For Real, Dough

It's like discovering you can tie your own shoe for the first time.

...being able to pour your own drink at the dinner table...
...being able to recite your address and phone number without hesitation...
...driving without a licensed adult...

I love making my own bread at home.
I'd never liked making bread before because I hate babysitting yeast. You put it all together and let it sit. Play with it, let it sit. Play with it some more, repeat, repeat, repeat. And I don't believe in bread machines. The tooth fairy, Easter bunny and unicorns, yes. Bread machines, no.

My #1 go-to culinary book is Culinary Artistry by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg but my #1 favorite book of all-time (for the next 12 years, at least, I'm sure) is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

I never could have imagined the joy and fulfillment I feel for this book and its contents. I feel as if I've just had a baby or a new puppy brought to me to love, care for and groom.

My heart palpitates, eyes dilate, and palms sweat when I think about this book. I think I'm in love.

I know I've talked about the affairs I've been having lately: biscuits, cornbread and gravy (white bread's cousin by marriage) but nothing, and I mean NOTHING can compare to the beauty that blooms in my kitchen every day with Jeff and Zoe by my side (or at least propped up on the counter between the microwave and spice rack).

Look at this bread. Really look at this bread. Isn't it beautiful?
El pan, bitches!

I made a bunch of rolls to refrigerate and freeze so that I can thaw or bake as I need them. My apartment is small, it gets hot if you yawn too long; so I try to avoid cutting on the oven as much as possible. I sprinkled each bun with some pretty pink Hawaiian sea salt.

Yield: 8
Author: Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks


I made a bunch of rolls to refrigerate and freeze so that I can thaw or bake as I need them. My apartment is small, it gets hot if you yawn too long; so I try to avoid cutting on the oven as much as possible. I sprinkled each bun with some pretty pink Hawaiian sea salt.


  • 1/2 cup warm water (no warmer than 110 F)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 rounded tsp yeast
  • 1 rounded tsp salt
  • 1 rounded tsp Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 well beaten egg (optional)
  • course sea salt (optional)


  1. In a plastic or Tupperware container with a lid (that you won't close completely) mix or stir together water, yogurt or buttermilk, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the flour all at one time. Stir everything together (using a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hand) making sure there are no dry spots. Put the lid on the container and let it rise for 2 hours, the dough should rise and then to fall again.
  2. You can form the dough into buns after this time period or put it covered (with the lid slightly open) into the fridge to use over the next 7 days or so. (When ready to make the buns pull off 3 to 4 oz pieces of dough. Stretch the dough in your hands a little, turning it under itself to form a ball. Place the ball with the smooth side up on a baking pan let rise for 30 minutes. Before baking, brush each bun with the beaten egg and sprinkle the tops with coarse seal salt. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 350 F. Let cool before slicing.



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Please consult a healthcare professional or dietician about nutritional needs for your diet. I am a communications professional, not a physician.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

I went to the island of Kauai nearly two years ago. They don't let you bring anything on the plane to the mainland. The only things I could keep were this salt and a bruised up pineapple.

Aloha to you, too, dear reader. Aloha to you too. :)

Hawaiian sea salt, also called alaea [pronounced: ah-lie-ah] takes its name from the islands' red volcanic clay. On the island of Kauai, the sediment of iron oxide-rich red volcanic clay, called alaea, seeped into the ocean from the rivers. When the red ocean water became trapped in puddles and pools, evaporation created alaea sea salt. The clay imparts a subtle flavor that is more mellow than regular salt. A traditional seasoning in Hawaiian dishes, it can be used on pork (think pulled pig and luaus), fish and marbled cuts of beef. It's also very pretty on vegetables. And bread.
Don't ever forget the bread.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. "My apartment gets hot if you yawn too long". That's priceless.

    First, thank you for coming by and saying hi to a brother. Second, oh my gawd. How the heck you going to make bread senual, funny and artsy, all in one take. I like you blog, it made me smile. Although I didn't appreciate you making me hungry at three in the morning......

  2. You know, I bought that book several months ago and I have yet to make bread.

    I like what you did there! El Pan, bitches!!!!

  3. Honestly, working with yeast and making bread intimidates me. I know, I need to get over it because its not that hard. I'm slowly getting there... lol. Your buns are on my list to try once I get over this yeast issue!

  4. Ok... I have a secret. I am, for lack of a better word... Bread handicapped. I am terrible at it. For some reason, it never rises enough. The yeast is always new and everything, so I dunno.

    But, my dear Nik... I think I will try this over the weekend. It's supposed to cool down weather wise, so I will give it a shot :)

    They are just too good and easy to pass up. And the sea salt has a beautiful color.

    Question though... do you add the flour with everything else? I didn't see it in the directions

  5. I love bread too! I haven't baked any in a while and the weather has cooled down a bit. It might be a good night to make some if I have time later.

    Your bread looks great. I've heard about that book, but haven't used any of the recipes. I don't understand how it's bread in five minutes though...

  6. I like your humour Nikki "if you yawn it gets hot (lol) so when you sneeze do you need an umbrella? Lovely picture of those little breads.

  7. Heh, do biscuits, cornbread and gravy really need a kick? I'm always on that kick.

    I've been interested in picking up some of this salt, since buying fancy salt satisfies my need to spoil myself without having some expensive ingredient lying around going bad on me.

  8. I'm still working on the basic white bread master recipe from the book.
    I'm really impressed you've already moved on to buns. That's my next one; I've got some goatburger in the freezer, and when they're cooked into little sliders I'm going to shake some *truffle salt* on them!

  9. Wowza, that is some high honor!!! Thank you so much. I'm incredibly thrilled you are using the book and loving the bread you make!

    You made my day. Zoë

  10. one man: I'm for real, it really does. I keep my puppy in the bathroom so she'll stay cool all day.

    Thanks for coming by my blog, too. I try my best to come correct with my food. Whether it be funny, sad, or out-right delicious.

    Don: You really need to break out this book. Bread, Indian naan, pita breads, buns, brioche, bagels...all at your fingertips. Generally, I don't like following recipes and I made my own stuff up, but this is the NEW Bread Bible.

    joelen: Yeah, yeast *is* scary. But with these recipes, I feel as if it's an additive like cinnamon or pepper. It doesn't act all crazy and ridiculous while rising or baking. It can be hot, cold, wet, or dry in your kitchen. The results tend to be the same.

    Adam: It's ok, dear. We'll talk you through this deficiency. :) I am not longer afraid of yeast because of this book.

    Thanks for telling me about the flour! Oops! I went back and added it in.

    Anali: THe bread is in five minutes because after you make the master dough, or the big batch of dough and put it in the fridge, you don't have to knead it. You can just roll it into a ball, flatten it or what have you. THAT takes five minutes. Baking it of course, is going to take 30 or more.

    Ivy: LOL Thank you! No, when we sneeze we need to put on jackets. It gets mighty drafty.

    Heather: Dude! Get yourself some salt! And since you like to pickle, it might give some of your stuff some flair...truffle, smoked, grey...oh yes, I can see it now...

    CC: I am working my way steadily through the book. There are some breads I won't do like the sfogil...(however you spell it) and the nut-based breads. Brioche is next. I just wish butter wasn't $4.99/lb.

    I am in love with truffle salt. had to hide it from myself so I wouldn't use it all up. Every recipe in March, April, and May I think I used it. It was my secret ingredient. Now that I'm thinking about it, I need to figure out where I stashed it...

  11. Great post Nikki. You are so funny. I love to read what you write. I too am scared of yeast, but I'v already made one atempt and will try again. You make it sound so easy.

  12. OKay, I cheat a bit, but I love making homemade bread too. I just use a bread machine. From day one, I got hopelessly addicted. It's not REAL bread making, but my end results have been SO good. I am moving on to doughs, though.

    You're throwing dow a culinary punk card at my feet with this post and I feel the need to sull up my manhood and pick it up. I will be trying some honest stuff soon. I feel like such a cheater.

  13. Zoe: you have changed my life for the better. If only a leg of your tour was a little bit closer to me. I'd come, have you sign my copy, take a picture with you, shake your hand (and Jeff's, too). I'm happy to have made your day! You've made mine, too!

    Teresa: I hate hard work and I try to avoid it at all costs. Case in point, that pasta from last week, I got myself into it and I couldn't get out. I really don't ever want to work that hard again. It almost wasn't fun.

    Now, baking bread that I only have to pull off what I want, when I want? I can't do the happy dance fast enough.

    Managerial person: You CHEATER! How dare thee!? Thou art forgiven.

    This time.

    I didn't know I held the culinary punk card. That's hot. Well, my bread is hot...but that's a different story. :) When you move on to the real dough, let me know. I want to see this phenomena.

  14. I can't imagine not having that book! The breads are so yummy & so much better than store bought! Isn't it fun to see what you can do to the recipes too. Right now we are eating Buttermilk Buns with Wheat Bran in them.

  15. Kat: For. Real. Something with flaxseed is my next adventure.

  16. Nikki, For real! You're enjoying making bread!!! :D Welcome to the circle, girl. My oven is turned off until late September or so, but I still manage to bake a loaf or two on the outdoor grill every so often.

    Y'know, once you've started on this... ;)


  17. I have a canister of pink Hawaian Sea Salt. Excellent ide to put on the buns.


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