Banana Yeast Bread

OK ! this is the bread I am going to make in my diner when I quit my job and do something crazy!

 Makes the BEST French Toast!

This is the French Toast Guy Fieri is going to tell me is money! I am sure it will have a blob of whipped cream on it and some crushed praline nuts on it as well but that’s just glamming up for the cameras!

You will need:

  • 3 over ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp fine zested orange peel
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp great Extra Virgin buttery mild oil
  • milk (I will explain the amount further in the recipe) -less than 1 cup
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (possibly a bit more or less depending on humidity)
  • 1/2 tsp flaked salt

Step 1: using the bread or paddle attachment- squish bananas in a stand mixer – of course you could do this recipe by hand if you want a workout.

Step 2: add eggs to a liquid measuring cup, whisk with fork. Add orange zest, 2 tbsp of melted butter, olive oil and then fill with milk of your choice until you reach 1 cup on the measure.

Step 3: add the liquid to the bananas and change to the paddle attachment.

Step 4: add the yeast and leave for 10 minutes.

Step 5: add flour and salt and mix on slow to incorporate and then on high for at least 3-4 minutes with the dough hook. Turn out onto the counter and hand knead for a few seconds to make sure that the dough is not sticky. This is where you feel the dough and add small sprinkles of additional flour until it no longer sticks to your hands.

Step 5: wash the bowl and butter sides, then coat the soft dough with enough butter so so that the plastic wrap that you will cover the bowl with doesn’t stick to the dough if it rises to the top. Leave in a warm place for 2 -2/12 hours. this is a rich bread and you are looking for it to be doubled in size how ever long that takes.

Step 6: turn out the dough from the first proof and gently deflate and roll up to fit into a buttered bread pan. Cover with a buttered or oiled piece of plastic wrap -I just use the one I had on it for the first rise. Leave until doubled again this is only about 1 hour.

Step 7: bake at 350 degrees F 30-45 minutes. If bread appears to be browning too quickly tent with aluminium foil for the last 10-15 minutes.

brushed with a bit of butter !

Great the next day as French Toast (just mix eggs with milk or cream a bit of sugar or honey, soak bread for a minute they fry in some more butter and top with maple syrup,sliced bananas and powdered sugar!!

Get the coffee you are gonna love this!

Herb and Olive Oil Focaccia

Is there anything more inviting on a cold day than a warm bowl of soup and the aroma of freshly baked bread…ok, maybe a blanket and a fire but this goes with that too!

You will need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 great extra virgin olive oil – do not use the stuff from the grocery store for $9.99 that’s junk!
  • 2 cloves of garlic- minced finely
  • 1 tbsp dry Italian Seasoning herb mix
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped Basil
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped Parsley (flat Italian)
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 finely minced spring onion
  • 1 tsp dry chili flakes (pepperoncino)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese and more sea salt

Step 1: heat water in microwave for 1 minute. Add yeast and honey and mix. Leave 5 minutes to activate yeast.

Step 2: chop the fresh herbs and mince garlic. Find a delicious Olive Oil – this one is a Hojiblanca from Spain. Place the oil, garlic, dry seasoning, fresh herbs, salt, green onion, chili flakes and pepper in a small pot and heat on low for 1 minute so that the garlic blooms and all the herbs open up then turn off and set aside.

I add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and stir in a large bowl. Let sit 20 minutes.

Step 3: add half the oil blend to the dough, the other half will be spread on top.

Step 4: I add another cup of flour to the counter and plop the wet mix on top. I use a bench scrapper to fold in more flour until it becomes manageable. I knead by hand and keep adding a sprinkle of flour until no longer sticky. This might be up to 2 more cups for a total of 4 cups.

Place in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap until double in size. This will take 1 -1 1/2 hours.

Step 5: Add a generous glug of oil to the bottom of the sheet pan and place the soft dough on top pushing down with your fingers pressing into the corners. Pour the rest of the oil mix on top and don’t forget the grated Parm and another sprinkle of sea salt.

Bake at 325 for 20- 25 minutes until golden and fragrant!

Soft and delicious !!

Khachapuri -Georgian Cheese Bread

This bread is often topped with an egg and put back in the over until it is just set but the center is still runny. I am not a fan of runny eggs in anything so they are not on my breads. The original is just made with just cheese (top)

I created another one with a thin layer of pesto under the cheese and I have to say I loved that one better! But that is the beauty of cooking and baking you can make it your own and add what you love best!!

You will Need:


  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 pkg or 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (yes use the EVOO – don’t save it )

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled FETA – I beg you not to use North American Feta it is not the same as the Greek Feta not even close!
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil or melted butter to brush on crust
  • eggs if you like that sort of thing on your bread

Step 1: in the bowl of a stand mixer add the dry ingredients: salt, yeast and flour.

Step 2: In a large measuring cup or microwave safe bowl add the wet ingredients: honey, water, milk and olive oil. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.

Step 3: add the wet to the dry and with the dough hook mix for about 4 minutes until the bowl is almost clean. Then I always do a few minutes of kneading on the counter to get the correct amount of flour added until the dough is no longer sticky.

Step 4: Once smooth oil a bowl with more olive oil and then cover an let rise until double. 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.

Step 5: Crumble and grate your cheeses and leave in fridge until ready to assemble.

Step 6: Once doubled gently deflate and place back in oiled bowl for a second rise about 45 minutes this time.

Step 7: cut dough into 4 equal pieces and flatten out into a sort of square shape then roll up edges for form a ledge. Pinch sides to create the traditional shape or just make them round like a pizza

fill with cheeses

or add your favorite spread like pesto on the bottom and then top with cheeses.

Step 8: Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are the level of browned you like (by the way in Italy the best pizzas have some level of char on them because that is considered a component/ingredient – they are not just melted cheese and bread)

EAT Warm!! and if you have lots left let them cool and freeze them for later. When you are ready to eat them toss them in a hot oven again for 5 minutes to warm up

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

These are perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning but they will also just make any Sunday morning special. You can always make them at night, roll them out and let them rise for the final time in the fridge overnight. Big Pete loved them. They have a nice fluffy texture as all cinnamon buns should and just a little hint of spice and pumpkin!! YUMMY!!

You will need:

  • 2/3 cup warm milk (I microwave for 20 seconds)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 pkg of yeast
  • 1/2 cup of mild buttery olive oil – don’t use anything that says Light – I used a gorgeous Ascolano from Wild Groves California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/12 -4 cups of all purpose flour – a bit more for rolling
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6-7 tbsp very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


  • 4 oz of softened cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 -1 1/2 cups of sifted powdered sugar (I like it with 1 cup sugar but, you might like it sweeter)

Step 1: warm the milk in the microwave for 20 seconds just so that it is warm to the touch not hot. Add the honey and yeast, stir and leave for 5 minutes to make sure yeast activates.

Step 2: add the yeast mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining wet ingredients: 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. I have used my new friend Dewey Lucero’s gorgeous Ascolano (go to his website Wild Groves Olive Oil to get some!) add the canned pumpkin, the eggs and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Step 3: In another bowl add the dry ingredients: 2 1/2 cups of the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and baking soda.

Step 4: add the dry to the wet and mix with the paddle or dough hook for approx 30 seconds until just combined. It will be a wet dough.

Step 5: cover and let rise for 2 hours in a warm place.

Step 6: get your remaining 1 cup flour (might need a bit more) and a scrapper works well. I pour out the flour and mix and fold in the remaining flour. I add just enough flour so that it is not sticky but it is still a lovely soft dough. I roll out a big rectangle and then add the filling.

Step 7: in a small bowl make the filling: add the brown sugar , salt, 2 tbsp bourbon, cinnamon and chopped pecans. Mix with your fingers or a spoon.  Then spread out the softened butter in an even layer on the top of the dough. Sprinkle the filling evenly leaving a bit of an edge.

Step 8: roll up so you have a long skinny roll, not a short fat roll. Slice into 1 1/2 inch rolls. I always cut the whole roll in half and each in half until you have the even slices you like. Place into a buttered dish with room around each and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until they are nicely browned around the edges.

Step 9: make the glaze: in a bowl add soft cream cheese, bourbon and powdered sugar, mix with the hand mixer until smooth.

Let rolls cool and smear some of the cream cheese glaze on top of each. They taste great when still slightly warm .

Chocolate Babka and Jalapeno Garlic Cheese Babka

Chocolate Babka

Jalapeno Garlic Cheese Babka – its like the best spicy garlic cheese bread!

This is a tale of two Babkas, one sweet and one savoury. You can  easily swap out filling to make it your own version. Add chopped nuts and cinnamon sugar, pesto and Parmesan or what about adding olive tapenade to create your delicious speciality. With this one receipt you can divide the dough in half to create 2 small babkas or one large.

You will need:


  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pkg yeast (instant or regular)
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 stick butter room temperature =soft
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Chocolate filling

  • 2 tbsp best extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips or milk if you prefer
  • 4 oz of best quality dark chocolate chopped finely
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature =soft

If you want to make a savoury version

leave out the vanilla and sugar in the dough

Jalapeno Garlic Cheese Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 finely chopped fresh jalapenos
  • 1/2 can sliced canned jalapenos
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 green onions

Step 1: in the bowl of a stand mixer add warm milk, 1 tbsp of the sugar (I heat in the microwave for 20 seconds)and vanilla paste. (this is an exceptional product and worth the effort to find in any gourmet speciality shop) Sprinkle the yeast on top and mix for 5 seconds. Let yeast bloom to make sure it’s active -wait 5 minutes.

Step 2: add the rest of the sugar, flour, eggs, butter, olive oil and lastly the salt. Mix with the dough hook attachment for 5 minutes until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is a smooth dough. If you find it is too wet you can always a 1/4 cup more flour at a time. Humidity can affect how much flour is necessary so you may need a bit more. The perfect dough should be smooth and not sticky to the touch once it has absorbed as much flour as necessary.

Step 3: remove the paddle and I for some reason always knead the dough a few turns on the counter to feel it in my hands and know that it has enough flour or not. Place the ball back into the bowl and cover to let rise at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge if you prefer.

Step 4: once the dough has risen, remove from bowl and on a lightly floured surface roll out a large rectangle roughly 10 inches wide facing you (this doesn’t have to be exact)

Step 5: the butter should be very soft and I just spread it evenly over the dough leaving a half inch border around the edges. Sprinkle a few tsps of cinnamon over the butter, then add the brown sugar and two types of chocolate.

Step 6: then roll up the dough into a long log.

Step 7: with a sharp knife slice the dough lengthwise. Join the two ends together and create a criss cross pattern with the exposed layers on top.

Step 8: carefully place into a parchment lined loaf pan. If you are making 2 loaves you can slice the long log in half. If you are making one loaf I suggest baking on a cookie to ensure the bread cooks properly in the middle.

Step 9: let bread rise for a further 30 minutes in the pan as the oven heats up to 350 degrees

Bake approximately 35- 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Let cool….that’s the hard part!

Savoury Cheese Babka filling: I take all ingredients (except cheese) and mince finely in a food processor, add cheese and mix all ingredients together then spread onto dough the same as above roll up the dough the same way.

Slice lenghtwise

Criss Cross

Let rise


Honey Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Buns

These are not too sweet and are perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon! Don’t even think that one will be enough!!

You will need:

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water -I heat in micro 40 seconds
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp of mild extra virgin olive oil – I used Uliva from the Garda region in Italy
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 2 pkgs – 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4-5 cups all purpose flour
  • 6-8 tbsp very soft unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped milk chocolate *always buy best quality chocolate
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Step 1: In a large measuring cup heat the water. Add butter, lovely olive oil and honey. Whisk to combine.

Step 2: add the 2 packages of yeast, mix and leave 5 minutes to get foamy and activate.

Step 3: Whisk in eggs and salt. Pour liquid into a large bowl and add the whole wheat flour and 4 cups of the all purpose flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes too stiff to continue mixing in the bowl.

Step 4: Turn out contents onto a clean counter and knead with your hands adding the last cup and even a bit more flour as necessary. Once the dough turns into a soft dough and your hands are no longer sticky you have added enough flour. It is a nice soft dough when done.

Step 5: place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to seal with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to double in size for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Step 6: punch down dough and remove from the bowl onto a floured surface to role out into a rectangle approx 15 x 20 inches -with the longer edge face you.

Step 7: Spread very soft butter evenly all over the surface of the dough. I take the cinnamon, finely chopped chocolates and brown sugar and mix together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the chocolate, cinnamon sugar and sprinkle over the layer of butter leaving a bit of a clean edge to seal the dough.

Step 8: With the long edge facing you, roll up the dough. Slice the dough into even slices. I always cut in half, then keep cutting those in half to get the size of bun you like. Approximately 1 1/2 inches is good but, you can make them as large as you like!

Step 9: place 1/2 inch apart in a pan so they have room to rise once more before baking. I also freeze them at this point. I froze half this batch for later.

Step 10: heat oven to 350 degrees F. Let rise another 30-40 minutes. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Step 11: let cool then make simple glaze by mixing a bit of milk with icing sugar. Drizzle over buns and eat soft and slightly warm with a big mug of coffee!! Don’t even think you can just eat one!

Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread

I made this bread replacing the butter that is normally part of the recipe with a mild buttery olive oil. It turned out exceptionally well and I will make this recipe again. Big Pete loved this sweet orange and lemon scented sweet bread so I knew it was a good enough recipe to share.

You will need:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pkg traditional dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you can add part of this as vanilla sugar if you like)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mahlepi/mahleb (optional but makes it truly exceptional!)
  • 1/4 tsp mastic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup mild buttery olive oil – I used Oltremonti Extra Virgin from Corsica
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 orange juiced
  • 1/2  tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg plus 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds or sliced almonds

Step 1: place milk in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 30 seconds – should be slightly warm. Sprinkle yeast on top of milk and stir. Set aside 10 minutes to activate yeast.

Step 2: in a large bowl add dry ingredients: add 4 cups of the flour, sugar , salt, mahlepi and mastic. Stir to combine.

Step 3: in another bowl add wet ingredients: olive oil, eggs, orange juice, lemon and orange zests. Whisk to mix.

Step 4: add activated yeast to flour, start to mix with a wooden spoon (a couple of turns) then add the orange egg mixture. Mix well with the wooden spoon until it is too hard to continue, then turn out the entire mixture onto the counter.

Step 5: add the final 1 cup of flour as necessary until your dough no longer is sticky to the touch. It will take about 5-8 minutes to knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and becomes soft and smooth. I like to use a bench scraper to help clean the board as I mix.

Step 6: place a bit of the same olive oil in a large clean bowl, coat the dough and sides of the bowl with the oil to make sure it doesn’t stick to bowl once it rises. Cover with plastic wrap and leave until double in size. Approximately 2-3 hours.

Step 7: once doubled remove from bowl and cut into 3 equal pieces. You may need a bit more flour (but don’t use too much, it is easier to roll if it is slightly sticky)

Step 8: roll out 3 logs that are 2 feet (24 inches) long. Braid bread. Pinching ends to join. Lightly, cover the dough and let rise another 1 hour. If the dough is too dry you can brush a small amount of oil over top to avoid the plastic wrap from sticking to it.

Step 9: after proofing the second time. Take an egg and a bit of water and whisk. Brush top of bread with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Let it cool before slicing- I know it’s hard but, this step is important or you will squish the perfect interior.

Brown Irish Soda Bread

The perfect bread for St Patrick’s Day! and easy enough to make any night.

You cut a deep cross in the loaf to BLESS the bread and poke some holes to let out the fairies (or the Devil) Enjoy a slice of this slightly sweet bread with lots of butter. Slainte!

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/3 cup wheatgerm
  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Step 1: heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2: in a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add flours, wheatgerm, baking soda and salt.

Step 3: add honey to some of the buttermilk and stir to dissolve.

Step 4: form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in all the buttermilk and honey mixtures. Stir gently to start to combine, then turn out the entire wet shaggy mix onto the counter. I use a scraper to fold the dry into the wet and keep turning gently. I don’t handle the dough very much or very long, just enough to make sure the dough is formed.

Step 5: grease a round baking tin with butter or oil and place the round loaf inside. With a sharp knife cut a cross or x on the loaf and poke some holes.

Step 6: bake for 30-40 minutes. I bake for 20, then flip over and bake a further 10 and continue for a final 10 or until the loaf is nicely browned and when you tap the bottom of the bread it sounds hollow. Let cool before slicing.

Vanilla Buttermilk Biscuits

These are simple, slightly sweet buttermilk biscuits that take just a few minutes to prepare and they can be cut and baked or frozen for another weekend. This is also a great way to use up that large container of buttermilk you bought when you needed a half a cup! (seriously why don’t they make small containers of buttermilk??)

I just love them with honey or jam and some double cream.

You will need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter -cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 1: in a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Mix with a whisk and set aside.

Step 2: chop very cold butter into small cubes and add to flour mix.

Step 3: with a pastry cutter or using a food processor pulsing a few times. Cut butter into flour until butter pieces are pea sized.

Step 4: make a well in the center of the flour mix and add buttermilk. Mix with a fork to start to just incorporate the buttermilk. It will look like a shaggy mess.

Step 5: turn out mix onto counter and gather to start to create a dough. You don’t want to overwork this dough, you just kind of gather the mess, pat, fold and press to form a dough.

Step 6: Press the flour in to incorporate and to form a square. Then fold one side to the center and then the other side into the center and again, press to shape and add all the flour on your board. You can flip the dough over and scrape up any flour and use a rolling pin to form a square dough. When you gather the contents and fold you are adding lots of layers of butter and flour (like when making puff pastry) which doesn’t overwork the dough and makes these biscuits flaky.

Step 7: when you have your dough complete you can roll out to 3/4 inch thickness and you can cut with a cookie cutter for a traditional round biscuit or do the lazy method (which leaves no mess)

I just cut into 12 squares, bake what I want and freeze the rest.

see those nice flaky layers, they will puff nicely!

freeze some.

Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle some vanilla sugar on tops for a nice sweet top.

Bake 13 -15 minutes (they should have a nice brown bottom but don’t over-bake)

Break open

add some double cream (which is like butter!) and your favorite jam or honey.


Olive Oil Cornbread

Cornbread can be dry but, not this one! It has lots of yummy olive oil to keep it moist. It is not too sweet and is perfect to add to a cornbread stuffing recipe. I love it warm with loads of honey!

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (mine was lemon salt)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey (if you like it sweeter you can add 1/2 cup )
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil – I used Domenica Fiore Reserva (don’t use cheap olive oil – if its cheap it is usually not even olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease pan

Step 1: generously grease a square pan (8×8) set aside.

Step 2: get two bowls one for the wet ingredients and the other for dry. In one bowl add cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix and set aside. In the other bowl add eggs, honey and mix right away. (never leave eggs and sugar or the sugar kind of cooks the eggs)

Step 3: pour some great extra virgin olive oil like Domenica Fiore Reserva from Umbria, Italy. Mix well with a whisk. Look at that glorious colour!!

Step 4: add the wet to the dry mix and carefully mix only until just incorporated. If you mix hard you will get a tough bread.

Step 5: pour into prepared pan and bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cut into squares and drizzle with gobs of sticky honey!