Applesauce Sandwich Bread

Applesauce Sandwich BreadThis past weekend just whizzed by in a happy blur of food, fun and friends.

On Saturday, it was brunch at my friend Roshani’s. Her parents  are visiting from Houston and her mom, Pratima Kothari, had cooked up a huge feast for us.  I even got a quick lesson in rolling Khandvi, one of my favorite Gujarati snacks, from Mrs. Kothari who used lemon as the souring agent in the recipe instead of yogurt to make it vegan. Between discussing Bollywood movies,  the best stores to buy Indian groceries in the DC area, and Indian and American politics, Desi and I stuffed ourselves silly on  delicious Gujarati snacks like Dhokla, Batata Poha (flattened rice sauteed with potatoes and spices — very similar to my Kande Pohe), a stir-fry of sprouted mung beans with Indian spices, and a delicious and healthy sweet dish of dates stuffed with a mixture of pistachios, cashew nuts and saffron. We washed it all down with alcohol-free Mojitos. Yum.

Continue reading

Roshani's mom

Pratima Kothari rolls paper-thin ribbons of chickpea flour to make Khandvi, a classic snack from the state of Gujarat on India’s west coast.
And below, the final dish, a delicious melange of lentils, coriander, mustard seeds and spices.


Then on Sunday it was over to my neighbors Heather and Dave’s where they were hosting a get-together to welcome two new neighbors on our block. I made my Applesauce Mini Muffins — always a great hit with kids and adults — and neighbors brought in more delicious sweets, including vegan brownies made by one very thoughtful neighbor.

The days went by so fast, I didn’t have  chance to bake any bread over the weekend. So Monday afternoon, project number 1 was to make something delicious that would be perfect for Desi to toast and slather peanut butter and jelly on all week (he’s my kid, that one).

I had some applesauce left over after making those muffins and the Banana Coffee Cake I shared last week, and as anyone who’s familiar with applesauce knows, it tends to spoil if left in the refrigerator too long. So I decided I’d bake up an applesauce bread– not a cake, but a loaf of bread with applesauce in it, and perhaps some cinnamon. The thought made my mouth water, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Applesauce Sandwich BreadI came across this recipe for an Applesauce Oatmeal Bread on the King Arthur website that sounded just perfect. I made some modifications — I added more applesauce, cut down on the oil, and made the bread part whole wheat to make it healthier. It was perfect– I couldn’t have asked for a better loaf to carry us through the week.

A few readers have recently asked for kid-friendly recipes, and this loaf is definitely one. I do have many kid-friendly recipes on the blog, but I haven’t categorized them clearly. I will try to do so soon, and I promise I will continue to post more.

Applesauce Sandwich Bread

Before I share the recipe, thanks to all you beautiful people who left comments and sent emails after my last post. It is always wonderful to hear from you, and your affection humbles me– honestly– and it keeps Holy Cow! going. I wanted to also share this  image that a lovely reader, Anusha, sent me. I wanted to pass it on to all of you because I love you.

Who do you notice more?

Applesauce Sandwich Bread

Applesauce Sandwich Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 16 slices. Nutrition information is per slice.
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Serves: 16 slices
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 1¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (can substitute with sugar)
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Mix the yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, with the sugar and 2 tbsp of warm water. Set aside for the yeast to activate.
  2. Place the oats in a bowl and pour the remaining water over them. Set aside for 20 minutes to soften the oats.
  3. After 20 minutes, add the oats to the yeast mixture along with the applesauce, maple syrup and oil. Mix everything.
  4. Add the flours, salt and cinnamon and knead until the dough comes together. You want a rather stiff dough. Add some more all-purpose flour if the dough is too wet.
  5. Remove the dough to the platform or a flat surface and knead briefly by hand. Form a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil.
  6. Cover with a plastic bag or a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
  7. After 2 hours have passed, turn out the dough on the platform, knead slightly to deflate, and form into a loaf. Oil a loaf pan, sprinkle the bottom with some cornmeal, and place the loaf in it.
  8. Brush some soymilk or spray some oil on top and sprinkle a few oats. Press down slightly so they adhere to the loaf.
  9. Let the bread rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the top domes over the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, dome some aluminum foil over the top of the bread and continue baking for another 25 minutes.
  10. Remove to a rack and unmold when the pan is cool enough to handle. Let the bread cool thoroughly on a rack.
  11. Slice and eat.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 132 Fat: 2.4 grams Sodium: 76 mg Fiber: 1.7 grams Protein: 3.4 grams

 Applesauce Sandwich Bread

No-Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole Wheat No-Knead BreadIn the past I’ve tended to add some wheat gluten or all-purpose flour to my wholegrain bread recipes. That’s because whole wheat flour is low on gluten and without the extra gluten muscle provided by vital wheat gluten or all-purpose or bread flour, it is not easy to produce a loaf that doesn’t taste and feel like a brick.

But I — and many readers — don’t always have wheat gluten on hand and we also don’t want the wholegrain bread to be only part wholegrain. So for a long time now I’d wanted to come up with an all whole wheat sandwich loaf that would not need any gluten nor any refined flour but would still have a light, airy structure. I have that bread for you today.

Continue reading

Whole Wheat BreadYou do need one essential ingredient for my Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread: sourdough. The gases in the sourdough are really useful in giving this bread that wonderful hole structure and airiness, so it’s definitely worth the trouble of making the  starter– I explain how to in my sourdough starter post. All you need is some flour and yeast and water.

I had to revive my starter because it had been sitting, neglected, for weeks in my refrigerator. I found some pretty nice instructions on how to do this here.

This is a very sticky dough, almost like a ciabatta dough. You see, when you let a wet dough sit for a while, the water helps develop the gluten without any real work from you. And yes, I really mean very little work, because this is also a no-knead bread — or a minimum knead bread.

The bread turned out just perfect, as you can see — flavorful and not dense at all, with a great hole structure. I wanted to shape this into a sandwich loaf, so I baked it in a loaf pan but this created a big problem the first couple of times I tried this loaf. No matter how much I floured the pan or how much cornmeal I sprinkled on the greased pan, the finished loaf was difficult– almost impossible to unmold.  I tried lining the pan, first with tinfoil (not a great idea because the dough expanded into the foil’s crevices and I had to strip off tiny bits of foil from the finished loaf) and then with parchment paper, which worked much better. So the foil does work but I definitely recommend the parchment paper.

You could also just try making this a free-form loaf, like a ciabatta, if you wish.


Whole Wheat Bread Slice

No-Knead Sandwich Bread, Whole Wheat
Cook time
Total time
Recipe makes two loaves, 12 slices each. Nutrition information is for one slice.
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: Makes 2 loaves
  • 2½ cups warm water
  • 1½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 5-6 cups of whole-wheat flour (either durum or regular whole wheat works fine)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Mix ½ cup of water and the sugar and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside about 10 minutes until the yeast froths.
  2. Mix the sourdough starter into the remaining water. Add to the yeast.
  3. Add 4 cups of flour and salt and mix with a spoon or with the dough hook if you’re using a mixer.
  4. Continue adding flour, half a cup at a time, until you have a sticky and soft dough. It should have the consistency of a ciabatta dough. I needed all of the six cups on a rather moist day in my town, but you might need less if you’re working in a dryer climate.
  5. Spray a large bowl with some oil, pour the dough into the bowl, and spray some oil on top to coat and seal the dough. Cover tightly with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and set the dough in a warm place to rise for two hours.
  6. After two hours the dough should have risen all the way to the top of the bowl. Turn it out onto the kitchen platform and fold it over once or twice. You don’t need to knead it. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover again and let it rise for another two hours.
  7. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with some oil.
  8. Remove the dough onto the kitchen platform and divide into two. Shape each half into a loaf, making the top as smooth as you can. I do this by tucking the sides underneath. The dough is still quite sticky, so work fast or it will be hard to shape.
  9. Place each loaf in a loaf pan. Dust some flour on top of the loaves and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Set the loaf pans in a warm place and let the loaves rise for an hour or until they begin to dome over the top of the loaf pans. Remove the kitchen towel as the dough rises over the tops, or the towel will stick and deflate the dough as you remove it.
  10. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Place the loaves in the oven and bake 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the loaves to a rack and let them stand about 15 minutes or until the pans are cool enough to handle. Unmold by turning out the loaves to a rack. Let them cool, right side up.
  13. Slice and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 116 Sugar: 0.6 grams Sodium: 195 mg Fiber: 0.9 grams Protein: 3.3 grams

whole wheat loaf

Crusty Italian Bread

Crusty italian breadCrusty breads with soft, airy crumbs are my favorite, and here’s an Italian loaf that I absolutely adore and bake up every chance I get.

This bread needs three rises, including an overnight rise, so this is one of those recipes you want to plan ahead for. But all that rising is what rewards you with a great bread, plus most of it really is idle time when you are not doing anything. I also love how versatile this bread is. You could use it for bruschetta, slice it up for a sandwich, tear up pieces of it with your fingers to dunk in your soup, or you could even slather some PB and J on it.

The recipe makes two loaves, which is perfect because I have enough bread to last us the whole week. You can freshen it up before you serve it by placing it in a brown paper bag, spraying the bag with some water, and placing in a hot oven for about 5-10 minutes. It will be like new.

Also feel free to play around with the look of this bread. I like shaping it into oval loaves but I have also shaped it in rounds in the past and sometimes I’ve made three or four smaller loaves with this recipe.

So get that oven going: fall/winter is a perfect time to bake up some bread and get your house smelling like heaven.

Crusty Italian Bread

Crusty Italian Bread
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: Makes 2 loaves, 12 slices each
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (not hot)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the yeast and the warm water in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add the whole-wheat flour and ¾th cup of all-purpose flour to the bowl and mix with the dough hook or with a wooden spoon until everything’s thoroughly mixed together.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand overnight or for eight hours.
  4. Now add the salt and the remaining all-purpose flour to the bowl, a cup at a time, kneading and mixing. Drizzle in the olive oil. You want a smooth but not stiff dough. Continue to knead for another eight minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and then place in a greased bowl, turning over once to coat the top with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set it aside to rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide into two. Shape each half into a loaf by punching it into a round about eight inches in diameter and then rolling it up into a loaf. Pinch the seams together and tuck them underneath.
  7. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a lightly greased baking sheet. Place the loaves as far apart as you can on the sheet, giving enough room on all sides for the loaves to rise.
  8. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for two hours. The loaves should double in size. In the last half hour of rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking pan with water in the bottom rack of the oven.
  9. Just before you place the loaves in the oven, make two or three sharp slashes on the top of each loaf using a very sharp knife. You want to use a swift motion so as to not deflate the bread.
  10. Bake the bread for 40 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  11. Remove the baking sheet to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then transfer the loaves to the rack and continue cooling them.

Nutrition facts are for one slice of bread:

Crusty Italian Bread nutrition infoCrusty Italian Bread

Whole-Wheat Atta Bread

whole wheat atta breadThe more I bake with whole wheat and wholegrain flours, the more I’ve become a fan of using durum wheat flour– called atta in Indian kitchens  – to bake breads. You have already seen me use it to make my whole-wheat french bread, among other bread recipes. The reason I love durum wheat flour so much is because breads made with it  have an airier texture– and a lighter color– than breads baked with regular whole-wheat flour. Even without the added binding and raising power of vital wheat gluten.

Also not everyone wants to use vital wheat gluten because it can make crusts a bit chewy. And many, including readers in India, don’t have access to it. So to give my bread a lift and a rise, I used sourdough.  It is easy enough to make sourdough– you do need a few days to get your starter going if you haven’t already got one. But trust me, it’s completely worth making it so you can make this bread, and more. See my recipe for a sourdough starter if you need help.

whole-wheat-breadOther than the sourdough,  this recipe needs nothing more than flour, yeast, water, salt and a tiny bit of sugar. All ingredients that are no doubt sitting in your pantry already.

You’re going to love this recipe. Have a great weekend, all!

whole wheat bread

Whole-Wheat Atta Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: Makes 2 loaves
  • 5-6 cups whole-wheat durum wheat flour (atta)
  • 2¼ teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix together the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and let it stand about 5-10 minutes until the yeast turns frothy.
  2. Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing with the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer or with your hand. Once you have a thick but somewhat liquid mixture, add the salt and continue to mix in the flour.
  3. Use just as much flour as is needed to get a smooth but not sticky dough. You want a pliable dough that’s not as stiff as the dough you’d make for a chapati.
  4. Knead the dough for 8 minutes on medium-low speed or by hand. Turn it out onto a flat surface, form into a smooth ball with your hands, and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil.
  5. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to double, about an hour.
  6. Once the dough has doubled, punch out the gases and divide into two. Shape each portion into a round loaf, tucking any seams underneath the loaf.
  7. Lightly oil a baking sheet and scatter some sooji rava or cornmeal on it.
  8. Place the loaves, about four inches apart, on the baking sheet. Dust the tops with some flour, then cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let the loaves rise for 2 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Just before putting the loaves in the oven, use a very sharp, preferably serrated knife to score the tops of the loaves. I scored them in a crosshatch pattern but you could do diagonal slashes as well.
  11. Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped with your fingertips.
  12. Remove the baking sheet to a rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove the loaves from the sheet and continue cooling them on the rack.

Nutrition information is for one slice of bread, with 16 slices per bread.

whole wheat atta bread nutrition information

All-Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls

Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls, Vegan

I love crescent rolls and I can never resist a chance to bake them up. I have had a white flour version on this blog for a few years now and that’s pretty much the recipe I’ve always followed. But this time I wanted to try something different: I wanted to try healthy. Ergo, these Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls.

One of the best things about crescent rolls is just how pretty they are– and they become so with just a tad of work which suits me just fine. When I set out to make whole-wheat crescent rolls, one of the challenges was to make them light and fluffy as crescent rolls should be– not dense as wholegrain breads tend to be.

Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls

To get to that goal without adding any white flour I did two things: I used whole-wheat durum flour which tends to be lighter than regular whole-wheat flour. This is the flour used in Indian kitchens to make chapatis and you can find it pretty much at any Indian grocery store and at Whole Foods and online at Amazon. I also added a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to improve the bread’s structure and rise. If you do not have the vital wheat gluten, replace a cup of the flour with bread flour.

Take the time to make these on the weekend and I promise your family — and their health– will love you for it. I know I will be making these again and again.

 Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls

Whole-Wheat Crescent Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 16
  • 2¼ tsp or 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3-4 cups whole wheat durum flour (atta)
  • 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten (if you’re not using this, replace 1 cup of the whole wheat flour with bread flour)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1¼ cup soymilk
  • 2 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Place the yeast and water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and let the yeast “flower,” about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl except the flour and vital wheat gluten, and mix by hand or on low speed if using a mixer for about a minute.
  3. Gradually add the vital what gluten, if using, and then the flour. Add the fourth cup slowly, a tablespoon at a time. How much flour is needed will depend a lot on the weather in your part of the world at the time you’re baking. A dryer climate means you will need less flour, a damp day with lots of humidity in the air will mean you will need more. At the end of 10 minutes of kneading you want a smooth, elastic ball of dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn over once to coat the top with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled, around 2 hours.
  5. Now punch the dough down and divide into two equal parts. Shape each into a smooth ball and then roll each out to a diameter of about 10-12 inches.
  6. With a pizza cutter, cut eight wedges, as you would a pizza.
  7. Take one wedge, brush the top with a little oil, and then, using your fingers, roll from the broader edge toward the tip. Once you’ve formed the roll, tuck the ends downward to form the crescent.shape.
  8. Shape all 16 wedges into crescents, placing them at least an inch or two apart on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Brush the tops of the rolls with some oil or with a mixture of soymilk and oil, and allow them to stand, covered loosely with a napkin, until they’ve doubled in size, about 2 more hours.
  10. Bake the rolls in a preheated 425-degree oven about 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are golden-brown. Cool on a rack.