Tag Archives: Baking

Monkey Bread and The Sensitive Cook

Galatians 5:25  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

The best synonym for self-control is “discipline.”  Interesting word self-control. We use it often but rarely analyze it, even when we come across it in the Bible. Self-control means “inner strength.”  The fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Self-control frees us from slavery. Self-control stops bad habits. It checks us. It halts us. When it comes to retaliation, self-control restrains us. Without it, we gear up to get even.    (thoughts by Charles Swindoll)

Recently we were gathered for a family wedding and as often happens conversation turned to food and favorite recipes.  In our family “Monkey Bread” has been a favorite breakfast treat for years.  The first time I made this after my husband and I were married I waited anxiously for him to say how he liked it.  He ate up a hefty portion, but didn’t say anything.  Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I said, “well, what do you think?”  He smiled and said, “I think you should keep practicing.” As is his nature, he was trying to be cute and tell me he wanted me to make it often, but of course I got indignant and said “practice??!!! – this monkey bread is perfect!”  To this day he will ask me to put in some “practice time” and make monkey bread – and I’ve been practicing ever since. 🙂 He says this blog should really be named   “The Sensitive Cook”!

This is so darn easy and your family will LOVE it!

 A Family Favorite
4 cans of biscuits – cut each biscuit into quartersShake in bag with:

  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Nuts optional

Place biscuit pieces in a greased Bundt pan.  Sprinkle layers with nuts, if desired.

Bring to boil:

  • 1 ½ sticks margarine or butter (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanillaPour mixture over the biscuits and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Invert on serving place.  Pull apart and eat!!!

Monkey Bread Fresh From The Oven!


Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BCE, but those who report that it had come from China confuse it with cassia.[4]

The Hebrew Bible makes specific mention of the spice many times: first when Moses is commanded to use both sweet cinnamon (Hebrew קִנָּמוֹן, qinnāmôn) and cassia in the holy anointing oil;[5] in Proverbs where the lover’s bed is perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon;[6] and in Song of Solomon, a song describing the beauty of his beloved, cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon.[7] Cinnamon was a component of the Ketoret which is used when referring to the consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It was offered on the specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. The ketoret was an important component of the Temple service in Jerusalem.

Homemade Wheat Bread

Let all who take refuge in You be glad.  Psalm 5:11

John and Jeanne

I love making bread.  I know I have said that before, but it is one of my most favorite things to do in the kitchen!    My brother John and his family are here visiting from Nebraska and this bread is part of the food fare for the week!  If you use all whole wheat you will get a dense, slightly nutty tasting, healthy version.  If you use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour (like I did for this sandwich loaf), the dough is beautiful, soft and really delicious.

Italian Burgers

When I made Italian Burgers for last nights dinner, I used all bread flour sprinkled with Italian seasoning.  The end results were fabulous!

It is so fun having John, Jeanne, Catherine, and Stephanie in our home!

Catherine and Stephanie Staying Cool!

Everything seems more lively.  John can identify nearly every living creature that is walking, buzzing, flying, nesting, and crawling outside our home!  We are thrilled to know that the strikingly beautiful bright blue bird that has come to visit is a male Indigo Bunting and that we have several different species of Hummingbirds that are fighting for the sweet nectar that Grandma Alice supplies daily.    What a joy to be surrounded today by family!  God is so good to us.  Blessings abound!

Homemade Wheat Bread

A slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread — our #1 favorite wheat bread recipe!


1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast (active dry yeast will work also)


Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.

Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.

Bread Dough Rising

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover.  Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon,  lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.

Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm!

Homemade Wheat Bread

Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.

Bread baking tips for making the perfect loaf:

  • For the best bread, use the freshest ingredients.

  • Use room temperature ingredients for best results.

  • Measure your ingredients correctly. Use a dry measuring cup to measure the dry ingredients and use a glass or plastic liquid measuring cup to measure the liquids.

  • Do not scoop your flour with the measuring cup. You will end up using too much flour and the loaf will be heavy. Instead, use a spoon to lift the flour out of the container and into the measuring cup. Do not tap or shake the cup to put more flour into it. Simply level the top with a flat edge.

  • Don’t try to cut the loaf of bread right away, wait at least 15 minutes so that you don’t tear the crust.

  • Quick breads will do better if you wait until the next day to cut them.

Bread baking tips for baking in the Oven

  • Follow precisely the recipe’s directions for preheating and baking.

  • Use an oven thermometer for accuracy.

  • Place the baking pans several inches apart on the center oven rack.

  • Oven temperatures may vary, so check your loaves about 10 minutes before recipe says they should be done.

  • If loaves are browning excessively, remove them from the oven and make an aluminum foil ‘tent’ to shield them, and then return them to the oven.

  • Internal temperature should be between 190°F-205°F; baked loaves should be evenly browned.

  • After turning bread out of the pan, tap the bottom or side of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, the bread is done.

Butter Rolls

Psalm 105:4   Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

Nora Sons Cyree 1885-1970


When my husband was a little boy he and his brother and sister spent a good bit of time with their grandparents.  When the kids had been particularly good, (which according to legend, wasn’t very often) their Granny would make these butter rolls.  Lee’s granny has been gone quite awhile, but we have been able to recreate these butter rolls fairly close to hers.   They really aren’t “rolls” as one thinks of a bread roll.  They are more like a sweet side dish for breakfast or a special treat anytime.  They are so rich that a little bit goes a long way, but between the butter and the sugar – what’s not to like?!!!


Granny’s Butter Rolls


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar


2 cups milk
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Granny made this in her cast iron skillet, but a lightly greased 7”x11” or 8”x8” baking pan will also work.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Cut shortening in thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in water and press dough together with your hands. Roll out pastry into a large rectangle. Spread the butter evenly over the pastry, then sprinkle on 1/4 cup sugar.

Roll up the dough jelly roll style and pinch to seal. Cut into 12 even slices.

Place the rolls in the prepared pan.

In a small saucepan, heat milk, 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla until mixture begins to bubble. Pour milk mixture over rolls.

Bake in preheated oven until brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Yields 12 servings. 

If you like butter, you’ll love these simple but delicious butter rolls. They’re baked in a sweet milk sauce.  Just the thing for a crowning touch to any meal.


Did you know?  According to “Wine and Food Books” measuring spoons with well rounded bottoms are the most accurate.  Avoid the ones that are extremely shallow; they can be off by almost 50 percent!

Italian Bread Dough with a Herb Twist

Yesterday’s recipe, Baked Oatmeal really hit home with several of you.  I told you it would be a “healthy surprise” and it is.  However, I received two comments that are great suggestions and I am going to try both next time I bake this.

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries

My eldest son said, “That sounds delicious. But I am my Mother’s son and I think I might tweak it a little too. I’m going to try it with coconut oil for an even healthier boost!”

And then I heard from my dear friend Toni who said, “…this looks really good .. I am going to try it very soon — only I will use Stevia — just don’t need that sugar in such an otherwise very healthy recipe…”

I know you can read these under the comments of the recipe but I think they are both such good suggestions that I wanted to make sure you know about them! J

Moving on, as promised, soon I am going to post my recipes for Cabbage Burgers, Italian Burgers, and Veggie Burgers.  But before I do that, I need to give you the second bread recipe that you may want to use in making the burgers.  You can find the first recipe under My Best Dinner Yeast Rolls.  The second, Italian bread dough is a very multi-functional recipe.  I have made this recipe into dinner rolls, into a beautiful round loaf of herb bread, and our favorite – as the dough for Italian Burgers!

Boy oh boy do I love to bake bread!  I love the feel of it in my hands, the smell of the yeast rising, the look of the bread all happy and puffed up just before baking, and … oh the smell of fresh bread in the oven!  Wow, I don’t know if I can finish writing this recipe, I may need to leave for a bit and go put some bread in the oven.

Every since I began baking bread when I was 18 years old, I have enjoyed it.  But, I have had many failures.  In the early years I would often times end up with a brick instead of a loaf  — it would be too heavy, too dry, too moist and the list goes on.

Today, while I have more successes than failures, I can still end up with an experiment gone awry from time to time.

A couple years ago I was visiting with my brother’s family in Kansas City and my niece, Jaeme, made the most delicious Italian bread to go along with a fabulous chicken and shrimp Caesar Salad!  When I asked Jaeme for the recipe, she admitted that she started with a basic Italian bread recipe and by this time had “tweaked” to the point she wasn’t sure of exact measurements.

Well her wonderful bread sent me home to experiment!  While I don’t think I can match the memories from that evening, this recipe is now one of our favorites.  I hope you will do some experimenting of your own and let me know how it turns out!

Basic Italian Bread with a little herb twist! 

  • 1 cup water, lukewarm (ideal temp is 95 to 120 degrees) – I always check with an instant read thermometer)
  • 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour (adjusted as necessary)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ Tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • Place the water and yeast in a bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, food processor, or Kitchen Aid.  Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes.  Using a dough hook attachment, add the flour and sugar to the water/yeast mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
  • Drizzle the oil and salt into the dough and beat on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.  If the dough remains sticky, add a little flour just 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth.  Do not over-add flour or the bread will end up too heavy.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray.  Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  • Remove the plastic, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand.  Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well with each roll.  The dough should be elongated and slightly oval shaped, with rounded and tapered (but not pointed) ends.
  • Place the dough on parchment paper or baker’s peel heavily dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal.  Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a moist paper towel, for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.  Don’t let the time get away or the loaf with get too large and too airy.
  • Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle on sesame seeds (optional).  Using a razor blade or sharp knife, score 3 (1/4 inch deep) slashes across the top of the dough at a 45 degree angle.  This allows the bread to rise and the air to escape.
  • If you have a pizza stone, preheat the pizza stone in a 400 degree oven.  Alternately, an inverted cookie sheet may be used in place of the stone.
  • Mist the dough generously with water from a water bottle and place on the preheated baking stone.  Put back in oven and bake for 3 minutes.  Open the oven door and mist spray the dough again with the water.  Close the oven door and bake for an additional 3 minutes before spraying the dough for a third time.
  • Bake dough for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a hollow thud is heard when the bread is whacked with the bowl of a wooden spoon.
  • Allow bread to cool before slicing and serving.

A few things I have learned:

  • Misting the dough with water will ensure a crisp golden brown crust.
  • Temperature of the water to mix with yeast is critical enough to invest in a quick read thermometer.
  • This recipe is a good one to use for Italian Burgers a recipe I plan to post next week!

Psalm 7:17
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.

Proverbs 25 – These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah: