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Recipes: Fresh breads and scones for breakfast

Serve a crowd with make-ahead kale and two-cheese scones, Moroccan semolina flatbreads, or poppy seed bread.

Savory Kale and Two-Cheese SconesConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

To serve a crowd for breakfast, a make-ahead baked treat beats acting like a short order cook any time. And that doesn’t have to mean sugar-laden pastries. For our take on English scones, we skew savory by lacing them with kale, cheddar, and pecorino Romano, plus currants for contrasting pops of sweet-tart flavor. From Morocco, harcha are semolina flatbreads baked in a skillet, which pair well with either sweet or savory accompaniments. And from Eastern

Europe, a swirled poppy seed loaf gets mild sweetness from a quick powdered sugar glaze.

Savory Kale and Two-Cheese Scones

Makes 12 large scones

This recipe is our adaptation of the hearty kale and cheese scones created by Briana Holt, of Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine. Either lacinato (also called dinosaur or Tuscan kale) or curly kale will work; you will need an average-sized bunch to obtain the amount of chopped, stemmed leaves for the recipe.


The buttermilk and butter should stay chilled before use; keeping them cold helps ensure that the dough will remain workable and won’t become unmanageably soft during shaping.

And, when rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, work quickly so the oven doesn’t lose too much heat.

½ cup (80 grams) dried currants

4 cups (87 grams) stemmed and finely chopped lacinato or curly kale (see headnote)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3½ cups (455 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

¼ cup (50 grams) white sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1¼ teaspoons table salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled

4 ounces (1 cup) sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes

½ ounce (¼ cup) finely grated pecorino Romano cheese

1½ cups cold buttermilk

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds


Heat the oven to 375 degrees with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together the currants and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave uncovered on high until warm and plump, about 30 seconds; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss the kale and lemon juice; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper.

To a food processor, add about half of the flour mixture and scatter all of the butter over the top. Pulse until the butter is in pieces slightly larger than peas, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer to the bowl with the remaining flour mixture. Add the currants and any remaining liquid, and the cheddar, pecorino, and kale. Toss with your hands until well combined. Add about ‚ of the buttermilk and toss just a few times with your hands, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the bowl, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining buttermilk in 2 more additions, tossing after each. After the final addition of buttermilk, toss until no dry, floury bits remain. The mixture will be quite crumbly and will not form a cohesive dough.

Lightly dust the counter with flour, turn the mixture out onto it, then give it a final toss. Divide it into 2 even piles, gathering each into a mound, then briefly knead each mound; it’s fine if the mixture is still somewhat crumbly. Gather each mound into a ball, then press firmly into a cohesive 5-inch disk about 1½-inches thick. Using a chef’s knife, cut each disk into 6 wedges. Place 6 wedges on each prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Brush the tops with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, pressing lightly to adhere.


Bake until the scones are deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer directly to a rack and cool for at least another 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Moroccan Semolina Flatbreads (Harcha)Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Moroccan Semolina Flatbreads (Harcha)

Makes 8 small flatbreads

They can skew either sweet (paired with jam or honey butter) or savory (paired with a beef stew). However they are served, harcha are best eaten warm, straight from the skillet, though they can be made a day in advance and reheated on a baking sheet in a warm oven. To create more surface area for buttering, split the rounds into two.

The soaked semolina should not stand for longer than 10 minutes, otherwise the mixture will not be hot enough to melt the butter.

1½ cups ( 256 grams) semolina flour, divided

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons white sugar

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled

¼ cup whole-milk, plain yogurt

In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup (43 grams) of the semolina with the baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1¼ cups (213 grams) semolina, the sugar, and the salt. Add ¾ cup boiling water and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray.


To the moistened semolina, add the butter and mix with the fork until smooth. Add the yogurt and stir until combined, then stir in the baking powder-semolina mixture. Gather the dough into a smooth mass in the bowl.

Pinch off about 1 tablespoon of the dough and set aside to test the skillet’s heat before cooking. Divide the remaining dough into 8 portions and space them evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Using your hand, gently flatten each into a round about 3½ inches in diameter and ¼-inch thick. Refrigerate uncovered to slightly firm, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. To test if the pan is sufficiently hot, add the reserved bit of dough; it should turn golden brown in about 1 minute. Remove and discard the test piece. Using your hands, transfer 4 dough rounds to the pan and cook until golden brown and slightly puffed, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the second sides, about another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining 4 rounds.

Poppy Seed BreadConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Poppy Seed Bread

Makes one 1¾-pound loaf


The bread can be baked a day in advance. If that’s your plan, hold off on making and applying the glaze. Wrap the cooled, unglazed loaf tightly in plastic and store at room temperature. About 30 minutes before serving, make the glaze and drizzle it on.

Be sure to use room-temperature butter for this recipe; if it’s cold and firm, it won’t incorporate properly into the dough.

To process the seeds, don’t use a food processor, as they won’t break down; an electric coffee grinder dedicated to spice grinding is the best tool for the task.

A sharp paring or carving knife should be used to slash the loaf before baking. Avoid using a serrated knife, as the blade will tug at the dough and make ragged cuts.

1¼ cups whole milk

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 4 teaspoons lemon juice

1 large egg

1½ teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into 6 pieces, room temperature

1 cup poppy seeds

1/3 cup white sugar

2/3 cup powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, honey, and lemon zest. Warm over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the honey dissolves and the mixture is just warm to the touch, about 2 minutes; do not simmer. Off heat, measure ¾ cup of the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer; leave the remainder in the saucepan and set aside. Mist a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside.

To the mixer bowl, whisk in the egg, yeast, and vanilla. Add the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix with the dough hook on low until an evenly moistened dough forms, about 2 minutes; the dough should be sticky to the touch but should not cling to the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels too wet, knead in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase to medium and add the butter 1 piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each; if the butter clings to the bowl, scrape down the sides. After all the butter has been added, continue mixing until the dough is smooth and silky, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough doubles in size, 1½ to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, using an electric spice grinder, process the poppy seeds in 3 batches, grinding until fine and powdery, about 15 seconds; add each batch to the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Add the white sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, then set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, until simmering and thick enough that the spatula leaves a clear trail when drawn through the center, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature; the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.

When the dough has doubled in size, heat the oven to 325 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

On a counter dusted generously with flour, use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a 12-inch square about 3/8-inch thick. Spread the poppy seed filling in an even layer on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border along all edges. Starting with the side closest to you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder; pinch the seam to seal. Transfer seam side down to the prepared baking sheet. Pinch the open ends to seal, then tuck the pinched seams under. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free spot until almost doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Using a sharp paring knife, and starting in the center of the loaf, make a shallow diagonal cut, about 4 inches long; cut through the outermost layer of dough to reveal the filling just underneath. Make 2 more evenly spaced cuts on each side of the center one, for a total of 5 cuts. Bake until the bread is deep golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes; if you have an instant thermometer, the center of the loaf should reach 200 degrees. Let cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze onto the loaf. Let dry for about 30 minutes.

Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.