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Entries in Bread (14)


Homemade Challah

It's been almost six weeks since I last posted.  It isn't that I haven't seen things or made recipes that I wanted to share but I haven't made the time to sit down and actually post about anything! I'm resolving to change that in the coming weeks.

That said, I've made a few delicious things that I really want to share, the best of which was this Challah that I made over the weekend.  J recommended it to me and it couldn't be easier, tastier or a more impressive loaf of bread.  It is braided after all...

I'd recommend making the challah and serving it with this Roasted Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup.  The addition of coconut milk instead of the usual chicken stock elevates this soup to the next level.  Like the challah, this soup is simple - perfect for a weeknight.  

Homemade Challah
Recipe from Food52 
Yield = Two large loaves


  • 1 1/2 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons instant (powdered) yeast
  • 6 cups flour -- either all white or half white whole wheat (I used all white flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup mild honey, plus an extra tablespoon for eggwash
  • 2/3 cups flavorless vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 eggs, plus one yolk for eggwash


  1. Put 1 cup warm water in a small bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, sprinkle the yeast over top, swirl the bowl just to combine, and leave it to proof for five minutes.
  2. While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment).  Stir to incorporate or blend on low speed.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix remaining water, honey, oil, and eggs.
  4. When yeast has finished proofing (you'll know because it will be bubbly), add it to the flour, immediately followed by wet ingredients.  Mix with a large wooden spoon or on medium-low speed in the mixer, just until combined, about 30 seconds.
  5. Switch to dough hook and begin to knead on low speed, making sure to incorporate what's at the bottom of the bowl if the dough hook misses it. If kneading by hand, stir using spoon until dough becomes to thick to stir.  Empty dough onto well-floured surface and knead by hand.  Knead dough until smooth and no longer sticky, adding flour with a light hand as needed, 7-10 minutes.
  6. Split the dough into two equal pieces. Set each in a large oiled bowl, cover both bowls with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. If using white flour, this should take about 2-2.5 hours. If using white whole wheat, it will take closer to 3.5 or 4. Feel free to let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight instead; if you do this, be sure to set out the dough in plenty of time before shaping, so it can come to room temperature.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. After the rise, the dough should be soft and pliable. Separate each mound of dough into three equal balls, for a total of six. Roll each ball into a log almost 1-foot long. Braid the logs together to create your loaf. For the nicest-looking braid, do not pinch the top edges of your logs together before braiding; simply place one log over the next and braid until you reach the bottom, then pinch those edges together. Then, flip the unfinished loaf the long way, so that the unfinished edge is now at the bottom and the loaf has been flipped over and upside down. Finish braiding and pinch these edges together. This way, both ends look identical. Tuck the very tips beneath the loaf when braiding is finished. Repeat with second loaf.
  9. Put each loaf on its own silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet. If using eggwash, mix yolk with a 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon honey. Brush over loaves.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes, until challot are golden and baked through.


Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

There are some recipes that I return to over and over, that never get old, and that I can almost make without the recipe at all.  This Cinnamon-Raisin Bread is one of them.  Ali introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is indispensable if you enjoy making homemade bread.  The technique is simple and the end result is tasty homemade bread baking in your oven with relatively little work. 

I usually start the day with a slice of this bread slathered with butter, but this weekend I used it for peanut butter sandwiches for an awesome mountain bike ride we did through the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.  If you ever find yourself in Steamboat Springs, its worth driving a little farther north to check out this area - it's filled with wildflowers, lakes, rivers, and craggy mountains... and we even saw two moose.  The bread tasted even better when looking at views like the one below!

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread
Adapted slightly from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day 
Yield = Three 1½-lb. loaves

For the bread:
2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1½ tablespoons yeast
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
butter for greasing the pan
For the filling:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1½ cups raisins
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)


1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart mixing bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. If you’re not using a machine, you may have to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.  I find that the easiest way to do this is in my stand mixer.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.  The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.

4. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch non-stick loaf pan and line it with parchment paper (this isn't absolutely necessary but I always bake with parchment - it makes it much easier to remove the bread after it bakes). Set aside.  Measure out your raisins, place them in a bowl, and cover them with just enough hot water to cover the raisins, and then cover the bowl (I like to reconstitute the raisins, which this does).  Set aside.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (grapefruit-size) piece.  Dust the piece of dough with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Elongate the ball into an oval.

5. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 18×16-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick, dusting the board and rolling pin with flour as needed. 

6. Using a pastry brush (this is my favorite), cover the surface of the dough lightly with the egg wash.  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough.  It seemed like a lot to me, but do use it all! Drain the water from the raisins and then sprinkle them evenly over the dough.

7. Starting from the short side, roll it up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf seam-side down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

8. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.


Apricot Jam & Nuts, Seeds & Grains Loaf of Bread

I love bread in any and all forms and am constantly trying to find a way to make it a healthier habit.  At bakeries, I tend to pick out loaves with lots of grains, seeds, and nuts, but I've never attempted to replicate a loaf like that at home.  
The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread as it is called on My New Roots caught my eye for a number of reasons and Jackie's ringing endorsement confirmed that I had to make it.  First, it looks delicious.  Second, you mix the bread in the loaf pan itself so you really only create one dish in making this bread.  Third, the bread doesn't need to be kneaded, nor does it need to rise at a certain temperature for hours on end.  While you may need to track down a few ingredients to make this, it will be worth your while to do so.  I ordered my psyllium husk powder on Amazon.  My only complaint about the bread is that with a standard toaster, it's a bit hard to toast because you lose hazelnuts and seeds into the toaster... a toaster oven would be a much better bet.
This is actually rhubarb jam - also a delicious option to spread on this bread.
The nutty, seedy, grainy slices of bed are even better with a little dollop of apricot jam on top!  I went a bit overboard with my apricot purchasing at the farmer's market last weekend and didn't want them to spoil.  This jam is light on the sugar, but the apricots are sweet enough that you really don't need much.  The jam is also great on plain yogurt and atop ice cream.  Apricots will be out of season before you know it - make this while you can!
Nuts, Seeds & Grains Loaf of Bread
Recipe from My New Roots as recommended by Dessertification
Yield = 1 loaf
Note - If you are looking for variations on this bread (e.g., sugar free, nut free), check out the comments after the recipe here.

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (I used hazelnuts)
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup 
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. If you have a flexible, silicon loaf pan, I'd recommend using that.  If you don't, a regular loaf pan will work just fine - I greased mine and inserted a piece of parchment paper for easy removal from the pan.  Combine all of the dry ingredients in the loaf pan, stirring well.  In a measuring cup, whisk maple syrup, oil and water together.  Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).  Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.  Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight (I let mine sit overnight).  To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!  

Apricot Jam
Yield = approximately 4 cups
By the way, I love my Weck jars!  

7 cups of sliced apricots (approximately 15 small apricots)
2 cups sugar
1/4 fresh lemon juice

1.  In a medium saucepan,combine the apricots, the sugar and the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often so the jam doesn't stick or burn.  Simmer the jam until it’s thick but some chunks of fruit remain, approximately 30 minutes.  

2.  Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool, transfer to a plastic container with a tight fitting lid or jars, and refrigerate.  The jam will keep in the refrigerator for approximately a week.


Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls

The month of March really snuck up on me.  February certainly didn't feel short with its chilly, dark days and falling snow, but somehow the month flew by.   We took a much-needed trip to warmer weather for a wedding in Miami and spent a weekend with friends at a remote ski area in southwest Colorado called Wolf Creek.  We cozied up in a rustic cabin called the Lonesome Dove, wore ourselves out on the slopes during the day, and curled up with tea and a movie at night.
One of my favorite things about getting away for the weekend is that the time is spent together - there are no chores to get in the way or other social engagements to keep.  You can really focus on whatever you are doing, whoever you are seeing, or wherever you are that weekend.  
On the flip side, we've been away three weekends in a row and the laundry and mail are piled high and I haven't cooked in weeks.  I am looking forward to just being home this weekend. 
You know what would be perfect for our first weekend morning home in weeks?  Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls.  You can't go wrong with cinnamon rolls and these are soft and sticky and the frosting is the perfect complement to the sweet dough and cinnamon sugar filling.  I've been meaning to make these since Molly's recipe appeared in Bon Appétit and now that I know they are easy to make and SO good, I'm kicking myself for having waited so long.  

Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Bon Appétit March 2008

Notes:  Read this recipe through before beginning to allow yourself enough time to make the rolls.  The dough must rise twice so you have to allow appropriate time for that to occur.  I actually made the dough the night before (through step #2 below), let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, and then continued with the recipe in the morning.  Ali also blogged about this recipe and she made the rolls through step #5, refrigerated them overnight, and baked them in the morning.  Either way, just don't plan on starting these at 8 AM and having cinnamon rolls one hour later.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For dough:
1.  Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

2.  Lightly oil large bowl with non-stick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
3.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

4.  Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

5.  Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with non-stick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

6.  Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
7.  Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Cinnamon Raisin Pull-Apart Bread

The second half of January seemed to pass in a flurry of home organization projects, unseasonably warm weather, a really busy month of work, and an unfortunate bout of the flu.  An unexpected consequence of the flu was a complete and utter disinterest in cooking of any kind.  The only upside was that I had a few days at home during which I watched my first episodes of Downton Abbey.  How have I not been watching this show all along?  I'm hooked.

I'm finally back in the kitchen and comfort food seems to be the name of the game.  Last week it was Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon and this Cinnamon Raisin Pull-Apart Bread.  I love cinnamon raisin bread of any kind, but there is something about how this is baked in layers that makes it even better.  I think it is that the bread is essentially pre-sliced for you, making it easier to sneak a piece of bread each time you pass through the kitchen.  Trust me, you won't be able to resist.

Cinnamon Raisin Pull-Apart Bread
Makes: One 9x5x3-inch loaf
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Dough:
3  cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned


1.  Active your yeast by whisking the yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit).  Add a pinch of granulated sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.  If the mixture does not foam and froth, toss the yeast and try again with another package of yeast.  Add the activated yeast when you combine the wet and dry ingredients.

2.  In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  Whisk together eggs and set aside.

4.  In a small saucepan, melt together the milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

5.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.  Add the activated yeast and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter (I did these mixing steps using my stand mixer).  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring (or mixing).  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes (or mix until combined with stand mixer).  The mixture will be sticky, which is how it should be.

6.  Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  If you are making your dough the night before but plan to make the rolls the next morning, let the dough rise until doubled in size, then refrigerate overnight for use in the morning.  In the morning, let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

7.  While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.  

8.  Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long, just roll the dough as large as you are able to (I had to work really hard to get mine to be close to 12x20, but you can see from the photos above that it certainly wasn't rectangular).  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture - it will seem like a lot, but you won't regret it.  Finally, sprinkle the dough with the raisins, redistribute them as necessary, and push them down slightly into the dough.

9.  Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again (if the raisins fall off, just stick them back on top of the strips before you stack them).  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.  Some of my pieces rose more than others (see the crazy large pieces on either end).  I'm not sure whether it was our chilly house or something else, but I had trouble getting the loaf to rise at this stage.  To solve this problem, I set the oven to preheat to 350 degrees, turned it off once it had preheated, and put the loaf in the oven to rise with the door slightly ajar.  This did the trick!

10.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.  If the top starts to get TOO brown, cover it with tinfoil while the center continues cooking.

11.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes (if you can - I couldn't wait that long).  The bread is most delicious still warm from the oven and the same day it was made, but I enjoyed pieces for the next 2-3 days, particularly if when toasted or warmed.