Hearty Country Wheat Bread

Hearty Country Wheat Bread | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe based on handwritten notes from my grandmother, who ran a lakefront resort in Northern Wisconsin. Unfortunately, her recipe didn’t specify actual ingredient measurements — in retrospect, she may have felt she didn’t need documentation due to the sheer volume of made-from-scratch bread she produced each week in that old maple-fired wood stove.

I have tried to recreate her recipe by working with measurements from King Arthur Flour’s website, but their recipes use four cups of flour which produce a much larger loaf (hey, they are in the business of selling flour.) As a result, my initial tests produced a very dense loaf that invariably fell flat.

After several failed attempts, I now have a very close rendition to her amazing bread. This loaf is excellent when served as toast, and has a wonderfully-textured crumb. Enjoy – this bread brings back so many great memories of my Northwoods childhood.


2 cups sifted King Arthur® white bread flour
1 cup sifted Hodgson Mill® whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup lukewarm filtered water
2 tsp. quick-rise baker’s yeast
2 tbs. honey
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. room-temperature salted butter
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules


Carefully sift and measure the flour, then level. Do not pack by tapping the measuring cup, or your loaf will be too dense. Combine with the other dry ingredients in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Turn on the processor and slowly add the warm water. When the ingredients start to pull away from the bowl surface, stop. Remove the dough and place on a very lightly-floured work surface and continue to knead for one minute. The dough should be very elastic and only slightly tacky. Form it into a round ball.

Place the dough ball in a greased 8-cup mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set your timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the dough has doubled, (it may take up to 2 hours) remove and very gently punch down. Form into a log that will fit a standard greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. (I highly recommend Lodge cast-iron for its even heat distribution; you’ll get a much better crust.) Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set aside again for 2 hours.

While the dough is in the second rise, preheat your oven to 350-degrees F.
After the second rise, the dough should expand to about 1 inch above the top of the loaf pan and spring back when touched (actual time may vary.)

Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, uncovered. An accurate instant-read thermometer should read 195-200-degrees F. in the center, when done. The crust should be an even golden-brown.

Remove promptly from the pan and allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire baker’s rack. Wrap in a plastic bag, or cut and serve for immediate use.

Makes 1 standard loaf.
For white bread: Substitute 1 cup white flour for the wheat flour.

You can place the dough in a non-heated oven with the oven light turned on. This will create a warm environment that aids in a more consistent rise.
This is very helpful in colder months when ambient room temperatures may affect the result.

Culinary Compost
 never endorses products for profit, and has received no monetary compensation for the content of this post.

Hearty Country Wheat Bread | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pane Bianco Torsione (Italian White Twist Bread with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil)

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost RecipesI stumbled upon this recipe in an effort on further honing my bread-making skills. It is shown here, verbatim on King Arthur Flour’s website.  Quite simply stated, it blew me away and was a huge hit with my family. The preparation is tedious, but not overly complicated. The visual presentation is stunning and if you follow the directions step-by-step, it’s virtually impossible to screw up. Trust me, if I can make this, anyone can. In my version, I added a bit more salt and also added sugar to the dough, based on other bread recipes from my family.



~For the Dough:

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 tsp. instant quick-rise yeast (one package)
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 tbs. XV olive oil

~For the Filling:

3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (1/2 of a 7-oz. jar)
3 to 6 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil



Prepare the dough by combining all of the ingredients shown in a large mixing bowl. Using a silicone spatula, fold by hand until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl.
Remove and set on a floured work surface. Fold and knead by hand for six to ten minutes, until the dough has firmed up. Add a bit more water or flour if needed. The consistency of the dough should be tacky and soft. Gently form it into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl about double in size of the dough ball.

Place the bowl in your oven and turn on the oven light. Cover with a towel dampened with warm water. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size. Your time may vary.

While you are waiting, drain the tomatoes on a paper towel. Squeeze out the excess olive oil. Mince and set aside.
Finely chop the basil and set aside.
Measure the shredded Italian cheese and set aside.
Roast, peel and finely chop the garlic. Add to the tomatoes and mix to incorporate.

After the dough has risen, gently deflate and then roll into a 22″ x 8″ rectangle. Spread the cheese, basil, tomato and garlic evenly over the entire surface.

Carefully roll the dough into a 22″ log by turning it the long way. You will need to turn it over itself at least once. Crimp the edges together and pinch the ends shut.
Turn it so the seam side is down. Carefully place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Using a kitchen shears, cut a slit down the length of the loaf, at the top, stopping about 1″ from each end.
Twist the log into an “S” shape and tuck the ends under the center of the loaf, forming a figure-8, while keeping the slit to the top.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the loaf rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature, drizzled with quality XV olive oil. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

Serves 6
Makes one loaf

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Rustic Country Artisan Bread

Rustic Made-From-Scratch Country Artisan Bread | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe adapted from the Tartine Bread Cookbook. Unlike the no-knead recipe featured here, you must knead and then proof the dough. The result is a bread with more rise and a fantastic soft and airy crumb texture. Try both recipes and see which one works best for you.

A five-quart cast-iron dutch oven with a tight-fitting cover is ideal for this recipe. Enjoy!



1.5 cups warm water (110-115°F)
1 tbs. white granulated sugar
1.5 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour, leveled
1 cup, whole wheat pastry flour, leveled
1.5 tsp. table salt
bread flour, for dusting the dough work surface
Cornmeal for dusting the pot
XV olive oil


Measure the warm water and place in a quart Pyrex dish. Add the sugar and use a wooden spoon to stir and dissolve. Add the active dry yeast and stir gently. Let stand ten minutes until the surface starts to bubble.

While you are waiting, measure the flour and salt and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spatula, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add the water, sugar and yeast mixture. Fold in with the spoon until the mixture starts to pull away from the bowl. Using your hands, carefully pull out the dough and continue kneading by hand for eight to ten minutes on a floured work surface. Add a bit more flour or water if necessary. The consistency of the dough should be tacky.

Gently form the dough into a ball and place in a separate bowl greased with a bit of olive oil, that is about three times the size of the dough ball. Cover with a dampened, warm towel. Place the dish in your oven and turn on the oven light. Allow to proof (rise) for two hours. The warm environment in your unheated oven with just the oven light on will allow the dough to rise perfectly.

After two hours, remove the dough ball and place back on your floured counter. Punch down the dough and gently fold it back in, forming a ball. Place back in the covered bowl and let stand for ten minutes so the gas caused by the yeast has a chance to reincorporate. After ten minutes place the ball on the floured counter and gently pull and fold over the dough in thirds. Pinch the seams together and place back in the bowl and let sit to rise again for 30-45 minutes. This stage is called the second proof.

During the last twenty minutes, remove the bowl from the oven and place on the cooktop. Preheat your oven to 450° F. Place an ungreased five-quart cast-iron dutch oven inside with the cover on. Preheat the pot.

After the second proof is done, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the dough ball lightly with more flour and add to the preheated pot. Working quickly, carefully score two shallow slits in the top of the dough with a serrated paring knife. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, uncover the pot. Reduce the heat to 375° F. Bake uncovered for an additional 9-10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reads 200-204° F. Monitor closely during this time so it doesn’t overcook.

Carefully remove the bread and allow to cool for one hour on a wire baking rack. Using a serrated bread knife, cut and serve.

Makes one loaf. Serves 6-8

Note: An accurate instant-read digital probe thermometer is a must for this recipe.

Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices

Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:







2/1/18 Article in The New Yorker


You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com



In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Grandma’s Baking Powder Biscuits

This is a classic recipe from my grandmother – I fondly remember her making these to accompany her famous fried chicken when I was a kid.



2 cups sifted flour
4 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
5 tbs. Crisco shortening
2/3 ~ 3/4 cup milk (more if needed)
1/4 cup melted butter for brushing

Serve with real salted butter, slightly softened



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix the sifted flour with the baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and cut into coarse crumbs using a pastry cutter. Add the milk, a bit at a time, and fold lightly, creating a dough that will just separate from the sides of the bowl. Add a bit more milk, if necessary.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper. Knead gently for 30 seconds, but do not overwork or the biscuits will not rise as high, and be dense.
Using your hands, gently press the dough out to 1/2″ thick. Using a circular dough cutter, cut 8 to 12 biscuits. Brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet for 12 minutes. You can also place them on baker’s parchment paper.

The biscuits will be done when they are a delicate, light golden-brown and flaky.
Remove immediately and serve with real salted butter that has been left out until slightly softened.

Cook time: 12 minutes
Yield: 8-12 biscuits

No-Knead Artisan Bread

No-Knead Artisan Bread

This loaf was baked in a 5-quart cast-iron Lodge Dutch oven with parchment paper
on the bottom to prevent sticking.

This is a recipe adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan. It was posted to the New York Times by author Mark Bittman in 2006, and has received many rave reviews, both for its simplicity in preparation and the quality/presentation of the final product. Please note that great food cannot be rushed – you may be dismayed after reading the preparation time needed for the dough, but this time equates to leaving the dough sit on a counter, unattended for 18-20 hours. There is no extra kneading or effort required on your part. By contrast, it will undoubtedly take you quite a bit of effort to let the final product cool untouched on a baker’s rack before tearing into it.

I am not a baker – it was never a skill I truly felt comfortable with (and don’t even get me started on the art of preparing desserts or cakes.)  I’m much more in my element preparing main-course meals and side dishes. As a result, I’m kicking myself for not trying this recipe before now. It’s that easy. I now have renewed confidence to try other from-scratch bread recipes including several from my Grandmother. She baked many loaves of bread every week for guests at a resort that she owned in Northern Wisconsin. I still fondly remember the quality shown through her craft which simply cannot be duplicated by mass-production today. Sadly, her recipes never indicated exact amounts or processes and were done from memory, passed down from her Mother, by her Grandmother – so I’ll have a fair amount of detective work and reverse-engineering to get those published on Culinary Compost.

Try adding herbs, spices and a variety of cheese. You really can’t go wrong — trust me, you will be making this on a weekly basis.
I am never buying an overpriced loaf of artisan bread at the supermarket again.  Enjoy!



3 cups bread flour, leveled (no need to pre-sift)
1-1/4 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. instant or quick-rise breadmaker yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water + up to 2 tbs. water


Measure ingredients exactly by leveling them.  Combine the bread flour, table salt, sugar and quick-rise breadmaker yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir the dry ingredients with a spatula so everything is evenly distributed. Slowly add the warm water and stir to form a doughy-batter. Default to 1-1/2 cups and only add more, one tablespoon at a time, if you cannot get the dry ingredients to bind with the dough. DO NOT OVERMIX. Dough will be ready after a minute or two when it cleanly pulls away from the side of the bowl. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit to proof in the covered bowl on a warm 70-74-degree counter for at least 16 hours. 18 is better and you can go up to 20 hours without fretting.

After 18 hours or so, the dough will have expanded and gotten bubbly on top. It will also appear to have more liquid due to the reaction with the yeast.  Using ample, clean counter space, tear off a sheet of baker’s parchment paper and dust the surface of the paper with flour. Also flour your hands. Gently pull the dough out of the bowl onto the parchment paper. Work it carefully into a ball, dusting with a bit more flour if necessary. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH. It’s called No Knead bread for a reason and you’ll actually destroy the expansion of the gluten and air pockets by working it back down.

Cover the dough ball with a sheet of plastic wrap and let rise again for 1-2 hours. This stage is called the second proof and is critical. During this time, the dough will expand again in size due to the reaction with the yeast.

At the last 45-minutes of the second proof, turn your oven on to 450-degrees F. Place a large 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with lid in the oven to preheat. Do not oil the pot. When hot, remove the pot and carefully grab the dough ball using the parchment paper as a makeshift “sling” with both hands.  Place it carefully in the pot. Score three or four slits in the top of the dough with a sharp knife and cover tightly with the lid. Bake in the oven, covered for thirty minutes. Remove the pot lid and bake for up to an additional fifteen minutes uncovered, until browned. Watch it close! My first loaf took only nine minutes after the first thirty.  Internal temperature of the bread should read 200-204-degrees F when done.  Remove and carefully transfer the bread using the parchment to a baker’s rack. Let cool for no less than one hour.

Serve sliced as desired with real butter, or with olive oil, minced garlic and balsamic vinegar.  Leftovers make wonderful grilled panini bread, toast and bread crumbs.


A Note on Adding Seasonings: 
You can add dry or fresh chopped spices when you initially mix the dough.  As an option, add grated cheese to the top, then brush the top lightly with XV olive oil before dropping the dough ball into the pot.  Get creative and have fun!


No-Knead Artisan Bread

I have no flippin’ clue what this is…

Antique Martin Cast-Iron 8" Skillet

The refinished Martin skillet put to good use for a loaf of handcrafted artisan bread.

Zucchini Bread

This fantastic recipe will fill 2 large loaf pans. Thanks to my friend Sarah for sharing.



3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the first three ingredients together until light and foamy using an electric hand mixer. Then add the following:

2 cups grated fresh zucchini
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup nuts (optional)



Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients shown above using an electric hand mixer on the lowest setting. Line two standard-sized loaf pans with parchment paper. Divide batter between the pans.

Bake for 1 hour. Then increase the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. When done, a knife or toothpick should pull out clean when placed in the center of each loaf.

Remove, let stand ten minutes, then cut into 1/2″ slices and serve with real butter.

Country Buttermilk Biscuits

This is a great recipe for southern-style country buttermilk biscuits. I’ve had great success using my Breville Sous Chef food processor. The buttermilk makes for richer, more flavorful biscuits.



2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the countertop work surface
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. table salt
6 tbs. cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (more if needed)
1/4 cup melted butter

Softened real butter for serving



Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the work bowl of a food processor.
Cut the butter into small squares and add to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs.
If using a food processor, use the pulse feature so you don’t overwork it. It will only take a few seconds. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined. DO NOT overwork.
If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. The consistency should be wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using your hands, gently pat down until the dough is 1/2″ thick. DO NOT use a rolling pin or your biscuits will not rise as high, and be dense. Fold the dough about 5 times, and gently press the dough down to 1″ thick. Use a round cutter to cut into ten rounds. The folding will produce a flaky, layered texture.
You can gently knead the scraps together and make a couple more, but they will not be as fluffy as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet leaving about 1″ of space between each. The biscuits will rise higher if they are touching. Brush each with a bit of melted butter.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes (default to 10 minutes to ensure they don’t overcook.) When done, they will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
Do not over bake.

Serve with softened real butter.


Makes 10-12 biscuits

Green Chili Cornbread

My wife and I stumbled on a product by Desert Gardens when we were visiting relatives in Arizona. For years, it was my favorite cornbread – moist, slightly-sweet with a fair amount of zip. We would buy six to ten packages (at $6.50 each) and squirrel them away for future use. Unfortunately our local distributor here in Wisconsin stopped carrying it.

Out of frustration….OK, desperation, I reverse-engineered the recipe and tweaked it until I thought it was spot-on to the original product. Chilis vary in heat, so you’ll want to ensure they are palatable for your taste before combining them in this recipe. Enjoy!


1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 flame-roasted poblano or New Mexican green chili, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt


Preheat your oven to 375-degrees F. Grease a ten-inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil or Crisco shortening. Preheat the skillet in the oven while you prepare the batter and the chili pepper.

Wash the poblano or NM green chili pepper and char the tough outer skin until blistered, using a portable propane torch. You’ll need to be careful, ensuring that you have a flameproof bowl or secondary skillet so you don’t burn your kitchen countertop. When completely charred, place the chili pepper in a sealed brown paper lunch bag for about ten minutes. Wash the skin off the chili using cold water. Core, seed, dice and set aside.

While the chili pepper is cooling, melt the butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl at 45 seconds. In the same bowl, add the eggs and quickly beat until blended. Combine with the buttermilk and beat until smooth. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients including the baking soda, cornmeal, flour and salt. Add the diced chili pepper and mix well. Gently fold in the wet batter ingredients until incorporated, (it’s OK to have a few lumps).

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet. BE CAREFUL – it may splatter. I’ll argue the step of pre-heating your cornbread skillet with anyone – it is essential to creating an authentic, crispy crust.

Level the batter and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. A toothpick should pull out clean when inserted into the center of the cornbread. Remove and serve immediately.

Serve with butter.

Serves 4-6.

NOTE: If using Lodge® muffin pans, remove from the oven after 24-25 minutes. Cornbread muffins will cook faster due to less volume.
The amount of batter in this recipe will yield 18 muffins.

Chipotle Gouda Cornbread

Chipotle Gouda Cornbread

A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is a must for cornbread. Let the pan heat in the oven before adding the batter — this will ensure a nice crust on the bottom.

The Gouda cheese and chipotle seasoning add a great, smokey undertone to this dish. A refreshing change from traditional cornbread. Moist and zippy – it’s a sure-fire crowd pleaser.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn meal
3 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. dry chipotle powder
1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded

1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbs. honey
1/2 stick butter, melted


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 12-cup muffin pan, or a 9″ cake pan or heavy cast-iron skillet, with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl mix the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and chipotle powder until well combined.  Add the cheese and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl mix the egg, milk, honey or corn syrup, and butter.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into it.  Fold the mixture gently, mixing until the dry ingredients are just moist.  Do not over-mix.

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup halfway with batter, or pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes for muffins, or 25 to 30 for the cake pan.
Allow to cool in the pan for 3 minutes before turning out.

Yield: 18 muffins or one 9″ round loaf.