Everything But The Dutch Oven

The mission: find as many different recipes as possible that all call for basic baking ingredients: flour, yeast, baking powder. Baking Basics is a fun cooking challenge I’ve been on since moving to Russia and today’s installment features two favorites of gluten lovers everywhere: artisan bread and homemade biscuits.

Luke and I have been making our own bread since we got married 2.5 years ago. However, we usually employed a bread machine so we could come home to the delicious wafts of freshly cooked bread meeting us at the door.  Without our plethora of appliances, I went back to making bread the old-fashioned way–in the oven.  Here’s how to make artisan dutch oven bread without a dutch oven:



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon active yeast
  • 1¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary


  1. Combine flour, yeast, salt, water in a bowl. Stir until combined. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let dough sit on the counter overnight, or for at least 12 hours.
  2. When ready to make the bread, place an enamel oven-proof stock pot in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius while the oven preheats, around 30 minutes. While  the pot is heating up, transfer dough to a floured surface, it will be bubbly and sticky. Add a little flour and gently fold and tuck it into a round ball (it will still be a pretty loose dough). Using oven mitts, carefully take the hot pot out of the oven, add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot (olive, sunflower, vegetable whatever) and drop the ball of dough into the hot pot. Cover with the lid and place back into the oven to bake for 25 minutes..
  3. After 25 minutes, rotate the pot, remove lid and let it bake another 15 minutes or until brown.


Recipe adapted from http://www.nutritiouseats.com/rosemary-dutch-oven-bread/


Wonderfully fluffy and flavorful bread that is perfect with lentil soups.

Another recipe recommended by a friend was the classic biscuit.  The only glitch with this recipe was it calls for buttermilk which very well might be available for purchase at my local grocery store, but I have no idea what buttermilk is in Russian.  Instead, I used my trusty trick: add 1 TBS white vinegar per cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Voila!  Buttermilk biscuits without the buttermilk.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk + 1 TBS white vinegar


  1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Add 1 TBS white vinegar to 1 cup milk, let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients. With two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter in  until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  4. Add the liquid all at once, mixing quickly and gently for about 20 seconds until you have a soft dough.
  5. Drop the dough by the spoonful onto a lightly floured baking sheet.
  6. Bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm.


Recipe adapted from https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/baking-powder-biscuits-recipe


Fluffy, not too sweet, biscuits that warm up a Russian winter, especially when served hot with butter and honey.

Homemade Face Wash | The Recipe

As promised, I’ve copied down my recipe(s) for what I use as a face wash/astringent. When I still used a store-bought wash, I’d use this at night after washing my face before bed.  As I stopped using the store-bought variety, I would use this 1x a day to keep bacteria away and inflammation down.  Nowadays, I just use it when I feel a blemish coming on or after an extra hard work out.

The great thing about using apple cider vinegar and witch hazel (plus water) as your face wash is that you can always adjust the ratios to find what works for you.  Here’s the 3 varieties I use:

Everyday Use


1 part apple cider vinegar + 1 part witch hazel + 1 part water

Delicate Skin


1 part apple cider vinegar + 1 part witch hazel + 2 parts water

Removes Extra Redness


1 part apple cider vinegar + 2 parts witch hazel + 1 part water

These are the 3 recipes I most commonly use, but half the fun in home remedies is experimenting!  Since everyone has different skin, you’ll probably need to adjust the ratios to meet your skin’s needs.

Warning: If you make a batch and use it over the course of a few weeks, be sure to keep adding water.  The water evaporates over time, leaving a higher concentration of apple cider vinegar and witch hazel which can turn your face red.  If you apply this via a cotton ball, you’ll have nice rosy streaks all over your face for an hour.  Don’t freak out. It does go away and there’s no lasting damage.  You should also mix the solution regularly to avoid separations and a higher concentration of one ingredient over the others.

Happy mixing!

P.S. Apple cider vinegar is sold everywhere (Costco has great prices on the bulk organic stuff) and you can find Witch Hazel at any drugstore.  It’s cheapest at Walmart or Target.