The blog’s been quiet for a couple of weeks. Sorry about that! I spent one weekend judging robots at FIRST robotics, then the next one, mostly recovering from a cold that knocked me out for a couple of days. On Sunday, I managed to make this month’s recipe for the Bread Bible baking group, and did a little flour mill maintenance at the same time! I’ll catch up with the Baking Bible group at some point – I’ve now missed birch meringue twigs and ChocolaTea cake. I’m sure I can find some excuse to make those.
Today’s theme is: things that are other things. A couple of weeks ago, I made pretzel breads, from the Bread Bible, as this month’s selection from the bread baking group I’m participating in. This weekend, Jay requested a repeat of the pretzels, so they must have been good. I also made mini gateaux breton cookies this weekend. Yup, that’s mini cake cookies. Pretzel breads and cake cookies.
Now that the whole loaf’s been eaten, it’s a good time to blog about it, no? In addition to the weekly “Baking Bible” bake-through, I’m also participating in a once-a-month Bread Bible bake-through as well. This month, it’s the sweet potato loaf, which is a lot better than it sounds, even if you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes. This bread is basically the same as Rose’s white sandwich bread, which is something I make 2 loaves of, every couple of weeks, so this was a pretty familiar process for me.
Most of my posts on this blog lately are for things from The Baking Bible bake-through, but once a month, I’m also baking from The Bread Bible. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably continue to say it every time I post about yeast-based breads: I love baking bread. It’s so forgiving. Even though I have no serious trouble with complicated multi-step recipes where you have to be involved for every single step of the recipe, and if you look away at the wrong second, it’s ruined (think caramel), I love that with bread, you do some stuff, then you let it sit for a while, then you do more stuff, then you let it sit again, etc. That means you have to plan ahead a little bit, but it means you can fit lots of other stuff into a baking day. Rose says she’s developed a better recipe for Challah, which is available here, but I just used the one from the bread bible.
This month, in adventures in bread, it’s the turn of Southwestern “corn spoon bread”. Or “southwestern corn” spoon bread? Or maybe southwestern “corn spoon” bread. Wherever you put the pause, I say it’s yummy. To be honest, this is yet another one of those recipes I wouldn’t make unless I was doing one of these bake-throughs. Mostly because I hate prepping vegetables. And fruit. But I’m much more willing to put up with it with fruit, for the sake of desserts. With this one, I started getting stuff out to make it, and discovered that, of all the things that were needed for this, I’d neglected to put onions on the grocery list, because I just assumed that we kept them in stock. Jay agreed to prep the vegetable matter and grate the cheese, if I ran out and bought a bag of onions. Works for me! I roasted and peeled the red pepper before heading out, and came home to many little bowls filled with carefully measured out and chopped ingredients. He even found some not-quite-frozen-yet cilantro in my herb bed.
I’m really having a hard time figuring out what to say about this one. I make Rose’s white sandwich bread so often that I’ve pretty much got the quantities memorized, and this one is basically the same technique. A little less butter here, add some banana, and probably change some of the other ratios (like you might not need as much honey with banana for the yeast to feed on)… but it’s basically the same bread. This is another of those cases where I probably wouldn’t have tried it if not for the bake through, but I don’t know that I’ll go out of my way to bake it again, unless I want something interesting to use as the basis for french toast for a really special breakfast. I just can’t figure out what else to use this for. Other than snacks. And it’s definitely good for snacks. But it’s got a sweetness to it that (I think) makes it less appropriate for things like grilled cheese, tuna melts, or garlic bread, which is really what bread’s used for, around here.
What was it I was supposed to be blogging about again? Was it one of the two pecan pies I made yesterday (one of which is for a friend’s son’s birthday, and the other because Jay wanted it)?
The grape pie I made on Sunday?
No, wait, it was the apple pie that I made on Saturday, and the “basic hearth bread” that I started on Friday and finished on Saturday.
Sometimes, I just can’t get myself excited to blog about something I’ve baked. I think that’s likely going to be the struggle with The Bread Bible bake along. Bread’s generally pretty easy, in my opinion, and none of the steps are all that exciting. It’s typically a long, slow process, with not a lot of visual interest. The one interesting thing I have to say about this bread: Rose says she makes it all the time, but because her husband doesn’t like beer, she makes it with water instead! She called it “beer-less beer bread.”
If you’ve followed my blog at all, you might know that I was one of the original members of the bake-along of Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, and I’m actively working my way through The Baking Bible and The Bread Bible, with two semi-overlapping groups of baker-bloggers from around the world. All of these baking books were written by Rose Levy Beranbaum, whose first cookbook, The Cake Bible, is currently in its 52nd printing! A couple of weeks ago, Rose posted on her blog that she was going to be in Toronto this week, to watch her granddaughter, Haley, compete in the Parapan Am games. Haley is doing great at the games, so far. She’s already won bronze and silver medals! Rose was kind enough to take time out of her family trip to meet with fans and sign books at Golda’s Kitchen, in Mississauga, on Sunday afternoon. Since I live about an hour away, I convinced Jay we needed to make the trip.
I’m a little behind in blogging about the latest round in the Bread Bible bake-through, but it looks like I’m not the only one. 🙂 We all came to an agreement in the Facebook group that this would be a no-pressure baking & blogging project, and that people could join or not join for any given month, with no strings attached. I like it. We’re supposed to post on the first Wednesday of the month, and it is now the last one, so, I like to think I’m just embracing the no-pressure thing! The most recent recipe on the schedule was the prosciutto ring. This is another one of those recipes that I would never try making if it weren’t for a bake-through project like this, so I’m glad I signed up for this group.