Sourdough Pretzel Croissants

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The October challenge for the Sourdough Surprises Baking Group is croissants.  I made pretzel croissants with yeast earlier this year and enjoyed them so much I decided to adapt that recipe to use sourdough instead of yeast.

Sourdough Pretzel Croissants

The timing of this challenge worked out really well. My oldest son came in town this past weekend. He loves rolls so I wanted to make sure these were ready while he was here. I started the process Friday morning before work and completed the croissants Sunday afternoon. 

I was pleased with the entire process. The last time I made the yeasted version of these croissants, I was a bit grumpy and rushed. This time, I was calm, relaxed and totally in control of these croissants and they performed beautifully.

My son and his girlfriend really enjoyed the rolls. They both said they tasted like pretzels.  This was before I even mentioned that they were in fact, pretzel croissants. 

Sourdough Pretzel Croissants

When you review the time required to make these croissants, three days may seem daunting, but it’s really not. I was able to fit these croissants in my schedule even though I was gone for several hours on Saturday.  If I can do this, you can too!

Using the sourdough starter made the dough fairly stiff, but that worked out really well.  It didn’t tear during the whole process and it didn’t negative affect the final result.  In fact, I think the sourdough enhanced the rolls. These croissants are buttery, flaky, light and crispy and just right in my opinion.


Sourdough Pretzel Croissants

yield: 1 dozen

Adapted from Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker

Total time: 24 - 72 hours

Notes about timing:

  • The dough takes from 24-48 hours from start to the time you bake the croissants. 
  • The butter block should be formed sometime while the dough is rising.
  • The baked baking soda needs 1 hour in the oven. It can be prepared the final day or whenever is convenient.

I started the process Friday morning before work and finished baking the rolls Sunday afternoon. Feel free to adjust the following schedule to suit your needs.


  • Morning 1st day: Feed sourdough starter.
  • Evening 1st day: Prepare the dough and place in refrigerator until next afternoon (18 hours).
  • Morning 2nd day: Make the butter block and place in refrigerator for several hours until ready to roll out dough.
  • Afternoon 2nd day: Prepare the baked baking soda. Complete 3 turns and place dough in refrigerator overnight.*
  • Afternoon 3rd day: Roll out, shape and bake croissants.

* Alternately, on Day 2, complete 3 turns, place dough in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and then continue to the shaping and baking phase instead of placing dough in refrigerator overnight.


  • 1 cup mature sourdough starter, recently fed
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm milk (~110° F)
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar (golden or dark)
  • 410 g (3-1/4 cups) unbleached AP flour + more for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 ounce (2 T) unsalted butter, cubed, cold
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm water, if necessary

Butter block:

  • 340 g (12 ounces / 24 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour


  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) baked baking soda **
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
  • coarse salt
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds, optional

** Baked baking soda is an alternative to working with lye that still lends pretzels their dark, burnished crust. To make the baked baking soda, spread 1/4 cup (~70 grams) of baking soda out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil (or in a pie pan). It will decrease in weight, but shouldn't decrease in volume. Slide it into an oven that has been preheated to 250° F/120° C and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Day 1 (Morning): Feed your sourdough

I fed my starter using the method outlined in this post.

Day 1 (Evening): Prepare the dough

Whisk the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture, breaking it up into tiny flour-coated pieces the size of breadcrumbs. Stir in the sourdough culture and milk using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a shaggy mass.

Turn the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead eight to ten times, until all of the flour is just incorporated. You don't want to over work it, because you don't want the butter to melt too much. The dough will not be a smooth mass; you will see some flecks of butter. It should be soft and tacky, but not sticky. Adjust as needed with flour or water.

Place the dough in a large, clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (24 will give you the best flavor).


Day 2 (Morning): Make the butter block

Knead the butter and flour together using your hands until it forms a smooth mass. This will take a couple of minutes.  The butter should be pliable. You can use a stand mixer, but make sure you don’t beat any air into the butter or melt it.

Spread the butter between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap (or parchment or wax paper), and use a rolling pin to shape into a rectangle that is about 8"x9". Use a straight edge to form corners, but work quickly as you want the butter to stay cool. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you're ready to roll out the dough.


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Day 2 (Afternoon):

1st turn:
Scatter a little bit of flour on your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Roll it out into a rectangle that is 10" by 15" and about 1/4" thick. Using your hands, gently pull and stretch the dough to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush excess flour off of the dough. Set the dough with a long edge facing you.

Mentally divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Place the butter block over the right 2/3 of the dough, leaving a 1" border on the outer edges. Fold the empty left portion of the dough over the middle third. Now, lift and fold the right section of dough over that. You should have 3 layers of dough that encase 2 layers of butter. Pinch the outsides and the seams together and lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin. This completes the first turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

sourdough-pretzel-croissants-1-5 sourdough-pretzel-croissants-2-2

2nd turn:
Remove the dough from the fridge and set it on your lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out into a 10" by 20" rectangle, pulling and stretching to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush off any excess flour. Set the dough with a long edge facing you. Fold both of the short ends in to the center, leaving a 1/4" gap where they meet (think of a book jacket). Fold one side of the dough over the other. Lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin, and square and sharpen the edges and corners. This completes the second turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

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3rd (and final) turn:
Lightly dust your work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll dough out into a 10" by 15" rectangle. Do another trifold, as done in the first turn (mentally divide into thirds, then fold one third over the center, followed by the last third). Square the edges and sharpen the sides; wipe off excess flour. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to another 24 hours.

Make ahead and freeze dough for later: If you want to save the dough for later, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, slide it into a freezer baggie, and freeze for up to 1 week. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding to final shaping.


3rd Day (Afternoon) Final shaping:

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Lightly dust your work surface and top of your dough with flour. Roll out into a 15" by 18" rectangle that is ~1/4" thick. Pull and stretch to form straight edges and sharp corners. Patch any holes where butter may have popped through by dusting them with flour.  Brush any excess flour off the dough.

(Note: This is one of those times you should do what I say in the instructions and not what I did (per the photos). As in, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. I didn’t use rimmed baking sheets and that was a mistake. I had a big mess in the oven and smoke all over the house due to all of the butter. Not sure what I was thinking when I used my regular baking sheets so trust me on this one.)

Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, creating two 15" by 9" sheets of dough. Using a pizza cutter or bench scraper, cut each piece of dough into three equal strips, the short way. Then cut each strip in half diagonally, so that you left with 6 triangles. Repeat with other piece of dough.

Beginning at the base, roll the triangles up, tugging on the tip to elongate it slightly, then gently pressing it into the dough. Place on the prepared baking sheets with the tips tucked under, and curve the ends to form crescent shapes.

Cover the croissants with damp, clean kitchen towels and allow to rise at cool room temperature until they have almost doubled in size and feel spongy, ~2 hours.


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Slide the croissants into the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you prepare the dipping solution. Preheat oven to 425° F, positioning one rack in the upper third of the oven, and one in the lower third.


Prepare the dipping solution:

Add the baked baking soda in 8 cups of cold water and stir until completely dissolved. One by one, dip the croissant dough into the dipping solution, allow the excess to drip off, then set back on the lined trays.

Finish them off :

Brush the tops with the egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse salt and sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using.

Sourdough Pretzel Croissants Sourdough Pretzel Croissants


Slide into preheated oven immediately and bake for 14-18 minutes (rotating pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through), until they are deeply browned, crispy, and flaky. They should feel light and airy if you pick them up.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. They are best enjoyed the day they are made, ideally warm from the oven. Store any extras in a paper bag for a day. You can reheat them by placing them in a 350° F oven for ~5 minutes.

Sourdough Pretzel Croissants


I really like this method and timing. I was able to fit it perfectly with my schedule and have the croissants ready when my son was home.  This way, I made sure I didn’t eat them all myself.

Happy Baking!



Einkorn Bread Stuffed w/ Caramelized Onions, Herbs & Cheese

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It’s been awhile since I’ve baked with Einkorn. When I experimented with a couple of breads recently, they didn’t turn out so I put the flour aside and started working with different types of flour.

I didn’t want to forget the lessons I learned in Tuscany about using Einkorn so I got it back out and used it to make this Caramelized Onion, Herb and Cheese Braid. 

Einkorn Bread with Caramelized Onions, Herbs & Cheese

Einkorn is weaker than bread flour so the shaping of the braid is not as tight or defined as you might get with white flour. Plus, the fact that I kind of goofed when I overlapped the braids didn’t help matters. Even so, I’m very pleased with the way it turned out and that it turned out at all.  The flavor and texture are wonderful.

This mock braided-bread is the bread of the month for the Bread Baking Babes (or BBBs). Katie, of Thyme for Cooking chose this one. I knew it was going to be good when I looked at the ingredients in the filling: Dijon mustard, rosemary, sugar, asiago cheese and red onions.  Divine!

My kitchen smelled heavenly while I was sautéing the caramelized onions. I love the smell of rosemary and when you combine it with sugar and red onions, it imparts a delicious and sweet aroma. I could’ve eaten the cooked onions without putting them in the bread, but I didn’t. I did test them, but I refrained from devouring them before the dough was ready.


Einkorn Bread Stuffed with Caramelized Onions, Herbs & Cheese

Total time: 3 hours



  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 2-3 T olive oil, plus additional for greasing bowl *
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups AP Einkorn flour, plus add’l for sprinkling*
  • 1 cup whole grain Einkorn pastry flour *
  • 3/4 tsp.  salt
  • 1 –2 tsp. Herbes de Provence

* If you use regular all-purpose flour, you probably won’t need as much flour. When baking with Einkorn, you either need to decrease the amount of water or increase the flour.  I increased the amount of flour and reduced the amount of oil used. 


  • 1 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped (~ 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 large egg white, beaten



  • In large bowl, dissolve sugar in water.
  • Sprinkle in yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
  • Whisk in milk, egg, egg yolk, oil, Herbes and salt.
  • Add the Einkorn pastry flour and half of the all-purpose Einkorn flour and stir to make soft dough.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for 5-10 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour to make dough smooth and elastic.
  • Place in oiled bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.




  • Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat butter with oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and sugar and cook until tender.
  • Reduce heat, add rosemary and continue to cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes longer.
  • Let cool to room temperature.



To shape:

  • Grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper; punch down dough.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface.
  • Roll out into 12- x 11-inch (30 x 27 cm) rectangle.
  • Transfer to prepared pan.
  • Spread mustard lengthwise in 3-inch (8 cm) strip down center of rectangle.
  • Top with onion mixture.
  • Sprinkle with 3/4 of the cheese.
  • Using sharp knife and starting at 1 corner of dough, make diagonal cuts 1 inch apart almost to filling to form strips along 1 long side of dough. Repeat on other side, cutting diagonal strips in opposite direction.
  • Alternating strips from each side, fold strips over filling to resemble braid, overlapping ends by 1 inch and brushing with some of the egg (or egg white) to seal.
  • Cover with towel; let rise in warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.



My overlapping strips were longer than they needed to be because the Einkorn was really soft and stretchy which made it a bit tricky to work with.  I’m glad I used Einkorn because the flavor of the bread is great!


To bake:

  • Brush top with egg (or egg white).**
  • Bake in center of 350°F (180°C) oven for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese down center of braid; return to oven for 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm or let cool completely on rack. (Make-ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day; rewarm in oven before serving.).

** I didn’t want to waste the leftover egg white so I used it instead of getting another egg. If you want a darker crust, feel free to use a whole egg for the egg wash.

Einkorn Bread with Caramelized Onions, Herbs & Cheese


I really liked this bread.  The flavor of the onions and the bread are wonderful. My son liked it as well.


Check out the breads from the other creative Babes:

The Bread Baking Babes (current dozen) are:

Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy? Here’s how:

Make the Caramelized, Onion & Cheese Stuffed Bread, then email your link to Katie, the kitchen of the month (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don't have a blog).  Refer to Katie’s post for the details. Submissions are due by October 29th.  Once you've posted, you'll receive a Buddy badge for baking along, then watch for a roundup of all of the BBBuddies posts a few days after the close of submissions.

I hope you'll join us this month!


Happy Baking!


Pizza Napoletana-Style Pizza Dough

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October is Pizza Month!  I adore pizza so whenever I get the chance to celebrate it, I’m there. 

I made Pizza Napoletana during the BBA Challenge several years ago, and I really liked it. I decided to revisit this dough to see if my pizza-making skills have improved.

Pizza Napoletana for Pizza Month

Even though this pizza is adapted from one of Peter Reinhart’s formulas, it was Jeffrey Hammelman (Bread Baker extraordinaire at KAF) that inspired me to make it. I watched a video recently of his keynote address at the Grain Gathering Conference.  Unfortunately, I missed the conference so I was delighted to be able to listen to a replay of his presentation.

During his speech, he mentioned that he participated in a session on making pizza. He said he knew he would have trouble shaping it.  Jeffrey Hammelman is such an awesome baker that I found that hard to believe, but I guess that goes to show that we all have our comfort zones.

He also mentioned that anyone that claims they are a self-taught baker is missing out on something.  We all need mentors. 

This made me think about all of the mentors I’ve had so far in my bread-baking journey.  I would have to say that Peter Reinhart was my first artisan bread-baking mentor.  I learned so much when I participated in the BBA Challenge and baked through his book “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”.  I’ve also attended sessions with him at the Asheville Bread Festival.

So with motivation from two of my bread-baking mentors – Jeffrey Hammelman and Peter Reinhart – I set out to make pizza Napoletana again and acquire more practice shaping this dough.



I started with the basic formula and adjusted it to accommodate the amount of flour I wanted to use.  I used a mixture of white bread flour and whole grain Spelt flour.

According to Peter Reinhart, you can use up to 10% whole wheat flour in the dough so that’s what I did.  He used high-gluten flour in his formula, but I used all-purpose and whole grain Spelt. He added oil because it makes the high-gluten flour easier to work with.  Since I used all-purpose flour, I omitted the oil.  I did try his method of using cold flour and ice cold water to mix the dough. It worked really well.

The dough was good the last time I made this pizza, but this time it was even better.  The addition of 10% Spelt flour and letting the dough retard in the refrigerator for 12 – 15 hours really improves the flavor.


Pizza Napoletana-Style Dough

Adapted from: Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Makes: Three 285 grams (9.65-oz.) pizza balls or 4 smaller balls

Pizza Napoletana for Pizza Month


  • All-purpose flour 90%
  • Whole grain Spelt flour 10%
  • Salt 1.6%
  • Yeast .002
  • Water 70%

I started with 500 grams of flour and calculated the other ingredients as a percentage of the flour. I increased the hydration and decreased the amount of salt and yeast from the original formula.

  • 450 grams all-purpose flour *
  • 50 grams whole grain Spelt flour *
  • 8 grams salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 350 grams ice cold water *

* It is recommended that you use ice cold water (chilled at 40 degrees F.) and place the flour in the refrigerator for at least one hour before you plan to make the pizza dough.  I tried it this way and liked the results. It definitely improves the dough.

Prepare the Pizza Dough:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, salt and yeast. Using a Danish dough whisk, or a large metal spoon, mix in the cold water until all of the flour is absorbed.

Dip the dough whisk, spoon, or your hand into cold water and work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass.  Rotate the bowl in a circular motion using your other hand.  Then reverse the motion. This will help develop the gluten. Work the dough in this manner for 5 to 7 minutes, or until you create a smooth, sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to a counter sprinkled with flour.



Line a baking sheet with oiled parchment paper.  Divide the dough into 3 (or more) pieces using a metal dough scraper.  If necessary, dip the scraper in cold water in between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it. 

Sprinkle flour over the dough pieces. Flour your hands if necessary.  Lift each piece and gently shape them into balls. Transfer the dough balls to the greased parchment paper.  Spray the balls with oil and cover with plastic wrap or slip into a food-grade plastic bag.

Place the pan of dough balls in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days.



Next day or Bake Day:

On the day you want to make the pizza, remove the dough balls from the refrigerator.  Dust the counter with flour.  Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour.  Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter.

Sprinkle the dough again with flour, cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag and let rest for 2 hours.


Prepare the oven for baking

45 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza, place a baking stone on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (550 degrees, if possible). If you don't have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but don't preheat the pan.

Shaping the Pizzas

If you are good at using a pizza peel (which I’m not yet), generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal.  Or, sprinkle parchment paper with cornmeal.

Make the pizzas one at a time. 

Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift 1 piece of dough by getting under it with a dough scraper.

Carefully lay the dough across your fists and stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands.  Gently give it a little stretch with each turn and bounce.  If the dough sticks to your hands, lay it down and reflour your hands.  Continue this shaping method until the dough has expanded outward.  If the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes to relax the gluten, then try again.

Then you’re supposed to move to a full toss. I haven’t perfected the toss yet so I just spread it out on the parchment paper after stretching it with my fists.  I’m still unable to make a complete fist (due to my recent surgery), but I was able to do the stretching with my fists so I was very pleased about that.  Now I just have to work on my peel skills (that is, getting the dough not to stick to the peel) and learn how to toss the dough.  I think smaller dough balls might be easier to work with so next time I might try that.


Pizza Napoletana Dough for Pizza Month


When you've stretched the dough enough (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter), lay it on the peel, or place it on parchment sprinkled with cornmeal then transfer the whole thing to a peel or the back of a baking sheet. 

Lightly top the pizza with sauce and your favorite toppings.  Remember, less is more so don’t overload it like I’ve been known to do.

Pizza Napoletana for Pizza Month

Slide the pizza (on the parchment paper) onto the preheated baking stone and close the door.  Wait 2 minutes, then take a peak to make sure it is baking evenly.  If necessary, you can rotate the pizza for even baking. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake.

Remove the parchment paper partway through the bake cycle to firm up the crust on the bottom of the pizza.


Pizza Napoletana for Pizza Month

Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Wait about 3 to 5 minutes before you slice and serve this deliciousness.  This allows the cheese to set a little bit.



Happy Pizza Month!


Pumpkin ‘N Spice Spelt Scones for Fall

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After visiting Tuscany and experiencing the beautiful countryside and colorful towns, I realized I needed more color in my life and in my kitchen. So I bought a new tea pot. It’s been too hot for tea (at least for me) so I’ve been waiting for the cooler weather to use it.

Pumpkin 'N Spice Spelt Scones

Fall finally arrived.  Now, I can bask in the vibrant colors outside and in my kitchen, but not in the heat.  I like to bake anytime, but it’s much more enjoyable when the thermostat is not so high.

My other favorite thing about Fall, is pumpkins. I love to decorate with them, carve them and eat them.

So to celebrate Fall and all my favorite things, including my new tea pot, I made Pumpkin ‘N Spice Spelt Scones. These scones, made with whole grain spelt, satisfy my sweet tooth, and go well with tea. You can serve them with butter, jam or jelly and a pot of tea or a glass of milk. My favorite way to eat them is to spread a little bit of apple cinnamon jelly on them.


Pumpkin 'N Spice Spelt Scones


Pumpkin ‘N Spice Drop Spelt Scones

Makes: 18 scones

Adapted from this recipe for scones


  • ~3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups whole grain Spelt flour *
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

* If using all-purpose flour instead of whole grain Spelt, you’ll probably use less flour. Start with 2 1/2 cups and add more flour as needed.


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Beat eggs, sour cream, pumpkin and vanilla in medium bowl with a wire whisk until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in pecans. Mix or knead in the bowl until thoroughly incorporated.

This dough was too wet to prepare as wedges so I made drop scones instead.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls (or the size desired) 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool slightly on wire rack.  Enjoy warm. 

These scones will last for a couple of days wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.  Warm them up in the microwave or oven.


Pumpkin 'N Spice Spelt Scones


Happy Fall Ya’ll!



My Plated Stories Tuscan Experience

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Tuscany, a tapestry adorned in splendor, history and tradition.  The painted landscapes that seem to go on forever, dotted with groves of olive trees and grape vines are woven together like a patchwork quilt.

This was the setting of the two workshops I attended this past May.


I’ve written about my experience baking with Einkorn in Italy; however, there was another reason I went to Tuscany. I also attended a writing and photography workshop called Plated Stories.

The workshop was facilitated by two of my fellow Bread Baking Babes, Jamie Schler, the writer, and Ilva Beretta, the photographer.  I’ve been baking virtually with them for several years, and it was really neat to be able to meet them face-to-face. They are extraordinarily talented ladies, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from both of them in such an awesome environment.


I don’t consider myself a writer or a photographer. My profession is project management, and my passion is bread baking.  I’ve been writing about and photographing breads for a while, but it was always hit or miss whether they would turn out or not.  I might get the lighting right, but the shot or props just looked wrong or the angle looked great, but the image was fuzzy or too dark.

When I learned about this workshop, I jumped at the chance to go on a dream trip and enhance my skills at the same time. 


We arrived at Antica Tenuta Le Casacce on Thursday afternoon and the workshop began on Friday.  


The sessions consisted of writing and photography as well as outings to learn about and capture the essence of Tuscany. We took our cameras and notebooks along with us to record the moments. The writing exercises were very useful and made you think about what you were seeing rather than just snapping photos of everything.

Attending the workshop in Tuscany was an out-of-the-box experience for me.  I’m just now beginning to process everything that I learned and encountered. It was fabulous! Just fabulous!

Tuscany provided a surreal backdrop for every photo and every activity.  Just when you thought you’d seen it all, you would turn the corner or walk down an alley



and the view would take your breath away.



The workshop lasted from Friday – Tuesday and included several outings and a cooking class with the renowned Chef Enrico Casini. Sadly, Enrico is no longer with us, but his memory remains.  I hope to be able to recreate one of his dishes soon from my disheveled notes. It was so fascinating to watch and learn from him.

After the workshop was over, we had several days to chill and soak in the sights.  We spent time writing, take photos, having fun and getting to know the other participants.



Our host and coordinator of the workshop, Linda of Tuscan Muse (in the blue shirt in photo below), took care of us and kept us busy. 



The color is what really struck me about Tuscany.   There were such vibrant colors everywhere and the landscape was full of life.



Amidst the gorgeous landscape, you found people, lovely people.



This trip made me realize that I need more color in my life.



And more simple, beautiful moments.




Although it’s been a few months since I’ve been back, I’m still processing all of the wonderful experiences I had with the new friends I made.


I had an enriching time that will stay with me.  I’m feeling more confident in my writing and taking photos.  I learned how to use lighting and props to set the mood.

I also learned that I write (or I did write) in bullet points. That’s because I’m a project manager and we put bullet points on our PowerPoint presentations.  I had been so rushed and didn’t take the time to completely develop my thoughts. That is changing.  I’m learning to slow down and enjoy things.  I found out that I enjoy writing and photography. Who knew!

This is my latest bread photo.  I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. I still need lots of practice, but I know how to use the tools now.



In our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to give ourselves permission to take the time we need for ourselves much less time to focus on building new or enhancing existing skills.

If you get the opportunity to attend a Plated Stories Workshop, you will definitely be the better for it. The workshop was pretty intense, but the skills and the camaraderie can’t be beat.

Besides being able to hone your writing and photography skills, you’ll also enjoy:

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Great learning experience
  • New friends and ideas
  • Networking
  • Awesome setting and
  • Shopping!

I’m so glad I took the time to do this.  You will be too!


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