Cuban Bread

I had never even heard of Cuban bread until I was trolling the Three Guys from Miami website looking for a roasted pork sandwich recipe.  After stumbling across this recipe, I decided to give it a try.  I enjoy making my own bread, and homemade bread always makes sandwiches better.  It turned out to be a more time consuming process than I expected, but as soon as I tasted this bread, I was sold.  It is A-MAZING!

Sliced Cuban Bread

This recipe takes some time, largely due to the double rise, but it’s well worth the effort required.  The results are incredible!  I would describe Cuban bread as a buttery French or Italian bread.  The crust gets a nice, slight crisp while the inside stays soft with the perfect chew.  I had to stop myself from eating the whole loaf the first time I made this bread (I had made it for sandwiches, after all, not to wolf it down in one sitting).  This bread is great for sandwiches or soups… or just eating by itself…

Cuban Bread

Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours (including 2 hours of rise time)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 3-4


1/2 tbsp. Yeast
1 tsp. Sugar
5/8 c. Warm Water, divided
1 c. Bread Flour
1 c. All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Butter, melted

1.  Start by proofing your yeast.  Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 c. water and let sit 10 minutes until foamy.

2.  Using dough hooks, mix the yeast mixture, remaining water (3/8 c.), and salt on low speed until well mixed.

3.  Sift together your flours.  Add the flour and butter alternatively.  Use only enough flour that the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead on low 3-4 minutes adding a little extra flour if the the dough becomes too wet.

Finished Dough

4.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm oven (160°) for an hour.

5.  Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll out to a rectangular shape ~10″ x 12″

Roll out Dough

Roll tightly into a long cylinder, rolling from the narrower side.  Wet the seam and pinch to seal.

Roll into Loaf 1Roll into Loaf 2

6.  Place the loaf on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, seam side down.  Dust the top with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise on the counter an additional hour.  While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 450° F.

Tip: Don’t put the loaf into a warm oven for the second rise.  It seems to make the bread spread horizontally more than vertically.  Also, I like to use shot glasses to keep the plastic wrap above the loaf.  If the plastic wrap is too tight over the bread, it can inhibit the vertical rise.

Loosely Cover

7.  With about 15 minutes left in the second rise, cut a shallow seam down the middle of the loaf using a very sharp night.  Leave about an inch of loaf uncut on each end.

8.  Place a shallow pan of water in your preheated oven.

9.  Brush the surface of the loaf with water and bake 5 minutes at 450° F.  This, along with the humidity from the water bath, helps crisp the crust.

10.  After five minutes, remove the loaf from the oven and brush with water again.  Be careful opening the oven door to avoid a steam burn!  Return to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes until the crust is golden.

Cuban Bread Loaf

Allow the bread to cool for at least 10 minutes before you slice it (or else it will squish more than it will cut).  Pair it with soup or use it to make sandwiches.  This will probably be your new favorite bread recipe!

Sliced Cuban Bread


Buttermilk Biscuits

About a year ago I was having some serious comfort food cravings so I set out to learn to make perfect biscuits.  I tried quite a few recipes but there was always something wrong – the biscuits were too short, the texture was off, the flavor wasn’t right.  Finally I decided to combine the best parts of the different recipes I had tried.  And voilà… my recipe for perfect Southern Buttermilk Biscuits was born.  Now I’m passing my biscuit-baking expertise on to you!

Buttermilk Biscuits

My recipe is based on Tupelo Honey Cafe’s biscuit recipe (if you’re looking for a great Southern cookbook you should check theirs out), but I altered the ingredients and techniques based on what worked in other recipes.  I used lard, but don’t let that scare you – it actually has less saturated fat than butter.  It gives an extra boost of richness but where it really makes a difference is the texture.  Having said that, don’t use the stuff you buy at the store.  It’s hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable (Yikes!).  I render my own from the heritage pork quarter hogs we order.  If you don’t have homemade lard, use more butter in place of the lard.  Your biscuits will still be delicious, I promise!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 biscuits


1 c. Bread Flour
1/2 tbsp. Baking Powder
1/8 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tbsp. Greek Yogurt
3/4 tsp. Salt
3 tbsp. Butter, frozen
3 tbsp. Lard, frozen
1/4 – 3/8 c. Buttermilk

1.  Combine the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and salt in a bowl.

2.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter and lard into the dry ingredients.  You need your fats frozen so that they remain solid and create the little air pockets that make your biscuits light and flaky.

Dry Ingredients

Fair warning, frozen butter is VERY hard.  This will take some elbow grease and I recommend a serious pastry cutter – the kind with blades instead of those wimpy round wires (I killed one of those the first time I made biscuits).  You want to keep blending until the mixture looks like a very coarse meal (see below).  The butter and lard pieces should be no bigger than a pea.

Cut In Butter

3.  Slowly add buttermilk until your dough comes together.

Biscuit Dough

4.  Transfer your dough to a well-floured surface and sprinkle with extra flour.  Roll out to ~3/4 – 1 inch thickness.  See how you can still see those pieces of butter?  That’s what you want!

Roll Out Dough

5.  Fold the rolled dough like a pamphlet, 1/3 over the center then the other 1/3 over the center again.

Fold Dough 1Fold Dough 2

6.  Once again roll the dough out to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness and repeat the folding procedure.

7.  After this second folding, roll the dough out to 1 inch thickness.  If you want nice, tall biscuits you have to keep dough thick before you bake it.

8.  Cut the dough using a biscuit cutter.  DO NOT twist the cutter!  This will seal the edges of the biscuit and prevent it from rising while it cooks.

You should be able to get 4 biscuits out of your dough.  I actually take the remaining dough after cutting and form it into a 5th biscuit.  It may not look as pretty, but it still tastes wonderful.

Cut Biscuits

9.  Place your biscuits on a baking sheet then cook on the top rack of the oven at 450° F until golden, about 20 minutes.

Bake Biscuits

You have the option of pulling the biscuits out after 15 minutes of baking, brushing the tops with melted butter, and returning the oven for another 5 minutes.  I usually skip this step because the biscuits are already buttery enough for my taste, but it will make your biscuits extra buttery, crisp, and golden.

Finished Biscuits

Split your biscuit and top with honey, jelly, or apple butter – or do what I do and eat them plain!  Pair them with eggs and bacon for a classic breakfast or enjoy as a side to a hearty Southern meal.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Rustic Bread

You really can’t beat homemade bread fresh from the oven, but the time management required to plan for kneading and multiple rises can be daunting.  Well, this recipe has none of those challenges!  You simply combine all the ingredients the day before, and your bread is ready to bake the next day.  Nice and simple… and tasty!

Rustic Bread

The are many rustic/peasant bread recipes out there floating around on Pinterest and food blogs.  The ingredients for our Rustic Bread come from this recipe.  This bread is great for soup or sandwiches or simply as a meal accompaniment.  It’s easy to make, tastes great, and has a wonderful texture.  You gotta try it!

Rustic Bread

Prep Time: 5 minutes + 12-18 hour rise time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4


2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
generous 1/4 tsp. Yeast
1 c. Water

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise on the counter for 12-18 hours.

Risen Dough

2.  Heat your oven to 450° F.

3.  While the oven is heating, shape the dough into a round and place on a well-floured surface.  Dust the top with flour.

Now, from here there are two different cooking methods: pizza stone (my preferred method) or Dutch oven.  Below are directions for both.

Pizza Stone Method

For this method, you’ll want to have your pizza stone in the oven while it’s heating.  You’ll also need a large metal bowl – I use a mixing bowl.

4.  After the oven has preheated, allow the stone to heat for 30 additional minutes.

5.  Once the stone is heated, place the dough on the stone and cover it with your metal bowl.

Pizza Stone MethodCover with Bowl

6.  After 30 minutes, remove the bowl.  The bread should still be pretty pale but will feel crusty.

Remove Bowl

7.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes until the outside is golden.

Dutch Oven Method

4.  Once the oven is preheated, put the dutch oven (with the lid) into the oven and heat for 10 minutes.  (If you want an even crunchier crust, leave the pot in the oven longer – up to 30 minutes).

5.  Pull the dutch oven out of the oven and carefully (the pan is HOT!) drop the dough into the dutch oven.  Cover and return to the oven.  Bake 30 minutes then remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes.

Cooked Bread

With either method, your end product should be a round, golden, crunchy bread loaf.  I prefer the pizza stone method as the bottom of the bread seems to come out a little softer making it easier to cut and chew.

Rustic Bread Loaf

Tip: The crunchiness of this loaf makes it difficult to cut, regardless of the method.  I’ve found that a serrated utility knife actually works better than a bread knife.  Another thing that helps is to let the loaf cool before cutting it – then the bread retains its shape instead of getting squished by the knife as you cut it.  Try to wait at least 15 minutes after it’s out of the oven.

Serrated Knife

After just a few minutes of work the day before, you’ve got yourself a fresh, homemade bread loaf for your next meal.  It really doesn’t get easier than that…  Try this bread with our Butternut Squash Soup!  **FIX**

Pumpkin Bread

One of my favorite things about fall is all the yummy food – Chili and Taco Soup on cool nights, hot cocoa and apple cider to warm you up at football games or fall festivals, not-so-good-for-you carnival food, and absolutely all things pumpkin. Now, pumpkin pie isn’t my favorite, so if that’s the only thing pumpkin you’ve tried, do not let that deter you from trying this! Pumpkin bread is a great dessert, breakfast, or anytime snack. It is sweet, nutty, and has just the right amount of spice!


I always make this several times in the fall- for co-workers, for our annual trip to the mountains, for football games, etc. There’s really no occasion that’s not better with bread – especially bread of the pumpkin variety!

You can use canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin for this recipe. If you use fresh, buying a sugar pie pumpkin will be your best bet. The pumpkins you buy for carving are bred for their size and durability against your kitchen knife (or hacksaw, whichever the case may be). They are not very sweet and usually pretty stringy. You can still use this pumpkin, just know up front that it won’t yield as sweet or flavorful of a bread. The sugar pie pumpkins, or any small, dark pumpkin variety, have a smoother, sweeter flesh that are much more suitable for baking. Even though I am trying to ditch the processed, and usually prefer things fresh, I use canned pumpkin for almost all of my baking – pure pumpkin, not the pie filling. It gives recipes a more pumpkin-y flavor in my opinion.

To make a pumpkin purée from fresh pumpkin, cut it in half and discard the stringy pulp in the middle. (You can save the seeds for roasting later – yummy!) Remove the stem and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until soft and tender. Purée or mash the cooled pumpkin until smooth. A medium size sugar pie pumpkin will yield 1 – 2 cups of purée.

After you’ve prepared your pumpkin purée, either by opening a can or carving and roasting, you’re ready to start gathering the rest of your ingredients. Here’s our cast of characters:


Start by preheating your oven to 350. Grease two loaf pans (mine are 9×5).


In a large bowl, combine the oil, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and water. I always crack each egg into a small bowl before adding it to my mixture. A tip I learned from Mrs. Paula Dean. She says “to make sure the chicken was flying right that day.” When your done it will be kind of watery and drip easily off your wisk. Like this…


Now all you do is dump all the remaining ingredients, expect the pecans, on top and stir. When everything is fully incorporated, add the pecans and stir just to distribute. Your batter should now be the consistency of a thick cake batter.


Pour batter into prepared pans. If your have course sugar, you can sprinkle it over the top before baking. Place pans in preheated oven and bake 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean.



And after…


This bread is actually best if you wrap it in plastic wrap after it cools and let it sit overnight. But this just doesn’t ever happen at my house! My 1 1/2 year old is usually standing the breakfast room saying “Peas! Peas!” (Please) when I open the oven door. She has learned to associate the oven with yummy things. Smart girl!

Variations: You can substitute the pecans for walnuts or pumpkin seeds. You can also either substitute or add chocolate chips or raisins. If you substitute chocolate chips or raisins for nuts, use 2 cups. If you use them with nuts, use about 1 1/2. This recipe can also be used to make muffins, if you would rather. If you want to top your bread (or muffins) with icing, mix about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with a tablespoon or so of a milk and 1-2 tablespoons melted butter. Drizzle on top before serving.

Pumpkin Bread

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1 1/2 hours

Makes: 2 loaves

1 cup vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin purée
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and water.

3. To the pumpkin mixture, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

4. Add the nuts and stir to distribute evenly.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let bread cool on a wire rack before serving.


Homemade Flour Tortillas

I can’t say I agree with Amanda’s views on**FIX** corn tortillas.  I realize they’re more authentically Mexican, but I’m not a fan.  Of course, they do make some delicious tortilla chips.  I prefer flour tortillas.  I always use them regardless of what the recipe calls for.  For example, carne asada tacos should be made with corn tortillas.  However, I enjoy them much more with flour tortillas.  They have a more neutral flavor and come out so warm and soft…  If you’re not prejudiced like me you really should check out**FIX** Amanda’s recipe for corn tortillas.  Some flavors are designed to pair with corn tortillas rather than flour.

Despite our disagreement over the merits of corn vs. flour tortillas, Amanda is 100% CORRECT that homemade tortillas are way better than store-bought and they’re easy to make.  Trust me, they’ll take your dishes to a whole new level.  Once you’ve tried homemade tortillas, you won’t want to go back!

Homemade Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes resting time

Cook Time: ~1 minute per tortilla

Serves: 6 (12 tortillas)


12 oz. Flour
5 tbsp. Lard or Shortening
3/4 c. Warm Water
3/4 tsp. Salt

1.  Combine the flour and lard/shortening in a bowl.  Mix, using your fingers or a pastry blender, until the dry ingredients appear crumbly.  The lard/shortening bits should be about the size of peas or a little smaller.

Note: Using lard greatly improves the flavor of your tortillas.  Unfortunately, lard has gotten a bad rep.  It’s really nothing to be afraid of.  Lard actually has less saturated fat than butter and is a good source of healthy unsaturated fats.  That said, I don’t recommend using store-bought lard – it’s been hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable (Yikes!!).  I render my own using the fat I get when I order a heritage quarter hog.  If you don’t have a source of high quality pork fat to render your own, you’re better off sticking with shortening (I recommend Spectrum Organic).

2.  Dissolve the salt in the warm water then add about 2/3 of it to the dry ingredients and mix.  If all the dry ingredients haven’t been wetted, continue mixing in additional splashes of water until everything is wet.  It’s okay if the dough doesn’t form a cohesive mass.  You don’t want to add too much water or your tortillas will be sticky and difficult to work with.  Again, you only need to add enough water to get everything wet.

Tortilla Dough

3.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured cutting board for a couple minutes until the dough comes together and becomes smooth.  Divide the dough into 12 golf ball-sized balls.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Note: This recipe is for fajita/taco-sized tortillas.  If you want medium-sized tortillas for enchiladas, divide the dough into 8 balls.  If you want large tortillas for small burritos or wraps, divide the dough into 6 balls.

4.  Now you’re ready to press your tortillas.  I recommend using a tortilla press – it helps your tortillas to stay round and even.  If you don’t have one you could press them between two cutting boards or do your best just using your hands.

Put a piece of wax paper down on the press (or cutting board) and place a dough ball on top of it.

Press Tortillas 1

Cover with another piece of wax paper and press.  This should give you a fairly round, thinner piece of dough.  If you don’t want to cook all the tortillas at once, this is the stage where you should stop.  You can store these thick tortillas, separated by pieces of wax paper, in a ziplock bag in the fridge for about a week.  When you’re ready to use them, allow them to come back up to room temperature before proceeding.

5.  Once your tortillas are pressed, they are still too thick to cook.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the tortillas on a lightly floured cutting board until they are 6-7 inches in diameter.  Tip: To help keep your tortillas round, turn the tortilla 1/8 or 1/4 turn after each roll.

Roll Out Tortillas

6.  Now your tortillas are ready to cook.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, and, once it’s hot, cook the tortillas one at a time.  As the first side cooks, bubbles should form on the surface of the tortilla.  If your tortilla isn’t bubbling, press gently on the surface with a spatula to encourage bubble formation.  Flip the tortilla after 30-45 seconds and cook another 15-30 seconds.  You should have nice golden patches where the tortilla bubbled.  To keep your tortillas warm while the others cook, place them in a tortilla warmer (I LOVE this one) or stack on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.

Cooking Tortillas

Top your fresh, warm tortillas with your favorite taco fillings – try our Chicken Tinga (pictured below), our Chipotle Stout Braised Beef, or chicken marinated in our Mexican Citrus Marinade – and enjoy!

Tinga Taco

See, now wasn’t that easy?  After one bite, you’ll know it was worth the little extra effort to make your own fresh tortillas!

This recipe can also be adapted to make flavored tortillas.  I use it to make spinach wraps for lunches.  If you want to make herb-flavored tortillas (spinach, cilantro, etc.) , combine 1 c. (loosely packed) of your herbs with the salt and water in a blender and puree until smooth and use this mixture to wet the dry ingredients in step 2.  If you want to make tomato tortillas, puree a tomato with the salt then add enough water to bring the mixture to 3/4 c. volume and use this mixture in step 2.

Spinach Tortilla 1 Spinach Tortilla 2

Southern Cornbread

I love cornbread!  It’s the perfect accompaniment to BBQ (especially if you fry it to make hushpuppies!) and is delicious with any kind of comfort food.  Having grown up in the South, I like my cornbread savory!  You’ll notice a glaring omission from the ingredient list for this recipe – sugar.  That’s right, no sugar.  If you’re one of those people who likes sweet cornbread, I’m afraid this isn’t the recipe for you.  Or, you could try this Southern classic and sweeten it up our way by spreading some honey butter on it or drizzling it with plain ol’ honey.  I prefer it without, but to each his own.

Corn Bread Pieces

My favorite restaurant cornbread is Cracker Barrel’s.  They achieve the perfect buttery flavor and slightly crumble texture.  Of course, we don’t have a Cracker Barrel here in Alaska… or anywhere that serves any kind of corn bread (much less the unsweetened version that I like).  So I have to make my own.  For a while I was making a cornbread recipe I’d found online and modified to reduce it’s sweetness.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than nothing.  Needless to say, my Southern cornbread search continued, and I kept my eyes open for any promising new recipes I came across.

Then I found ItFrank Stitt’s recipe on Williams-Sonoma’s blog.  The ingredient list looked right and the description sounded like just what I was looking for.  I whipped some up the next time I was making barbeque and found myself in comfort food nirvana!  It is wonderful and so incredibly close to Cracker Barrel’s cornbread.  Now I’m sharing it with you, so you can enjoy what cornbread’s supposed to taste like!

Southern Cornbread

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 3-4 (6-8 pieces)


1 c. Cornmeal
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
3/8 tsp. Salt
1/4 c. Flour
3/8 c. Whole Milk
3/8 c. Buttermilk
3 1/2 tbsp. Butter
1/2 egg, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 450°F then place baking dish in preheated oven.  (I use a glass Pyrex 8″ x 6″ or 7″ x 5″ rectangular dish or two mini cast iron skillets)

2.  Put flour and cornmeal in a bowl.  Gradually stir in the milk and buttermilk.

3.  Add butter to hot baking dish to melt.

4.  While butter is melting, stir baking powder, baking soda, and salt into batter.

5.  Once butter has been in the oven 5 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven.  Pour all but ~1/2 tbsp. of the melted butter into the batter and stir.

Buttered Batter

6.  Stir in the egg then pour the batter into the dish and bake 20-25 minutes.  (The batter should spread the butter remaining in the pan essentially greasing it for you!)

When the cornbread is done, the top should be lightly golden brown (and look wonderfully tasty!).

Finished Corn Bread

Slice it up and serve alongside pulled pork or BBQ chicken (or anything you want!).  I’ll even eat the leftover cornbread for breakfast.  Delicious!

Corn Bread Pieces

No-Knead Pizza Dough

This recipe, from Jim Lahey’s My Pizza, is simple, quick, and delicious.  It doesn’t require proofing of your yeast or kneading of the dough.  Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl the day before, and you’ll be ready to cook pizza the next day.  It’s designed to be cooked on a pizza stone under the broiler (check out How to Make Brick Oven-Style Pizza in Your Oven), but it works with any pizza recipe.  In case you’re reading this recipe on the day you plan to make pizza and you don’t have time to let your dough rise, see our Thick Crust Pizza Dough recipe (cut the recipe in half to achieve a similar dough thickness to this recipe).  It takes more prep work but only has to rise 30 minutes. Shaped Dough

No-Knead Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Rise Time: 18 hours

Cook Time: 5-7 minutes

Serves: 2


25o g. Flour (about 2 c minus 2 tbsp)
1/8 tsp. Yeast
1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
3/4 c. Water

1.  Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until all flour has been worked in.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl if desired. Pizza Dough 2.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise on the counter 12-18 hours. Risen Dough 3.  While the oven is warming, put the dough on a lightly floured surface (I use my pizza peel or a wooden cutting board).  Pull opposite sides of the dough into the center then repeat with remaining two sides.  This should form a ball.  Flip the dough ball over so the seam side is down.  Lightly dust the top with flour and allow to rest until the oven is hot. 4.  Once the oven is hot, it’s time to shape the dough.  You don’t want to press down on the dough or use a rolling pin.  It will force all the air bubbles out of the dough that give it that nice, airy texture. I hang the dough off the backs of my knuckles, moving my hands around the edges of the dough, allowing gravity to stretch it. Hanging Dough Then I put it on the pizza peel and pull on opposite sides of the dough, stretching it until it has reached the desired size. Stretching Dough Note: You want to keep your pizza peel adequately floured!  If you don’t mind the texture, you could also use corn meal.  It is incredibly frustrating if your dough sticks when you go to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone.  Once it’s shaped, give it a little shake to make sure the dough moves on the peel.  If not, you’ll have to unstick it with your hands and add more flour.  Don’t shake it too much though.  The dough is elastic so it shrinks back on itself every time you shake it. 5.  Now that you’ve shaped your dough and made sure it isn’t stuck, you’re ready to top the pizza and cook it.

Shaped Dough

Ready to try it?  Check out our recipes that utilize this dough:

Four Cheese White Pizza

Leek Pizza with Creamy Onion Sauce

Margherita Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Pizza

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza