and until water has cooled. Add coffee crystals/powder, cocoa powder and lemon juice. Stir and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla extract and evaporated milk until well combined.

6. Mix in 3/4 cup granulated sucralose. Mix in hibiscus infusion.

8. Mix in flour mixture in 3 or 4 portions.

9. Pour into 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Cover top of loaf pan with aluminum foil, crimping down edges. With a scissors or the pointed end of a bamboo skewer, cut out a rectangle in the foil, leaving a 1-inch border. With scissors, at each corner of the rectangle, snip a 1/2-inch diagonal cut.

10. Bake at 250°F/121°C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until cake almost touches foil. With 2 spoons or forks, peel back foil flaps on all 4 sides. Continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time: 35 to 45 minutes). Cake is done if a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

11. Let cool. Unmold.

12. Slice and serve. Below are two ideas for serving the cake: whipped cream topped with a sugared nut or whipped cream, a sprinkle of cocoa powder and topped with a sliced strawberry.


Ginger Meringue Cake (Pavlova) w/Bananas, Ginger-Blueberry Sauce (Baked, Low Sugar-Fat)

[ Equipment: convection oven (preferred) or other LTB oven, baking sheet. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

July 22, 2012: I now recommend that this cake be made with a wet-dry steam baking method to set the cake faster and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in the batter for improved texture. Fill the water tray for 30 minutes of steam. See here for details. For a crispy crust, use 100% sugar. For a taller cake (and lower calories), use the sugar-sucralose blend.

Between the 2 kinds of meringue cakes, Pavlova and angel food, the Pavlova had the advantage of being easier to prepare, or so I thought. Over the months, I baked many, varying the amounts of cornstarch, lemon juice, flavorings, all-sugar vs. sucralose-sugar blends, preparation procedures. The crust on a typical Pavlova sinks and cracks as it cools. The version presented here has a thinner crust that cracks only a little and doesn’t sink much at all.

The picture above shows a maple Pavlova meringue with substantial cracking and sinking. The main differences between it and this recipe are the amount of cornstarch – only half as much in the Ginger cake and the reduced baking time – 30 minutes less for the ginger cake. Less cornstarch didn’t appreciably alter the taste of the meringue (it still had the starchy characteristic of a Pavlova), but it did help the meringue hold its shape longer in the cooler oven. More cornstarch seemed to create a slicker batter.

Another reason for the spreading appeared to be the fact that I mixed in granulated white sugar instead of the caster sugar specified in almost all recipes. Granulated sugar didn’t dissolve quickly, and the left-over grains may have caused the structure of whipped egg whites to collapse under heat. My solution was to add the sugar while the whites were still liquid, before they began drying out from the suspension of air bubbles from the whipping. The maple meringue also contained 100% sugar, which may have contributed to the fragile crispness that dammed batter as it formed.

Having said all that, the batter spread made larger disks of meringue, which could then serve more people. One time, it came out in a 10=inch round that was about 3/8-inch thick (see picture above). It easily could serve 8 by piling more fruit and whipped cream over it. The batter in this recipe resists spreading. The ginger cake started out as a 5-1/2 round and came out measuring 7 inches in diameter. For a larger cake, make a larger round with the meringue before baking.

The Pavlova is fat-free, gluten-free and low sugar. In place of the fat-free Cool Whip topping, I would beat evaporated skimmed milk until thick and then sweeten it with sucralose to taste. Those who don’t like no=calorie sweeteners could increase the amount of granulated white sugar to 1/2 cup.

Makes 4 servings (up to 8 servings – see text)
– 130 calories per serving (4 servings)
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C

Meringue Cake:

  • 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 8 packets sucralose or 1/2 cup sugar (see text)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Cake Topping:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 packet sucralose (see text)
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup no-fat sweetened whipped cream or no-fat Cool Whip topping

Ginger Blueberry Sauce Method:

1. In a heatproof dish, lightly mash 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries.

2. Add powdered ginger, sucralose and mix.

3. In a small dish, mix the cornstarch and water. Add to the blueberries and stir.

4. Microwave on HIGH for about 1-1/2 minutes until thickened.

5. Cool for a few minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries. Set aside.

Pavlova Method:

1. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, lemon juice and salt until foamy.

2. Beat in sugar or sugar-sucralose blend in 3 or 4 portions and beat to the soft peak stage. Then add vanilla extract and beat to the stiff peak stage. Egg whites should still be glossy but not wet.

Note: granulated white sugar will not dissolve completely in stiffly beaten egg whites. Add the sugar at the foamy stage only or substitute a finely ground sugar.

3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, ginger, chili powder until well combined. Fold mixture into the egg whites.

4. Set a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet or cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently spoon the egg white batter onto the baking sheet and shape into 5-1/2 inch round. The top should be slightly concave.

The pavlova will spread a little as it bakes. In my oven, a 5-1/2 inch disk of meringue evens out to about 7-inches.

5. Bake at 250°F/121°C for 30 minutes. If the base of the meringue cake is a golden brown and will burn, reduce heat to 200°F/93°C and continue baking for another 30 – 45 minutes, until the surface of the cake is dry and the sides are lightly golden. Turn off the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the oven.

If the cooled cake feels soggy on the surface, dry it out in a 200°F/93°C for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Transfer the pavlova to a serving plate.

7. Cover the top of the cake with a layer of sliced bananas.

8. Spread on a layer of no-fat whipped cream or whipped topping.

9. Pour the ginger-blueberry sauce and blueberries over the whipped cream. Slice and serve.


Apple Celery Cake w/Roasted Carrots (Baked)

[ Equipment: convection oven (preferred) or other LTB oven, a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 (inch) loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

A Waldorf salad inspired this cake of apple, celery and carrots. The truth is: I’ve never had a Waldorf salad, but the first time I saw it on a menu, I thought the flavors would make an intriguing cake. Because carrot cakes are fairly common, apples and celery make up the main character of this creation, accented with chopped up roasted carrots. There’s an almost ethereal quality to this delicately flavored and smooth textured cake, so lightly sweet that it almost drives a craving to eat the entire cake at one sitting. I like to serve it with dots of tiny seeds (shown with sunflower seeds) on a streak of whipped cream for a crunchy contrast.

The base recipe was a pound cake from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, but modified. I took out their prune puree for my own applesauce and celery mash, cut back the sugar a bit and reduced over hydration. The low-temperature technique for roasting the carrots essentially steams them first and then roasts them to caramelize lightly and concentrate the sugars. For more intense flavor, increase the oven temperature to 300°F/149°C at the risk of higher acrylamide formation. I baked the cake in a convection oven. It should do well in a slow-cooker oven too, but will be less likely to brown on the top and may require another 10 minutes or so more baking time.

Makes one 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf, 10 servings
– 1800 calories per loaf, 180 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C


  • 2 to 3 stalks of celery ( to make 1/4 cup finely chopped celery)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil spread (see text)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted carrots (see below, see text)

Roasted Carrots:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil


  • sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip whipped topping
  • sunflower seeds for sprinkling
  • powdered cinnamon

Roasted Carrots Method:

1. Slice carrots about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Line baking tray with aluminum foil. Put carrots on foil and toss with vegetable oil.

3. Crimp foil into a pouch.

4. Bake at 250°F/121°C for 1 hour.

5. Open pouch and flatten foil. Spread carrots to a single layer. Continue baking for another 30 minutes.

6. Chop carrots into 1/4 to 1/2 inch bits.

Cake Method:

1. Finely chop celery in a food processor with a blunt blade (the same blade used for chopping nuts). Processing with a blunt blade bruises the celery and expresses celery juice. Do NOT puree.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon until well combined.

3. In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, chopped celery, butter and sugar until well combined and the butter has been broken down into tiny flecks – about 4 to 5 minutes with an electric mixer on low setting 1 or 2.

4. Add milk, whole egg and egg whites. Continue mixing for another 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Mix in flour in 3 or 4 portions to form a thick batter.

6. In a small bowl, coat chopped roasted carrots in 1 to 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour. Fold carrots into batter.

7. Pour batter into a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf pan. Smooth surface of batter with a spoon or spatula.

8. Cover top of loaf pan with aluminum foil, crimping down edges. With a knife or the pointed end of a bamboo skewer, cut out a rectangle in the foil, leaving a 1-inch border. With scissors, at each corner of the rectangle, snip a 1/2-inch diagonal cut.

9. Bake until cake has risen to almost touch the foil (about 30 minutes). With 2 spoons or forks, lift the foil flaps up and away from the cake. Continue baking for another 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the cake is around 200°F/93°C.

10. Remove foil. Cool for about 30 minutes.

11. Un-mold and continue cooling on rack.

12. Slice and serve.

13. This slice was topped with a whipped topping (Cool Whip or a sweetened whipped cream), a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds.


Soaked Grain, Jalapeno Soda Bread (Baked)

[ Equipment: oven or slow cooker with temperature control, a 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 (inch) loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

This savory sandwich bread has a texture and taste like that of a soft yeast bread, chewy with plenty of heat and tang from the pickled jalapeno peppers and sour cream. Leave out the peppers and it would make a great sourdough soda bread. For the same amount of flour, it doesn’t rise quite as high as yeast loaf could. It’s a heartier bread with an open crumb.

The flour was a blend of regular all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, about 25% by volume. My first LTB soda bread, a Harvest-Spiced Gluten-Free Soda Bread, contained a binder of egg and ground flax seed. This eggless bread didn’t require a separate binder. It wasn’t kneaded; instead the crumb got its chewy quality from long fermentation of the wheat flour – like a slow-rise yeast dough.

Soaking whole grain flour in an acid medium broke down phytic acid, which inhibited absorption of nutrients in the body, and improves digestibility and taste (for those who are partial to the taste of whole grain flour). It seemed to break down some of the gluten proteins, but may also have helped with texture – just as in slow-rise doughs, but without the yeast action to develop gluten bonds.

However, my main concern about soaked grains in LTB was that excessive exposure to moisture could produce a hard and/or dense bread with coarse texture, as happened in my early experiments with slow-rise breads. Too little moisture meant the dough would not rise as high, because the acid-soda reaction needed moisture. Too much moisture would weigh the dough down. The soaked grains worked well in this recipe, because only 1/4 of the total flour was treated, and because the soaked grains were evenly distributed throughout the dough. The loaf stayed moist and delicious for a day or two. Afterwards, I toasted slices for crunchy hot sandwiches.

The recipe lists a strong “soured milk”, which I made by mixing a 1% low-fat milk with a white vinegar (4% acidity). Traditionally, this is like the formula for a buttermilk substitute, and buttermilk should work too if combined with an extra tablespoon of vinegar. About the pickled jalapenos, my local market had cans of sliced pickled jalapenos under the La Costena brand. After chopping them, I pressed them gently on a paper towel to soak up any runny juices and prevent soggy pockets in the loaf.

This recipe was my first bread baked in a convection oven. As seen in the pictures, the crust came out a nice golden color – darker than what I could obtain in a slow-cooker oven. It has not been tested in a slow-cooker oven. None of my cookers will accommodate a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan. Anyone who tries this bread in a slow-cooker should expect longer baking time and a lighter crust. If the loaf fails to rise fully in a cooker, try replacing the the foil cover with the one used in my original large potato bread.

Makes 1 loaf
– 1100 calories per loaf
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C

  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour (6.4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2.4 oz)
  • 1-1/8 cup soured milk (1 cup milk + 2 tablespoons white vinegar – see text)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (drained, see text)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1. In a small bowl, stir whole wheat flour into 1/2 cup soured milk. Cover and allow flour to soak for 12 hours. The picture above shows the soaked wheat flour before and after the 12 hour fermentation.

2. In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients until well combined.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the soaked flour (including all liquid), sour cream, chopped pickled peppers and remaining 5/8 cup soured milk.

4. Add to dry ingredients and stir to evenly distribute and a wet dough forms. Do NOT overmix.

5. Spoon the dough into a 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inch loaf pan and spread out evenly.

6. Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil. Cut out a rectangular opening in the foil, leaving a 1-inch border around the pan. Then cut a 1/2-inch diagonal slit at each corner to form 4 flaps (see areas circled in red in the picture above). The flaps should remain flat for now.

7. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes and check height of loaf. When the loaf is almost touching the foil, lift the foil flaps up and away from the loaf, using tongs or two spoons.

8. Continue baking for another 35 to 40 minutes or until inside temperature of loaf measures about 205°F/93°C.

9. Remove foil cover and let cool. Unmold.

9. Slice and serve. Excellent toasted.