Shout Out for Oma Bread


Last week I mentioned my mom in one of my posts.  My mother-in-law was very important in my life, but especially because of her wonderful cooking.  She loved to cook.  Loved to share her recipes (well kinda–more about that later).  Loved to give cooking tips.  She cooked with gusto and we knew that (Oy!  The work this was!)  When she passed away her boys put together “Oma’s Cookbook” where her recipes for spaetzle, Greek beef stew, stollen, butterhorns and Christmas cookies are all written down for posterity.


One problem.  We think this might have been intentional, oh, no it couldn’t have been.  Could it?

No one had any recipe exactly like any other person.  “What?  Your stollen recipe has __________?”  Everyone was dictated, written verbally shared just a little bit different.  Perhaps so she could reign queen of the kitchen.  Not to worry Oma, you do.  No one has ever measured up to you!

One of the things she made that her children and especially her grandchildren (Jacob in particular) was homemade bread.  They called in Oma bread.  What a treat to be offered a lovely slice of toasted Oma bread with some delicious homemade jam.  Jacob was over the other day.  He told me that my bread was almost as good as Oma’s.  High praise indeed.  So let me share.

Oma Bread  (my version)

I always make a sponge.  A sponge is my premix where the yeast is allowed to bloom.


1 cup water (90 – 100 degrees)

1/2 tsp yeast

1-1/2 cup bread flour

Mix, cover and let set in a warm place for 2- 16 hours


1 cup water (100-115 degrees)

3/4 tsp. yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1-1/2 tsp. salt

3-1/4 cup bread flour

Mix the bread ingredients in a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook) with the sponge until “just mixed.”  Let this set for 12 minutes (right there in the mixer stand).


Turn the mixer on medium low and kneed for 9-12 minutes.


Place in a lightly oiled clean bowl to rise.  Cover with plastic wrap (I spray mine with cooking spray so it doesn’t stick).  Let rise in a warm place until about doubled. (1 – 1-1/2 hours depending on luck)  DON”T set on a granite or marble or any solid surface because they tend to be cold and it will inhibit the rise.  You can place the bowl on a wooden breadboard on the surface though.)


When it has doubled, punch down, gently form a circle loaf.  I place mine on a cooking stone lightly sprinkled with corn meal.  You can also use two cookie sheets stacked together.  Cover with a cloth and let it rise for about 90 minutes.


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  When ready to bake, take a serrated knife and make a couple of slash marks into the top of the bread.  Place in oven and reduce the temperature to 425.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  or until golden brown.  Bread will sound hollow when you tap on it.

Let cool for at least 1/2 hour.  Enjoy!  Image

It yields 1 large loaf.  I also call it my “Walk Away Bread” because I don’t have to stand there and watch it as I do each step.  Set the timer and walk away.

Happy G!


Why?  Because my grandbabies are coming this weekend.  I am so excited and planning lots of things.  Etta, 2 1/2 is fun, funny, and super busy.  She is good for about 15-20 minutes on an activity — so I have to plan accordingly.  Today I am making animal crackers for her in mini letters.  She can pick out some of the letters in her name, so we will work on the alphabet!

Pepe is going to take her on a date to Impressions Five Children’s Museum in Lansing and to lunch.  I would love to be a fly on the wall here!

We have crafts planned, coloring, building blocks and of course lots of rides on the roller coaster we have in our house for her.  I am not kidding.  It is hysterical to see her on this.  The roller coaster car is all pimped out with fire wings, her name and various “smack talk.”

Abbott, 6 months, will just smile, coo and snuggle with me.  I’m perfectly happy to do that.  I love these two kids.  More than I can ever express.


If my mother could see me now . . .


I learned most of my cooking skills from my mother.  Well, actually, I learned what NOT to do.  She wasn’t exactly the best cook, nor did she particularly need to be a good cook.  She was a smart, warm, loving woman who could sing like an angel and had the heart of gold.  It happens a lot.  I will be somewhere and someone will say, “Are you Ruth Bennett’s daughter?”  When I gladly admit it they recall some warm, sweet memory of her.  It is a beautiful thing.


I made a beautiful, wonderfully old fashioned pound cake tonight for my dear friend Vanessa’s birthday.  I work with her–so at lunch tomorrow my bestie, Lori Gray and I are serving dessert at lunch.  Pound cake with raspberries and whip cream, yum.

Now pound cake is fairly easy, but like most recipes there are always a few tricks.

In general my best cooking tips include:

  • Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go before you start the assembly of the ingredients.  It reduces stress and mistakes!
  • Read through the entire recipe so there are no surprises; and this one which made me think of my mother (see it does all tie together)
  • Follow the directions step by step (Don’t just throw all the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer rip!)
  • Clean up as you go along.  Tonight I made sure my dishwasher was empty so when I added an ingredient and waited for it to mix, I’d rinse the container of the ingredient and threw it in the dishwasher.

My mother preferred a clean kitchen and often told me I was not “neat” in the kitchen.  My oldest daughter, Emily, use to love to experiment with her friend Andy in the kitchen.  No counter was left untouched, every pan in the kitchen was used and most of the ingredients were substitutions or just made up.  Most recipes were left with the mess for me to clean up–sometimes taking days.  (How did this 1/2 cup of sugar get spilled in the utensil drawer.)  My youngest daughter, Claire, didn’t recognize what a kitchen was until her early 20’s.  By the way, both of my daughters are excellent cooks now.

Oh how I ramble, but here is the pound cake recipe:

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

1 lb. (4 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

9 eggs seperated

4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder (fresh!–not one that has been in your cupboard for over a year!)

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon of almond flavor (optional)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Prepare a bundt pan or angel food cake pan by lightly spraying it with cooking spray.

3.  In a large bowl and mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy.  It will turn a paler yellow (4 minutes or so)  Slowly add sugar until it is incorporated.

4.  Add egg yolks one at a time, mix in and add next until all are added.

5.  The dry ingredients should be placed in a medium bowl and whisked.

6.  The milk and flavorings should be mixed together in another bowl.

7.  Add 1/3 of wet and 1/3 of dry ingredients, alternating until they are both in the bowl.

8.  In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.  Fold into the other ingredients until incorporated.

9.  Pour evenly into the cake pan, tapping the pan to smooth and even it out.

10. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean.

11.  Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.  Turn out on wire rack and let it completely cook.

This rich cake serves 20 people.  It is moist and delicious and good on it’s on or served with berries and whip cream.

POUND CAKE      My house smells amazing right now.

Comment to me some of your best cooking tips!

For the love of scones . . .


I love scones.  I always had a nice selection of those lovely, but expensive, mixes.  Until the day I discovered that I could make my own mixes.  When you read the directions on those mixes you usually have to add butter, eggs and milk.  So what are you buying?  The dry ingredients and some of the flavorings.

My easy, easy scones are a general recipe and all you have to do is add 1-2 cups of any kind of flavor combination you want.  Tonight, in less than a half an hour I made a dozen scones.  So easy that I did it 2 more times.

The flavors?  Chocolate chip walnuts; almond cherry and cinnamon pecan.  I started at 9 p.m. and I’m done.  I think my taste testers at school tomorrow will have some tasty choices.


Chocolate Chip Scones!

G’s Scones

2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (this depends on how sweet you like them or what ingredients you are adding)

1Tablespoon baking powder

1 scant tsp salt

1 stick butter

1 – 2 cups of flavoring ingredients

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk, yogurt, sour cream — whatever you have (I like milk)

1 tsp. of flavoring such as vanilla, almost, coconut

additional milk for brushing

coarse sugar


1.  Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder) in a large bowl.

2.  Cut up the stick of butter into pats and cut into the dry ingredients.  (I use a heavy whisk or a pastry cutter, but a fork works too) until it is coarse (okay to see some small chunks of butter).

3.  Add your choice of flavorings.  Some good combinations include:

     dried cherries and almonds — chocolate chips, almonds and coconut — cranberries and orange zest — lemon zest/poppy seeds/almonds — hazel nuts and well, just about anything!  Be creative.

4.  In a small bowl mix eggs, milk and flavor together and add to dry ingredients.  Using a wooden spoon mix together until all the ingredients are incorporated.   I like to use my hands to mix the the last of the dry ingredients in.

5.  Divide the dough in half.  Make two disks about 3/4 inch thick on a baking sheet with parchment or silicone sheets on them.  Don’t use a greased baking sheet.  If you have to use a plan sheet just sprinkle a little flour on it.

6.  Brush the milk on the disks and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Using a kitchen knife, but the disks in half and then into six wedges and slightly separate.

NOW . . . The big trick.  Stick in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Seriously, seriously this makes the scones so light and fluffy.  Look at the picture below and see the rise on these!

photo (18)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire wrack.  They are delicious warm or cool.