I’ve been eating this bread, which my sister-in-law introduced to the family, since I was 8 or 9. In my professional opinion, there’s only one way to do it: toasted, with butter.

My mom always made one loaf with caraway seeds and one without. My version of the recipe makes no mention of caraway seeds. Because yuck. But if you’re a caraway lover, by all means, sprinkle some in there. Just warn other people before letting them take a bite. Because yuck.

Eileen’s Irish Bread

Preheat oven to 375.

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg – beaten
1 1/4 cup milk

1 cup raisins 

Mix together by hand.
Pour into buttered bread pan.
Bake at 375 for 50 mins-1 hour, til toothpick comes out clean.

Jon’ll have to remind me where he got this recipe. I think it was Mindy’s family?It makes 4 loaves, which is a bit too much to fit in our mixer, so Jon cuts it in half.It’s great for sandwiches, but my favorite way to eat it is toasted and shmeared with peach honey butter.

Foolproof Wheat Bread

2 TBS yeast

½ cup warm water

5 cups hot water

1 TBS salt

2/3 cup oil

2/3 cup honey or molasses

12 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine hot water and 7 cups of flour and blend in mixer with dough hook.

Add salt, oil, and honey, and continue to mix.(Rue note: Measure the oil first and the honey will slide right out.)

Add 1 cup flour and yeast mixture.

Mix thoroughly, then add 3-4 more cups flour and mix until dough cleans the sides of the mixer.

Knead (mix) at least 10 minutes.

Transfer dough into a large greased bowl, spin to coat with oil, cover with towel, and let rise 45 minutes.

Oil hand, punch down, and shape into 4 loaves.

Place in well-oiled bread pans.

Cover with cloth and let rise again, 35-45 minutes.

Bake at 350 40-45 minutes.

Saturday: Pick strawberries.

Sunday: Make strawberry honey butter.

2 cups strawberries

1 cup honey

4 sticks butter at room temperature

Combine strawberries with 2 tablespoons of the honey.

Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until thickened.

Let cool completely.

Add remaining honey.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and blend until completely incorporated.

Monday: Make English Muffin Bread to hold strawberry honey butter.

2 ¼ teaspoons yeast

1 cup flour + 1 ¾ cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cup warm (not hot) water


Combine the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and water in stand mixer bowl. Mix for three minutes. Add the remaining flour and mix until fully blended.

Butter a 1 ½ or 2 quart casserole dish well and dust with cornmeal. Add dough and arrange evenly. Sprinkle with cornmeal.

Cover with a light towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until bread roughly doubles in size. Some time midway, preheat oven to 400F. Remove the towel and bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

This weekend Jon tried his hand at bread making. This resulted in a colossally messy kitchen and some really good potato bread. Bread likes soup, so try this:

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 6-7 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled (I did 8 cloves. That’s a Ruel: always double the garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup cream (I used more like ½ cup)
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut tomatoes in quarters and lay cut side up in a roasting pan. Add unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the tomatoes and garlic have started to caramelize.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat, then add the diced onion and cook until translucent — about four or five minutes. Add sugar, then stock. Bring to low boil.

Remove paper skins from garlic. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pot with the stock and let it cook for a few minutes. Pour everything into blender and whiz until velvety smooth. Add cream or milk and whiz for another minute.

When I was thirteen a Lender’s bagel was about the closest I had ever been to anything Jewish. All that changed with our move to a town where the majority of the kids in my school were Jewish. My friend Bequa was my tour guide, introducing me to real bagels (with a shmear), delis (if there isn’t a bowl of half sours on the table, it’s not a deli), and my very own NJB (nice Jewish boy, who, as it ends up, is actually an atheist, but that works for me).

I came to love Yiddish (Is there a better word for a rag than a schmuttie? A better way to say pretty face than shana punim? A better word for those little rolls of fat on babies’ legs than pulkies?), although my accent is apparently painful, the food (a knish from The Butcherie cannot be beat – oh, wait, I’m vegetarian now…), and, of course, the boy.

I may be a shiksa but I’ve learned to make a mean kugel, I hear my kasha vanishkas may just be better than a certain grandmother’s, (ok, it’s her recipe, so I’m not sure if that’s possible, but anyway…), and I have mastered the filling and the pinching of hamantashen. Until yesterday, though, I never tackled challah. My mother-in-law’s challah is really good. Really good like you just want to eat the whole loaf yourself and not share any. Frankly it’s just plain intimidating. She’s agreed to share her recipe with me, but it’s apparently complicated enough that she needs to show me. Oh, and it makes 5 loaves. In the meantime, she talked me through some braiding instructions over the phone, and I found this recipe.

Isn’t it pretty? Rowan did most of the braiding. She’s got skills.

Neither Jon or I thought it was as good as his mom’s. I couldn’t tell you if that’s because it isn’t as good or because you love what you know and especially what your mom makes. But, yum – I wouldn’t have minded a bit eating the whole loaf myself and not sharing any, but with eight other people in the house I didn’t stand much of a chance.

I’m cooking a lot lately. A lot. I used to, and then I stopped, and now I seem to have started again. I forgot how much I like it. And I’m grieving. It’s a process. (This is a line from Analyze That. Billy Crystal’s dad dies and he keeps saying it. Now I keep saying it. I can use it to explain away just about any odd behavior.)

When the no knead bread recipe started showing up everywhere on the intornets (known to some others as the internet, but to our family as the intornets) I ignored it. It was like one of those songs they play over and over on the radio until you go so far past hating it you almost like it. Almost.

This week I found a version of the no knead recipe that seemed too easy not to try. It makes a very small loaf, which Rowan and I have agreed is silly.

Rowan went with peanut butter. I added some of Kelly Lovejoy’s honey from happy bees, which we hoard as the liquid gold it is. Rowan has her own jar. I have my own jar. If anyone wants to touch our jars they need to come through us. Fingers may be bitten off.

(Oh, and Kelly, send more honey.)