The roots of this pie date back to before we were a country when all there was to bake with was the hearth.  No convenience, no digital convection oven, just an open flame.  How to bake a pie with no oven, well in the shell of the pumpkin itself.  It is said that George Washington’s favorite pie was a custard baked in a pumpkin shell. The pumpkin’s thick outer shell is the ideal baking vessel for custards which gave me the idea for the crust of my pie.   My filling is inspired by the pumpkins ability to enhance flavors and three of my favorites are mango orange and coconut.  These ingredients combine to form a luscious custard that will delight even the most cynical pumpkin pie traditionalist.  

1 Sugar Pumpkin, Split down the middle and cleaned.
(Mango Orange Filling)
14 oz. of pureed pumpkin with skin
6 oz. of sugar
2 Large eggs
6 oz. of Mango Orange Juice
6 oz. of Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp of Vanilla
How To:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2.Split the pumpkin down the middle and clean out the halves with a large spoon or old fashioned ice cream scoop.  Rub down the top half with canola oil and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking pan and bake for one hour or until soft to the touch. Take the other half and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of salt over the cut side of the pumpkin. This step draws the water out of the pumpkin.  Let it sit while the other half is baking.
3. Remove the baked pumpkin from the oven and let it cool.  Place baked half skin and all in a bowl and puree with a stick blender or place in a food processor to puree. 
4. Turn oven down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Combine 14 oz. of the pumpkin puree with the rest of the ingredients for the custard and mix well
6. Rinse the salt  out of the unbaked pumpkin half and rub the outer shell and rim with a little canola oil. 
7. Pour the custard mixture into the pumpkin half until it is 1/4 inch below the rim.
8. Place pumpkin on a parchment lined metal baking pan and put it in the oven until the custard sets.  This will take about one and one half hours.

Camille’s Sicilian Bread

Preferment Formula

All Purpose Flour


7.79 oz

Bread Flour


7.79 oz



10.12 oz



.31 oz



.09 oz


 Final Dough Formula

Bread Flour


13 oz

Semolina Flour


13 oz



17.43 oz



.52 oz



.31 oz



.73 oz



.99 oz


176.8 %



26.01 oz

This recipe is a tweaked version of Peter Reinhart’s Pane Siciliano. It yields three 24 oz loaves or 72 oz total.

1)    Make the preferment up to three days before you want to make the bread. Mix all the ingredients by hand in a bowl until smooth. Knead for about five minutes. The dough should be smooth and supple. Spray the inside of a zip lock bag lightly with oil and refrigerate. In the final dough you will need a Baker’s Percentage of 100% or the same amount of preferment as the total flour in your Final Dough Formula. (This preferment also makes great pizza dough!)

2)    The next day is time to bake the bread! Get out the preferment and allow it to warm up a bit. You should cut it up into pieces; it will warm up faster and it will be easier to mix with the other ingredients. In a bowl, mix the bread flour and semolina flour together before you add the other ingredients. It will help to combine it all when you mix it all together. Add the rest of the ingredients, adding the water last. Bread needs to get fully hydrated so have an extra 2% of the total water ready to go so you can add it if the dough is too dry.

3)    Now it’s time to get your hands in it. Holding the bowl with one hand, mix it all with the other hand. Squeeze the dough together as you pull on it to help get the preferment mixed in. Your dough should be sticky and impossible to get off your hand but still have some body to it. This shouldn’t be wet like a focaccia. When it forms a shaggy ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, it’s ready for the deck. Let’s knead! Since we are doing this with just one rise, this dough will need to be kneaded for a good seven minutes to get the gluten structure built and the flour fully hydrated before the dough rests. Start by pulling the dough up off the deck if it is sticky enough and remember not to rip the dough; be firm, but don’t use too heavy a hand. If you are right handed, use the thumb of your left hand to fold the dough over it as you turn the dough to build air into it. The dough will be sticky. As you knead it, some of the stickiness will go away but it will still be a bit sticky, a bit wet. It will have some body and be smooth and soft.  This is very good.

4)    Are you worn out yet? Pour yourself a glass of wine.  It’s time for you and the bread to rest. Lightly oil your bowl and roll the dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest and rise for 45 minutes.

5)    When the timer goes off, it’s time to fold the dough. Gently remove the dough from the bowl to the deck. Do a letter fold, pulling the top of the dough a bit past the middle and seal it gently. Then bring up the bottom of the dough to the top and gently press it together to seal it. Now the dough has to be folded left to right and right to left. Seal the dough lightly and put it back in the bowl. Set the timer for 45 minutes and let the dough rest again.

6)    When the timer goes off, it’s time to do the pre-shaping of the dough and to turn on your oven to 450 degrees to warm up the bread stone. Divide the dough if you are making more than one loaf. Start the same way you would do a baguette. Make a gentle seam in the dough and fold it over and seal it with the heel of your hand. You should have an oblong piece of dough. Let it rest. Set that time for 15 minutes and relax while your dough does the same thing. Ding! That’s time! The dough needs to be about 20 inches long but you don’t want to deflate it and lose all your air bubbles. Very gently roll the dough to 20 inches and try to do that in one step. If it doesn’t stay, let it rest for five minutes and try again. Starting at one end of the roll curl it up on itself and keep turning until you reach the middle of the roll. Now start at the other end and roll the dough in the opposite direction from the direction you rolled the other end. This forms the dough into a lovely S shape. Roll it until you meet the middle of the dough. Make sure the rolls are snugged up against each other. Now you have a lovely loaf! Dust a couche or tea towel with flour. Very gently, turn the dough upside down in the flour and fold up the edges of the couche to support the dough. Cover it lightly; it’s time for the final proof!

7)    Let the loaf do its final proof for about 20-30 minutes. The dough will rise one last time and it is ready to go in the oven if you lightly poke the dough with your finger and the indentation slowly comes back about half way. Using a parchment lined baking sheet, it is time to bake. Pull the couche straight so the sides are not supporting the dough. Using your forearm to support the loaf, gently roll the loaf up onto your arm (so it’s right side up) and over the pan where you slide it down to the pan, again very gently, so the loaf does not collapse.

8)    Bake the bread on ye olde bread stone about 20-30 minutes until it is golden brown. The internal temperature should be about 195 degrees.

9)    Enjoy with a bowl of pasta with red sauce and a bottle of Sangiovese!

German Soft Pretzel

Food has an amazing way of weaving itself into the fabric of our lives. It is entwined with childhood memories, traditions, celebrations and family. It is often a singular taste or smell that triggers a remembrance. What amazes me though, is how foods others consume can trigger such powerful feelings. Just thinking about my husband enjoying his soft German pretzels evokes 30 years of wonderful memories together. He can’t miss the opportunity to have a warm pretzel from a street purveyor or fair vender; he never has been able to. He pulls a chunk off the dark shiny treat, careful not to lose too many of the salt crystals, and dips it into fragrant, spicy mustard. I suggest you eat these pretzels the same way; warm from the oven, dipped in your favorite mustard…preferably with your friends and family around you.

Ingredients: Bakers Percentage Ounces
Flour 100%


Water 59%


Salt 1.5%


Yeast 1.00%


Brown Sugar 3%


Seeds (optional) 1.5%






  • In large bowl, combine flour, yeast, brown sugar and salt (and seeds if using). Add water and mix until a paste is formed. Empty bowl onto counter and knead minimally until dough comes together. Replace dough in oiled bowl, spray top of dough, and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • After first rise, fold dough using envelope fold and let rise another 45 minutes.
  • After second rise, divide the dough into 12-4oz pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 24 inches long. Shape into an upside down U on your table. Bring the ends together and twist them. Bring ends up to the curve of the U, and press one end under the U and the other end on top of the U to secure, making it look like a pretzel. Place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Let the pretzels rise for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix 1 gallon water with 4T baking soda and 1 pint of beer. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Immerse the Pretzels a few at a time in the water for about 60 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place the pretzels on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet then sprinkle with coarse salt.
  • Bake Pretzels in a 385° oven for about 17 minutes or until well browned.
  • Remove from oven and let them cool for 10 minutes, then eat warm.

About ten years ago, after a business trip to Rome followed by two vacations in Italy and Sardinia with my new Roman friends, I became interested in baking artisanal breads at home that would be similar to the wonderful rustic breads I’d experienced the last several years’ trips over there.

There was nothing better than a day at the picturesque beaches of the northwestern coast of Sardinia, followed by a group cooking extravaganza with Donatella and Massimo and their friends and relatives in their kitchen in their Alghero apartment, and then eating that late dinner accompanied by the fresh crusty moist bread and vino locale purchased at the open air market that morning. We’d eat very late on their terrace above the western shore of the island, watching the sun set beyond the watery horizon towards France. After we cleaned up the kitchen, we’d take a stroll along the seawall to the main piazza where everyone gathered till the wee hours of the morning, in the center of the old port town.

Back home in California, I pulled a promising looking cookbook out of my husband’s collection, and was immediately drawn to an Italian version of a very old-style French bread. It was called Pane Francese Antiquato, and I found it in “The Village Baker” by Jeff Ortiz, published in 1993.

Up until this time, I had never baked a bread recipe that did not call for a loaf pan… so this recipe was a bit of a “leap”! I battled this impossibly soupy wet recipe many times over the years. I would turn to other rustic bread recipes in frustration, but always revisiting this one when I thought that my skills might have improved. Yet, although the bread was wonderfully flavorful, it could not achieve the rise and shape expected, and required a lot of additional flour to be handled at all.

Then in 2011, my neighbor Brenda invited me to take the Breadmasters I  Workshop with her at the local community college. The chef instructor, Art Beimler, kindly pointed out that the recipe was 111% water, and had roughly 8 times the yeast that would be proportional.

Thanks to the Baker’s Math and knowledge of proportion learned in Art’s workshop, I’ve reduced the water to 77% of the total weight of the flour, and the yeast to 1.2%, and miracle of miracles, it became a wet dough that was workable, while needing no extra flour for kneading. This is a wonderful bread, with a crisp crust, a creamy moist crumb, and a full slightly sweet flavor with a hint of tang. If you select a more refined Whole Wheat Flour like King Arthur’s, for the Porridge, you will get a more refined looking loaf.

Pane Francese Antiquato al’Lisa
(makes three 32 ounce “Mini Virginia Fire Log” shaped loaves)
I can think of many uses for this versatile bread. Serve as garlic croutons or buttered bread with the
“Winter Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves” from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison.
I also think the slight tang and sweetness of this bread pairs well with the “Chicken and Roasted Poblano
Chili” from the October 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine.
Alternatively, it makes a great PB&J or serve toasted with Apricot Preserves and Chamomile tea.
(Note: my husband just served it to me with Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus topped with homemade Roasted
Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo,…. Fantastic!)
Target Dough Weight (X): 96 (Fill in the amount to the left, in Excel, to scale recipe.)
( X / P ) * 100 = 53.27 Equals Ounces of Flour needed for this much dough.
Bakers Percentage (Ratio) Chart (BP_ratio):
Ingredients: Bakers Pct (Ratio) Ounces
Flour, two types (A) 100%


Water (B) 77%


Salt (C ) 2%


Yeast (D ) 1.20%


P =



= Total Dough (Ounces)
Porridge (pre-ferment):
This recipe requires some of the flour and water as a “pre-ferment” porridge, as follows.
25% of Flour, in Whole Wheat. (A1)
39% of Water, measure after boiling. (B1)
Mix the ingredients in the amounts below, and cover to hydrate for 20 minutes.
Ingredients: Percent of Ingredient Ounces
Flour, Stone Buhr Whole Wheat (A1) 25%


Water, Boiling (B1) 38%



= Porridge (ounces)
Second Stage Dough:
The Second Stage Dough requires the remainder of the Flour weight (Bread Flour this time) and
the remainder of the Water (room temperature), plus all the Yeast and Salt. Using a large bowl, place all
these ingredients from Baker’s Percentage (Ratio) Chart above (duplicated below for convenience).
Immediately add the Porridge (pre-ferment) and mix the complete “Final Dough” by hand.
Ingredients: Reference to BP-ratio Ounces
Flour, Bread A – A1


Water, tepid B – B1


Salt C


Yeast, Instant D



= Porridge (ounces)


= Total Dough (Ounces)
Scrape the Final Dough onto an unfloured work surface (preferably a butcher block that is maintained as
 described in *Z1 below). Pour 1-2 tablespoons of Canola Oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
into the scraped bowl, swirl it and set aside. Now knead the dough vigorously 7 minutes. Gluten strands will
be very visible. Using a dough scraper, move the dough back to the oiled bowl.
Gently rotate the dough ball in the oil, till all sides are coated, then cover with saran wrap and set the bowl
in a 70-72 degree, draftless location, to rise for 45 minutes.
After the first rise, you must fold the dough as follows:
Gently lift the dough out of the oiled bowl, and place oil-side up on your unfloured work surface.
While attempting to avoid pressing any air bubbles out, gently stretch the north side of the dough away
from yourself and then fold it so it reaches about 2/3 of the way down the mass of dough. Gently
finger press the seam.
Next stretch the south side of the dough towards yourself and then fold it 1/2 of the way up
the mass of dough. Gently finger press the seam while continuing to retain all the air bubbles possible.
Next you must do the same to the east and west sides of the dough (rectangular) mass, stretching and
then folding and finger-pressing the seam.
Finally, gently lift the folded dough and place seam-side-down in the oiled bowl, cover with saran
wrap and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.
Shape Loaf & Couche:
After the second rise, divide the dough into thirds using a dough cutter/scraper.  Then following the
instructions below, gently shape the 3 loaves into a mini version of a “Virginia Fire Log”.
It is especially critical at this time, to preserve all the air pockets in your dough, by gentle handling.
Lightly flour a space on your work surface, and next to it spread a couching towel lightly sprinkled with
flour also. Remove the dough from the bowl, and gently place “oily-side-up” on the work surface.
Using the outside edge of your straightened hand, lightly press a horizontal “folding line” across the
equator of the dough, then without stretching it, fold the top half onto the bottom half, leaving an inch
of the lower half visible. Press it lightly along the seam, and then fold the bottom inch over the top and
finger-pinch the seam securely. Now, using a forward/back motion with your flattened palms, roll
the dough “log” from the middle to the two ends, evening out the diameter of the log and lengthening it
slightly. Finally, seal each end of the log, finger-pinching the seam so it is squared off on each end.
Now, gently pick up the log of dough, slightly stretching to lengthen it as you place it “seam-side-down”
on the floured couche towel. Create folds in the towel along the length of the dough log, to support it
during the final rise. Repeat for the 2nd and 3rd loaves, and lightly lay a second towel over the loaves’ tops.
Allow couched loaves to rise for 35-55 minutes or until the dough springs back slowly (more than 1.5
seconds to spring back from a finger press).
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a sheet pan as close as possible to your couched
dough. Very gently use the couche towel to roll each “log” onto your bare forearm, and then gently roll
the dough off your forearm onto the pan. This results in the “log” again being “seam-side-down”
once it is on the pan. ( Note: immediately put the bread in the oven to get the most oven rise.)
Bake in the 425 degree oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal
temperature reads above 195 degrees and it passes the “thump test”.
*Z1:       Maintain butcher block kneading boards as follows: Scrape clean with a dough scraper
and as needed, disinfect with a wash of lemon juice. After the lemon juice has sat for a few minutes,
scrape liquid of board and allow to air dry before storage.

West Seattle Rye Bread

By Hans Dahlke

This recipe is a modification of an old rye bread recipe called “Milwaukee Rye Bread” as published in Mrs. Simon Kander’s “The Settlement Cookbook” from 1951. In addition to wheat and rye flour it uses riced potatoes with their potato water. According to the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Kentucky white potatoes contain about 80% of water. Based on this information the recipe was designed as shown for a 32 oz. batch. The ratio of wheat to rye flour was taken to be 2 to 1, and a 5 oz. peeled russet potato was added to the flour and water. The potato was boiled until soft (almost disintegrating) in the total required amount of water and then liquefied in a blender. Extra water was added to replenish that lost due to the boiling process. The following ingredients were assembled in a bowl:

Bread Flour 66% 11 oz
Rye Flour 34% 5.5 oz
Water 57% 10 oz.
Cooked Potato 29% 5 oz.
Salt 2% .35 oz
Yeast 1.2% .21 oz

The flours, yeast, ands salt are mixed with the liquid until sticky dough is formed. It is then kneaded by pulling it up repeatedly from the deck to form the gluten strands and then by working it in a circle and turning over the dough repeatedly. Once a fairly smooth dough is obtained it is placed in a greased bowl, covered with plastic, and let stand for 45 minutes. It is then double folded and allowed to rest for another 45 minutes.  After the second fold the dough is shaped into two Batard loaves, covered with plastic, and allowed to stand for 60 minutes. After the final rise four cuts are made in the loaves and they are baked in a 450°F oven for 30 minutes. The temperature is then reduced to 300°F and the bread is baked for another 20 minutes. To obtain a crispy crust the loaves may be sprayed with water before being placed in the oven and then covered with a large aluminum roasting pan for 7 minutes. After that time the pan is removed and the loaves are allowed to finish baking.

Nutty Beard Bread



   61 oz






  1.2 oz



  .73 oz



  .8 oz

Walnuts, roughly chopped


10.8 oz

Walnut oil


   .41 oz

Onions, finely chopped


2.44 oz

Makes 4 loaves


1. In a large mixing bowl weigh out all of the ingredients, except for the Walnuts and Onions. Weigh them in a separate small bowl and set aside.

2. Using one hand to steady the large bowl while the other hand works in a claw-like grasping motion, mix the flour milk salt yeast and sugar. Paw at the ingredients the same way a cat would claw on a sofa. Do this until the flour is fully hydrated and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Now add the walnuts and onions to the dough and resume the grasping action until they are incorporated and the dough forms a ball. Your dough should be translucent and spring back when you press your finger into it. Do not knead the dough! Kneading the dough at this point will cause too much friction tearing the gluten.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside. Using a plastic scrapper, scrap the bowl clean then lightly coat the bowl with canola oil.

5. Place the dough back into the bowl and roll it around in the oil a couple of times. This will keep the dough from drying out and sticking to the sides of the bowl as it is rising.

6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes in a warm location.

 7. At this point the dough should be doubled in size. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and place onto your work surface top side down. Using your fingers gently degas the dough by pressing it out into an 8×11” rectangle, then folding it into thirds. The same way you would fold a letter.

8. Starting with the top half of the rectangle, fold it a third of the way down and gently press down on the end. Now take the bottom half of the rectangle and fold it up over the top half gently pressing into it creating a seal. Rotate the dough 180º and repeat the letter fold.

9. Now place the dough fold side down b

ack into the bowl and cover with plastic. Place the bowl back in a warm area to rise for another 45min.

10. Once the dough is done rising, it is time to form them into loaves. Gently remove the dough top side down onto your work surface. Take your handy-dandy pastry cutter and cut the dough into fourths. Take each third and gently press them out into a 3×8 rectangle. Starting from the top of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough down toward you and seam up the end of the roll by pressing with the heel of your hand into the bottom side of the loaf. Last you need to tuck in the ends of the loaf by pulling the top layer of dough over and under the rolled end and pinch with your fingers to seam it up. The same way you would tuck in sheets on the corners of a bed.

11. Place each of the shaped loaves seams side down into greased 9×5 loaf pans and press down firmly with your hand.

12. Lightly oil each loaf with canola oil then cover them with plastic wrap.   Place them in a warm location for their final rise for about 45 minutes or until they crest above the edge of the loaf pan. Score each loaf with a bread knife and bake in a preheated 385º until done.  The loaves are done when you tap on them and the sound is hollow.

*Serve a warm loaf at your next Holiday meal or as a roll with a hearty bowl of beef stew. Either way your guest will not be disappointed.

The thought of the end of my favorite television show Good Eats brought me out into my garden to contemplate my own mortality. How can I pay homage to my favorite show? Staring at the abundance of foliage and flowers a large zucchini came into view. Hmmm. Zucchini’s what is so special about zucchini’s? Well their big, and green, and I have way to many of them. No, no, that will just lead to another zucchini stir fry or salad. I must do something truly special with this garden giant! I have it zucchini’s are mostly water! Not just any water it is infused with an amazing amount of manganese, an essential nutrient for a long and healthy life. The little grey cells were coming up with a clever plan: bread! But not a chemically leavened high fat, high sugar loaf, no, a yeasted earthy loaf taking advantage of the zucchini’s natural sweetness would be called for. To the kitchen! After several experiments I concluded that zucchinis would yield 75% water to its initial harvested weight. What goes with everything, chocolate! American pumpernickel uses chocolate for color and flavor. I could use these same qualities to produce this new bread, and thus Schwarzengel was born. Pumpernickel means the devil’s fart, so my new creation will wear the title of Black Angel or Schwarzengel. Here is my formula for a 2 lb loaf.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Flour 15.70 oz.
Cocoa Powder .60 oz.
Zucchini 8.50 oz.
Sugar divided .5 oz, and 2.5 oz
Eggs 4 oz. or 2 large AA
Vanilla .50 oz
Instant Yeast .30 oz.
Salt .16 oz.

1. Grate your fresh zucchini into a bowl and scale out the desired amount.
2. Add chocolate yeast and .50 oz. of brown sugar. Mix thoroughly and let rest for 30 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hand using a grasping action until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Do not knead! Gluten is developed later.
4. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Clean the bowl and coat with olive oil. Yes it needs to be olive oil. It acts not only to protect the gluten but as a flavor for the bread.
5. Return the dough to the bowl and do a double fold.
i. Double fold instructions
1. Press gently on the dough to redistribute fuel for yeast.
2. Take the side furthest from you and fold it to the middle of the dough.
3. Take the side closest to you and fold it to the middle, then left to right.

6. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and do another double fold.
7. Press out flat into an 8” by 10” rectangle ad roll.
8. Seal the loaf pinching the loose end to the rest of the roll and pinch the ends to the bottom in the same manner
9. Preheat your oven to 375°
10. Press your loaf into a 9”/5” loaf pan using your fists side by side to fill the pan level.
11. Let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You should be able to press to fingers spread in about ½ inch and the impression should pop back partially. It will also be about ½” above the edge of the pan.
12. Egg wash and place in oven for 30 minutes or until done.

Serving suggestions:
Smoked Turkey Club with Raspberry Jam
Chocolate French Toast
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly

This is dedicated to Alton Brown who taught me to think outside the box when it comes to food science. Farewell Good Eats!