a food blog by samwellsphoto.com

Archive for 'baking'

I’ve been making semi sweet oat snacks to curb midday hunger for my wife and I, and it has been a fun experiment to find our favorite combinations. My goal was to have a snack that wasn’t too sweet made with high quality oats, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Here is one I came up with that I like.

These are very quick to make because you don’t need to bake them. Total prep is less than 10 minutes.


  • 5 cups organic oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp ground chia seed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Optional – 1 tbsp mate powder for energy

Here’s how it’s done

  1. Pour oats, honey, molasses, chocolate chips into mixing bowl.
  2. Add hot water
  3. Mix together. The chocolate chips will start to melt
  4. Add ground flax and chia seeds. Mix more.
  5. Form into whatever size and shape you like. If they are not holding together you can add more molasses. If they are too runny, then add more oats.
  6. Put in fridge to set. Store in fridge.




August 5, 2012

I scored a bunch of peaches the other day from someones tree, so I had to figure out what to do with them. My friend told me this recipe, and it works for any berry or fruit. Plus its super easy, and it requires minimal ingredients.

  • 3-5 large peaches (or any fruit)
  • 1.5 cup whole oats
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Cut fruit into small chunks
  3. Mix oats, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla together until well mixed
  4. Put fruit on the bottom of an 8 inch baking dish, and sprinkle oat mixture on top.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the fruit is soft and the oats are crispy and golden.


May 25, 2012

I like the idea of cooking with minimal ingredients, so I came up with a hardy but delicious flat-bread. This is easy to make, and you can keep the dough in your fridge for a few days, so you can make fresh flat-bread everyday. The recipe follows the typical rustic bread recipe. The basic concept is that you have 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of water. Since I like the flavor of whole wheat, I used half wheat and white. You can do any combination of flour to get the flavor and texture you want. Whole wheat and whole grains will make it more dense, while white flour will make it more light and fluffy.

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup 9 grain mix (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
  1. Combine water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until it starts foaming
  2. Combine dry ingredients. Then add in liquids.
  3. Mix and transfer to a floured board or table
  4. Knead dough for a few minutes until smooth. Fold compress, turn 90 degrees, fold again, etc.
  5. Put in bowl, dust with flour, cover with wet cloth and let rise until it doubles in size. You can put it in the oven and ONLY turn on the light to speed up the process. The light will warm it enough to get a faster rise.
  6. Cut into 5 equal parts and let rest again for 30 min. This is the step where you can leave it in the fridge for a few days and make later. Just make sure you cover it with a wet cloth so it doesn’t dry out, or you can put it in a ziplock bag.
  7. Get a pan really hot and cook for 3-4 minutes a side with the lid on.

April 23, 2012

I’ve always been a fan of banana bread, but there’s only so many times I can eat the same old hyper-sweet white flour recipe that’s been around since the 1960’s (hyper is the key word –  this recipe wont give you diabetes). This led me to modernize banana bread and bring it up to speed with the latest health trends. Here is my tweaked out version concocted for flavor and health. High fiber and moist. Mellow flavor. Very rich with a subtle sweet much like a cornbread. I’m convinced you’ll like this. Try it.

  • 1 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 extra ripe bananas (darker the better)
  • 2  1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups finely chopped dates
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup ground toasted buckwheat (or any ground nut)
  • 1 cup ground chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Blend together eggs, coconut oil, honey, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bananas in a food processor. It’s also nice to leave small chunks of banana.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  4. Add wet mixture.
  5. Pour in a 8×13 inch loaf pan greased with coconut oil and dusted with flour.
  6. Bake 40 minutes
December 7, 2011

I had a ton of pumpkin puree left over from my pumpkin bread, so I had to figure out what to do with it. Here is a super simple rice pudding recipe I came up with that isn’t too sugary. My rice pudding isn’t really pudding; it’s more like very nicely flavored rice.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 Teaspoons Raw Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Molasses
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla

Here’s how it’s done

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot
  2. Bring to boil and IMMEDIATELY bring down to low
  3. Cover with lid and cook for 15 min
  4. Your done


December 5, 2011

It sounds intimidating, but it’s super easy to make pumpkin bread from a real pumpkin. Even though it takes a bit more effort than using canned pumpkin, the process is so much more fun – plus you get pumpkin seeds from a real pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe:        NOTE *I’ve broken the recipe into two halves that will be mixed together separately. Your welcome.

  • 16 oz pumpkin puree (or you can use one can of the canned stuff)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


Pumpkin Seeds

  • Seeds from one pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Whip Cream

  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon



Here is how it’s done:

  1. Cut pumpkin into big chunks and peel (save the seeds).
  2. Boil for 20 min (or until soft)
  3. Blend until silky smooth and let cool
  4. Preheat oven 350 F. Grease and flour any large cake pan.
  5. Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and sugar with a mixer until fully blended.
  6. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices until well combined.
  7. Now mix the dry and the wet ingredients together.
  8. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean


Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Save the seeds and rinse to get the goo off
  2. Combine with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon
  3. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake along with the bread for 20 min


Whipped Cream

  1. Using a mixer, whip the cream until you get stiff peaks.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon
  3. Mix until incorporated
  4. Done.
November 21, 2011

Call me a drug dealer, nerd, European, or whatever, but I love measuring in grams, and I HATE our system of cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, etc. All you need is grams. The rest of the world uses the metric system and its so much easier to bake with. All you need is a scale, which you can get anywhere for $15. Get a digital one that zeros out after each measurement. Put in 1,000 grams of this, hit zero, put in 700 grams of that, hit zero, etc. Once you get used to it, you’ll never go back to using US units again. Here are 5 reasons why I like using a scale with grams:

1.  Its way faster to add ingredients.

2. I only need one measuring device, so I don’t have to clean all other tools to measure cups and teaspoons.

3. It’s way more precise and predictable (a cup of flour can vary by 25 grams; compound that by 5 cups)

4. This might be nerdy, but you can calculate percentages and alter to your liking. You simply break each ingredient down to a percentage compared to flour. After baking for a while you’ll be able to remember what the difference is between a 65% hydrated dough compared to a 75%. Now you can look at a recipe and know exactly what its gonna feel and taste like BEFORE you make it based on the ratio between water to flour, salt to flour, etc.

5. Since you can now do percentages, it’s easier to change the quantity.  (Ex: most bread doughs have 2% salt, 70% water, etc) 70% of 1,000 g of flour is ….   you got this.

I’m slowly converting all my recipes to grams, and I’ll include grams in all the recipes from now on for you die hard gram fans.

November 13, 2011

The other night I invited some friends over for a pizza night. We had gang loads of ingredients, and baked up a ton of nice pies. Here is everyone’s custom pizza:

  1. Margarita (tomato sauce, basil, and mozzerella)
  2. The Jason Mendoza (tomato sauce, salami, mozzerella, and gorgonzola)
  3. Amber Waves of Great (olive rosemary crust, homemade pesto, tomato, mozzerella)
  4. Karissa Throws Down  (tomato sauce, pesto, gorgonzola, chedder, tomato, salami, plus some)
  5. The Philonious Monk (olive rosemary crust, garlic oil, peppers, tomato, gorgonzola, with arugula and a balsamic reduction)


I made a few loafs while I was making the pizza dough just because the oven was gonna be warm and ready to go when the pizza was done. Here is the best pizza dough recipe I’ve come across this far. Click here to go to the link.

  • 7 cups strong white bread flour
  • 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Mix the salt, yeast, sugar, oil, and water first in a separate bowl and let sit for five minutes. Sift the flour and salt and add the wet ingredients in a large bowl. You could also mix everything on the table. Knead the dough until it is all combined and smooth. The dough will be a bit tough to work with, but when it rises it will be buttery. Let it rise in a bowl with a damp towel over it until it doubles in size (approx and hour). Cut into 6 or 7 equal parts and knead each dough ball until you have a nice round shape. You can use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days (but remember to cover with a towel so they don’t dry out).

November 3, 2011

After 2 weeks of making a wild yeast from scratch, I could finally make my first 2 loaves of bread. If you are interested in making bread, check out some of the books listed under the books category. This bread is the best.

August 21, 2011

Rustic bread made from natural leaven has redefined what bread can be for me. After tasting the breads made by my friend Louie Prager using the most traditional methods simply using high quality flour, natural leaven, salt, and water. The simple sourdough country loaf is just that, but that recipe can be altered to get a wide variety of flavors and textures by adding nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and changing the ratio of whole wheat flour or substituting other flours like rye or semolina.  He taught me his process for baking and I have since adopted many methods used by Chad Robertson from his book Tartine, which is one of my favorite books at the moment. If you are at all interested in baking bread like this you need to get this book. The beauty of this bread is that you can make the process as simple or complex as you want, and you’ll still make quality bread that will blow away any bread you can find in any market. The processes used for the breads below is very specific and labor intensive because he wants a very particular crumb and crust.

The crumb is the inside of the bread, and the better you build a network of proteins the more airy your bread becomes with more consistent air pockets. The more whole wheat flour you have in the recipe, the tighter the crumb becomes with less air (as shown in the photos below). The crust is obviously the outside, but the way it rises in the oven and then darkens creates those beautiful ears that curl up. With all that said, it doesn’t have to be that complex! You can just do a no-kneed recipe that allows you to just mix the ingredients and bake a few hours later. Just look it up on YouTube. This will still be very high quality bread compared to what you can buy, but it won’t be as “technically perfect” as the breads below.