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Let's Bake! Learn Techniques and Tips for All Kinds of Great Baking

By Jane Butel  January 31, 2018

Love the wonderful, yeasty aroma of bread baking in the oven?  If you do, we'd love to share with you several kinds and types of delicious breads to bake in our Specialty Breads Baking Class on February 8 at 5 PM. 

You will learn how to make a Spectacular Red Chile Cheddar Swirl Bread, a beautiful Pesto Braid, the famous Pueblo Indian Bear Paw bread, a yummy breakfast bread I named Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Pinwheel, a great party and picnic Beer Dill bread and Irish Soda bread, perfect for St.Patrick's day.   Not only will we make all these breads, but you will be able to take some home for sharing with family and friends.

And--in our 2 Day Baking Workshop, we will be baking bread, plus several famous cakes and pies.  This workshop is set for February 15-16.  Sign up now to get in all of the fun.  You'll learn when and how high altitude adjustments are in order and how to make fool-proof pie pastry that is always flakey and delicious.  And you will learn how to never have a soggy bottom crust in a 2 crusted pie.

Here's two recipes for fun baking that are not in our class--but are fast to make and amazingly good-- 


I often serve this right from the grill or the oven while family or guests are gathering. I find it very popular with all who sample it. You can decrease the olive oil even more than I did from my original recipe, but the flavor suffers in direct proportion.

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 cup warm water (110 to 115F or 45C)

1 package or 1 scant Tablepoon dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see Note)

¾ teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish


¼ cup good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish

2 large red onions, halved lengthwise then very thinly sliced crosswise

4 large cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Mexican oregano or sage or 2 teaspoons dried herbs

½ cup queso blanco or feta cheese (optional), crumbled 

  1. Add warm water to bowl of heavy-duty mixer or other large bowl, then add yeast and sugar and stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy. Add half of the flour, salt and olive oil. Using a dough hook or by hand, beat until smooth. Beat in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out dough on a lightly floured board and knead until dough is smooth and gluten is well formed, about 8 minutes.
  1. Divide dough in half and form each half into a thin round, making a slight edge around sides. Poke dough with your fingers to make indentations. Prepare topping.
  1. Preheat a covered grill to medium or 375F (190C). Evenly divide topping between dough rounds. Cover grill rack with foil to slow baking. Place bread on foil. Cover grill and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Sprinkle with cheese and serve warm in squares or wedges.


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent and almost soft, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese to onion mixture.

Note: Carefully spoon flour when measuring; do not scoop cup into flour container, or you will have too much flour. Level off with a spatula.


Our family always felt biscuits were more of a special occasion bread and usually served them only for bountiful breakfasts. This was my paternal grandmother’s recipe, which she always served with homemade strawberry jam and very fresh sweet butter that she made herself.

Yield: 24 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted

¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

2-4 Tablespoons fresh, parched green chile (to suit taste)

2/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and soda in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk to make a soft dough.

2. Turn out dough onto a floured board and knead lightly 7 or 8 times, just until smooth. Roll to about ¾ inch thickness and cut into rounds with a 1 ½-inch-round cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, or until light golden. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen








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