Tag Archives: bread

National Homemade Bread Day (November 17th)

14 Nov

Readers, you know #thesmugcouple LOVES homemade bread. We’ve done chewy bagels, crusty hearth loafs, sourdoughs, and savoury prosciutto rings. Your day is always better with fresh homemade bread.

November 17th is National Homemade Bread Day and Enoteca Sociale (1288 Dundas St. W) wants our readers to try their hand at homemade bread with their very special 5-ingredient focaccia recipe by Head Chef Kris Schlotzhauer. We can’t think of anything better to do on a crisp Saturday afternoon.

The end result!

The end result!


Enoteca Sociale’s Famed 5-recipe Focaccia  


640g all purpose flour
25g salt
6g yeast
450g water
50g olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary


Mix dry ingredients together, then slowly add wet ingredients until fully incorporated.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes and then rest for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough for 1 minute and then rest again for 30 minutes.

Place the dough into an oil pan then cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 425F for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 205F. Cool on rack.

The result: Great crispy crust and tender interior. I’m surprised how simple the recipe was to execute.



  • This is a simple recipe no overnight biga(starter) needed!
  • Based on our past experience, we would suggest incorporating the flour and yeast together BEFORE adding salt. Mixing salt with yeast prematurely (because the former kills the latter) might mean that your focaccia won’t proof (rise) properly.
  • This should also be quite a wet dough. Don’t over-knead the bread because this can inhibit gluten development. Eschew your stand mixer and just gently fold your dough on itself with a silicone spatula.
  • Dock (pierce the dough with a fork) the bread right before you put it in the oven.
  • I topped my focaccia with some sea-salt and more fresh rosemary.

The first proof.



Ready to be baked!

For bread enthusiasts who just want to indulge in Enoteca Sociale’s expertly baked goods, they’ve been offering a “Backdoor Bakery” since Spring of 2014. Starting at noon every Saturday (and until they sell out), carb-fans can try their Red Fife Sourdough or Rosemary Focaccia for $5. Grab one for yourself and more for your friends! Inside scoop: Holger Schoorl, their bread and pasta master, likes to experiment from time to time so expect some exciting changes to their Backdoor Bakery menu. 

Holger Schoorl, Bread Master

Holger Schoorl, Bread Master

Thanks to Natasha at ButterPR for sharing this recipe with our readers! YUM.


Kneading for Naught: The Prosciutto Ring

11 Mar

Bread making and baking is a notoriously labourious process. Clementine made bagels last week that took a day to ferment and rise and a morning to bake. You have to plan ahead. After that and the exertions of our Hearth Bread, we were in search of something a bit simpler but not lacking in texture or taste. We turned to the (ok, OUR) goddess of home bread making: Rose Levy Berenbaum (RLB).

RLB’s recipes are the definition of finicky. She does nothing but bake all day. Her fridge, she confesses, is filled with starters and doughs at various stages of progress. She recommends specific brands of flour … only available to Americans. She includes weights for all ingredients … alongside volume measurements. Re: weight v. volume in recipes is actually something we like and live by now. The scale is a permanent fixture on my counter. It’s the difference between flirting with baking and baking for real. She offers methods for food processors, hand mixing and stand mixers. Each recipe is more than three pages. She is nothing if not thorough.

This recipe … and we looked to see if we were missing steps or if pages were stuck together … did not require a starter or 4+ hours of rising and multiple rounds of shaping. Perhaps she included it as her idea of a breather for home cooks brave enough to take her bread making master class.

All of the ingredients were incorporated and kneaded, by hand, for 10 minutes. The ingredients included 3/4 cup of chopped (or hand torn) prosciutto and a tsp of pepper speckled throughout the dough.


After a rest of 20 minutes (a blink of an eye in RLB’s world), the boule was shaped into a ring and left for a 1 hour rise. Just enough time to head out for a snowshoe and/ or to get dinner started.

What type of dinner would suit this savoury loaf? HoM thought Brussels’ sprouts and French onion soup. We also think this bread would go great with a salad and an enormous bottle of Chianti.


This bread is brushed with melted butter (or bacon fat) before baking and after. This softens the crust but doesn’t destroy the chew. The second brushing is the key to it’s rich flavour.


The bread is baked for a mere 35 minutes on a baking stone in a pre-heated oven at 450 to start and lowered to 400 part way through. It emerges from the inferno a deep amber. We incorporated our pieces of prosciutto within the bread so there were salty little packages of cured meats in each bite. You can see parts where the meat broke through the surface of the crust and became crispy.


This bread should not be cut/ sliced. One should tear into the bread like a monster to preserve its rustic texture. These were RLB’s orders and we dare not deviate from her perfect methods.


Because of the simplicity of this recipe and the stellar results, we will be making this again.

RLB’s Bread Bible has proven itself an indispensable kitchen companion for us. She is serious about her bread making. Her methods are comprehensive. But, if you want to make good bread, discipline and patience are required. If you can make it through some of her more complex recipes, then a bread like this is just something you can throw together on whim.

Canadian Artisan Tasting Fair, 2013

3 Dec
The rain didn't keep these food enthusiasts away!

The rain didn’t keep these food enthusiasts away!

The inaugural Canadian Artisan Tasting Fair, held at hidden urban gem Wychwood Barns, played host to 40 different cheesemongers, bakers, and charcuterie butchers. Tickets were $35 and included a tote bag (for all of the cheese you were going to buy), $10 in coupons to purchase your favourite discoveries, and all the samples you could eat! Think: Delicious Food Show but a smaller carefully curated selection of food vendors in a way more intimate setting. It was crowded but you felt like you had a manageable selection from which to sample. We loved the emphasis on local and sustainable food production!

Sanagan's Meat Locker

Sanagan’s Meat Locker

There was a huge selection of cheeses from which to sample. Many of them award winning and all of them delicious. We were delighted to see Best Baa there – Clementine is obsessed with their sheep’s milk yogurt. Yummy and gentle on your tummy. Our highlights were definitely Dough on the Danforth (bakery) and Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington market (butcher). HoM was particularly enamoured with Sanagan’s pork cretons. This French-Canadian dish consists of ground pork simmered in milk with spices like cloves, nutmeg, and allspice until it becomes a spreadable paste. With its wintery spices, this dish was perfect for a cold December day.  HoM may have gone back for THIRDS and then had it again for breakfast the next day.  At this rate the two containers he purchased may not last long. Dough has a SCHEDULE for all of the different breads they make – so that no one is disappointed. They’re also doing Panettone by special order! Clementine is really excited to try it fresh as opposed to the boxed version, which is ubiquitous in York Region.


We also LOVED me-n-u. Their dishes are inventive, artfully presented, and really yummy. They also name all of their rice-balls. The above is called, Gangnam Style (bulgogi beef, cheese, and veggies). These guys are approaching food truck cuisine in a really fun way. We can’t wait to see them cruising around town in their own truck in 2014!

Food festivals are a dime a dozen in this city and they’re gaining in popularity (if that’s even possible). A lot of them lack a cohesive vision. The Canadian Tasting Festival has staying power because it caters to a discerning crowd ( who would gladly shell out the clams if it meant one-stop shopping for all of their favourite cheeses and cured meats) and we felt that it successfully showcased the bounty of independent and delicious locally made food from which we have to choose. Patronize your local baker, butcher, and cheesemonger! Until next year, Canadian Tasting Fair.