Monday, November 30, 2009

Put that Old Bread to Good Use!

French Toast Bread Pudding

The old & Wise Ways of a Farm Kitchen....
By Kim Cooper

Don't you remember your grandparents saving everything from bread sacks to sour milk? Nothing went to waste on the farm where I was raised. My grandmother made the most delicious pies from sour milk! Nowadays, if bread is remotely dry, we have the tendency to immediately toss it. There are so many wise learning tools we can use from the teachings of our ancestors and one of these handy tactics is a delicious twist on breakfast. Below, you will find the most scrumptious recipe of French Toast Bread Pudding. Live-in things up in the kitchen while putting your old Village Baking Co. bread to yummy use. Enjoy!

French Toast Bread Pudding
1 white bread of any kind
8 large eggs
3 tbs honey
1 tbs orange zest
5 cups of 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Confectioner's sugar
Pure Maple syrup

Place sliced bread in two layers in a baking dish, cutting to fit the dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, honey, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and soak bread completely. Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan. Add hot water, about an inch up the side of baking dish. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil does not touch the pudding. Make a couple of slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes. When the pudding puffs up and the custard is set, remove from the oven and cool slightly. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar and serve in squares with maple syrup.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

By Kim Cooper

Pumpkin Soup is a tradition at our family's ranch on Thanksgiving. We sip on a cup of Pumpkin soup as an appetizer before the meal. In our little bakery cafe, this recipe was a huge hit as well. Our customers were always a little hesitant at first and then couldn't get enough. Serving this soup in sourdough bread bowls adds a nice touch, especially for entertainment. We wanted to share this Delicious recipe as well as how to make a bread bowl..... from our home to yours. Happy Thanksgiving.

Village Baking Co. Pumpkin Soup
2 tbs. butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbs flour
1 tbs curry powder
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Melt butter in large saucepan; add mushrooms & onion, and saute until tender. Stir in flour & curry powder; gradually add chicken broth, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.
Stir in pumpkin and next four ingredients; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for ten minutes. Stir in milk, and cook stirring constantly until thoroughly heated. Garnish with sour cream, chopped fresh chives if desired.

How to Make a Bread Bowl
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the loaf with a serrated knife. (This will depend on the size of the loaf)
Remove bread on the inside, making it hollow. Leave about 1 1/2 inches thick on the inside.
Using your basting brush, brush olive oil on the inside of the bread bowl. This creates a seal, ensuring whatever you put in the bread bowl will not leak out.
Bake bread bowl on a baking sheet for 15 minutes, until golden on the inside.
Remove from oven, fill with desired soup or stew and serve!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Aperitif

by Kim Cooper
Change up the normal Thanksgiving appetizer this year and spruce things a bit with an artisan cheese & bread tray. This is an ancient, simple, classic and delicious way of spoiling your guests this Thanksgiving. To make things extra special, pair a bold bottle of french wine with your selection of cheese (talk to your local Sommelier about which wine to select). We have pulled an excerpt from one of our favorite cookbooks on "The Perfect Cheese Platter", The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan. You can find artisan cheese as your local Whole Foods, Central Market or Market Street and of course their isn't any better breads to pair with artisan cheese than The Village Baking Co. Sourdough located at Sprouts.
"In France, cheese is served between the main course and dessert, sometimes following green salad, and always with a generous basket of bread. Choose a wooden or marble board for serving. You can also use flat basket trays, but always line with doilies, paper napkins or best of all, vine leaves. In fact, almost any garden leaf that is flat, nontoxic, and not bitter is a pleasing substitute. At home, the ideal cheese board has three or four large pieces of different cheeses of contrasting texture and taste. France allows the rule of three: cheeses that are soft and velvety(chevres, Saint-Nectaire, or Tommes, for example);cheeses that are aromatic, ranging from Cantal to Camembert; and strong cheeses (blue and sheep cheeses, for instance, or smelly Epoisses). A Brie or a Mont d'Or can be perfect alone. Space your cheeses well apart on a serving board so their flavors do not mingle, and make sure that they are at room temperature. There is no rule to amounts, but I find 3 ounces per person is about right. " The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan
Be sure to check back with us.....we will be posting more Thanksgiving ideas in the days to come!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Special Thanks

Today is the Feast Day of our dear heavenly friend, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of bread bakers and we ask for her prayers and intercession daily for our business. Below is the story of St. Elizabeth, our friend and helper.

Birthplace: Bratislava Hungary
Date of Birth and Death: 1207 – 1231

St. Elizabeth was a Hungarian princess who was betrothed at an early age to a German prince and was married at 14 years old. Although she was surrounded by luxury, she a deep concern for those less fortunate than herself and provided bread for hundreds of people at the castle gate every morning and visited the sick twice a day.

St. Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castle should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She spent all her own revenue from her husband's four principalities, and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tomato Basil Soup

Here is our one and only Tomato Basil soup recipe. We think we could make more money selling this recipe than baking bread! Forget making it is! At our cafe, we tried having other soup specials but the customers wouldn't hear of it. People would eat this daily with a side salad or half sandwich. This along with our crusty bread with butter would be a delicious treat for your family this holiday season. Enjoy!

Village Baking Co. Tomato Basil Soup
(Aunt Ha Ha's recipe)

1 onion
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 peeled carrots, diced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (12 ounce) can of tomato puree
4 cups chicken broth
3 tbs basil
1 tsp salt
4 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2- 1 cup of half and half
Parmesan cheese

Combine first eleven ingredients over medium heat until softened. Process until smooth. Add half and half. To serve later, store pureed ingredients in refrigerator, heat and add half and half right before serving. Add Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Village Baking Co. wednesday specials sold at Sprouts today are the Super Tuscan Bread and Ciabatta Rolls. Who needs a NYC Deli when you can have a mouth watering sandwich people would spend hours in line for right in your own kitchen? Consider dinner done tonight in just a few minutes.
Sopressatta Sandwich
Ingredients all sold at Sprouts:
Sopressatta sliced thin
Canned Roasted Red Pepper or roast your own
Fresh Mozzarella
Cut ciabbatta roll in half then layer the following,
4 slices of sopressatta
2 slices of pepperoni
1/2 of a roasted red pepper
fresh mozzarella
Move wire rack to middle of your oven. Put layered open faced sandwich on cookie sheet, place top side of sandwich next to it. Broil until cheese is bubbling....around five minutes.

Enjoy! This would be delicious with some salt & vinegar chips, a glass of red wine or a cold beer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to The Village Baking Co. Sourdough Starter!

Six years ago today, The Village Baking Co. began with the birth of our Sourdough Starter. As Clint returned to Dallas from the San Francisco Baking Institute, he had one thing in mind, to start baking the best sourdough bread in the South. Six years later the sourdough continues to rise as we "spread the loaves" across Texas. Pick up the birthday bread at Sprouts today and celebrate!

Sourdough is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread. The oldest recorded use of sourdough is from the Ancient Egyptian civilizations.
It was probably discovered as most things are by accident. The first recorded civilization we know about that used sourdough was the Egyptians around 1500 BC. There are many stories as to how they first discovered it, but you can probably imagine that some bread was left out and some of the wild yeast spores that are in the air at all times got mixed in the dough and they noticed that it rose and was lighter than the usual flat breads. The Egyptians also made a lot of beer and the brewery and the bakery were often in the same place. a batch of flour may have been mixed with beer and produced a light loaf of bread, or the wild yeast spores were thick from the brewing and they got into the bread doughs and caused them to rise considerably more than the usual wild sourdoughs. Through trial and error they found out that some of these sourdough cultures worked and tasted better than others. They could keep this culture alive by saving from their baking a little raw dough and adding more flour to it, and it would produce the same flavor. This is known as a sourdough starter. A good sourdough culture became very important to day to day living, and even taken by explorers when they went on expeditions around the world.

During the gold rush days in California, some of the Boudin family who were well known master Bakers from France came to the San Francisco area. They found out that the sourdough culture there was very unique and they became very famous for their bread with this special flavor. The miners flocked to this bakery every morning for this special tasting bread. Since 1849 they have been using the same sourdough culture, which they call a "Mother dough" and the same recipe, flour, water, a pinch of salt and some of the this "Mother Dough".So important is their "Mother Dough" it was heroically saved by Louise Boudin during the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.
Sourdough also came in handy 'when old timers had to tan hides. They rubbed it into the skin, fur side down till soft and dry. Some claim there starters to the fame of originating in the old country or from the Klondike era. Recently a sum of $600.00 American was paid by a restaurant desiring the authenticity of Alaskan sourdough from the gold rush days.

DID YOU KNOW....Sourdough turns Carbohydrates into Proteins?
They say that Sourdough contains the greatest amount of protein for it's weight and size of any comparable food. "Hmm" I thought "just how does that come about when it's ingredients are all carbohydrates?" Apparently a wild yeast forms in the fermentation process of the starter. At that stage, a starch food is turned into a protein dynamo food.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bakers Breakfast- Soft boiled egg with crusty baguette

This is a family favorite around our house. Even Ben (4) & Clementine (2) eat this up! We have cute little yellow "chicken" egg cups from Anthropologie that makes breakfast extra cute, fun and easy. Try this breakfast at your home. Swing by Sprouts and grab one of our delicious crusty breads and some farm fresh eggs & enjoy a classic french breakfast.

Recipe: Soft Boiled Egg
1 egg

village baking co. artisan bread (baguette or sourdough)

Place egg in saucepan and bring water to a boil. Boil for 1 minute & remove egg. Open top of egg (you can find egg shell cutter at Williams Sonoma or cut with jagged knife). Take small spoon (we use baby spoons at our house) and mix inside of egg to dip bread in. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast your bread and start dipping.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Artisan: A person working in a skilled trade or a craftsman. "For bread to be considered "artisan", at least one part of its production must be performed by hand. Beyond that, artisan bread is most likely to be crusty European-style bread, sometimes sourdough, sometimes not; hopefully weighed, rounded, shaped and slashed by hand; and baked directly on a hearth in a "deck oven." Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Almost every morning, our cinnamon rolls were gone in less than one hour after opening the doors. People would drive from all over the area on a saturday to eat them. They are soft & gooey & absolutely delicious! I am not a very experienced baker, unlike my husband, and I can make these taste just like the way we use to make them at our shop. So if I can do this, anyone can! I will never forget being so tired of working 18 hours a day 6 days a week. One morning as I was walking into the bakery to open the front doors, the sun was coming up and I smelled my Grandma Fanny's kitchen was the smell of our cinnamon rolls bellowing out the door. My Grandma Fanny was famous for her cinnamon rolls and I thought at that moment it was her saying..."Keep up the hard work. Hang in there!" I hope these will fill your kitchen with sweet smells & possibly memories of your childhood. Enjoy!

Village Baking Co. Cinnamon Rolls
3 oz. Butter (1/2 stick)
6 1/2 tbs sugar
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup milk

Cream butter & sugar in mixing bowl. Add one egg. Switch to dough hook and add flour, yeast & milk. Put on slow speed for 4 minutes and then on second speed for another 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, put towel over it & let ferment for 2 hours. After fermentation, roll out dough, pour 1 /4 cup of melted butter on dough & sprinkle sugar & cinnamon generously. Roll dough into log, cut in 2-3" pieces & place in greased dish. Bake at 350 until top is golden brown.

Bring 1-2 tbs of water to boil. Pour into bowl add 1 to 2 cups of powdered sugar. Whisk until made into icing. Take knife & spread over rolls.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baking Early in the Morning.....

There might not be anything better in life than the smell of a bakery early in the morning. I use to come into our cafe around 6:30 AM to get everything ready to open up and the smells that drifted out the door into the parking lot was pure heaven on earth. Clint had been baking since 2:30 AM and as I entered through the back door of the kitchen, there would be racks of fresh bread, chicken stock boiling for the soup, homemade cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven as well as scones, quiches, pain au chocolates, pain au jambons and much more. This was all done from scratch that very morning by Clint's hands alone. I remember thinking it was almost miraculous that one person could have produced such amazing food to sale that very day for he & I and our little dream to survive. And that is what we did.....barely survive.
This picture was taken early in the morning as the sun came through the back door. Hard times but sweet memories....