Today we begin the great sourdough starter experiment. The goal of this experiment is to catch some wild yeast and try to keep them happy so that they will multiply. By harnessing the power of wild yeast in a sourdough starter, we’ll eventually be able to bake bread without using any commercial yeast at all. That’s what traditional sourdough is – a bread leavened by wild yeast. The process can be very technical and scientific, but I’m not going to delve into all those boring details right now. Instead, we’re just going to jump in and get started and I’ll explain things as we go. Continue reading →
Entries Tagged 'Adventures in Baking'
I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Oregon. Three of those days were spent in Portland with a fun and inspiring group of food writers and photographers, the rest were spent between Eugene and Florence, where I spent some time with my ex-husband’s family who I’m grateful have decided to keep me in their lives. It was my first trip to Oregon since my husband and I separated in the spring of last year and though I was a nervous, emotional wreck in anticipation of it, the entire trip turned out to be a cathartic and healing experience. Continue reading →
I first made and fell in love with this corn bread two summers ago when I was diligently working my way through Peter Reinhart’s book for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. It was a fantastic bread – rich and sweet and moist with sweet corn bursts and bits of salty bacon. The texture was unlike any corn bread I had ever experienced, thanks to Mr. Reinhart’s method of soaking coarse ground cornmeal in buttermilk overnight before making the bread. Yes, it takes a bit of planning, but it’s worth it. Continue reading →
I’ve always been known for my mini cheesecakes, but it’s been a while since I’ve created a new flavor. I’ve been staying away from sweets for a few months now and when I do start adding the occasional dessert back into my life, I plan on avoiding refined sugars as much as possible. With these cheesecakes, I tried using less-processed, more natural sweeteners like honey and sucanat. I honestly wasn’t sure how they would turn out. Continue reading →
Thanks to the National Pork Board, I have ham leftovers before Easter this year! I was given a free ham for myself and the opportunity to give away a ham to one of you – just in time for Easter.
While there are a million ways to use leftover ham, I think one of the best is to bake it up in a simple crustless quiche. I decided to brighten up my usual ham and cheese quiche with some tender green asparagus. I know that ham and asparagus are a classic combination, but this was my first time making a ham and asparagus quiche for myself. Continue reading →
Rich and savory, these cheese scones are quite a departure from the sweeter scones we know and love. But these savory cheddar scones made with buttermilk and brushed with smoked paprika butter are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming bowl of soup or crisp salad.
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I’m sad to report that I have now had my very first failure in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. I’ve made mistakes and had a few problems with some of the earlier breads, but they all managed to pull through and turn out pretty great.
Then I met Panettone.
Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread that originates from Milan and is popular throughout the world. I’ve always loved it. My first experience with panettone was when I worked for Lenscrafters in college. Lenscrafters is owned by an Italian company and our Christmas bonuses came in the form of this sweet, rich, and fruity bread. Not everyone liked it, so there were always extra boxes of panettone sitting around the Lenscrafters break room in December. But I loved it. I would toast big hunks of it (under the broiler because it was too big to fit in my toaster) and eat it dripping with butter. It makes great french toast, too! I also ate my share of panettone while living in Sicily. It’s sold everywhere in Italy – little shops, big grocery stores, from the back of trucks on the side of the road. Continue reading →
Like most places around the country, autumn in California’s San Joaquin Valley is a beautiful time of year. While we might not have as many vibrant colored leaves as other places, we do have fruit trees. Pomegranates, persimmons, lemons – these are our fall colors. Take a drive through the country or just about any older neighborhood and you’re bound to run across some of these beautiful trees with their red, orange, and yellow fruit. Persimmon trees are my fall favorite. The trees drop their leaves as the fruit ripens, leaving nothing but the spectacular glowing orange orbs – it’s quite a beautiful sight. Continue reading →