For the first time ever, I made one of my mom’s recipes less healthy rather than more. This is even a recipe I previously adapted to be healthier. And I’ll probably go back to my healthier version (and share it with you) next time. But that doesn’t make this experiment less of a success.
To understand this recipe, you have to know one thing about me: I eat cheddar cheese on top of my banana bread. Yes, I know I’m weird. Chris has told me so several times. My mom has conveniently forgotten that this is the way we ate it the entire time I was growing up. I know this because one of the times that Chris told me I was weird, I tried to get her to back me up about it being the way we always did it, and she denied it. That was how we ate our Swedish raisin rye bread, but our banana bread? No cheese ever touched it, if you ask her now.
Whatever. I know the truth. And even if the meeting of toasted banana bread and melted cheddar is a figment of my imagination, I’m glad to have it in my cheese-addled mind. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a package of King Arthur Irish Style Wholemeal Flour that had found its way to the back of one of our baking cupboards. It was a little past its expiration date, but I hate to throw stuff out that is still mostly usable, so I decided to follow the Irish Brown Bread recipe on the bag (since I had originally purchased it to bake and share with an Irish friend of mine, who baked and ate his half of the flour order long before that expiration date). Continue reading
I figured that I would finally come out of my hive and talk about the sourdough bread I spent a week working on while I was snowed in before Christmas. As you may have inferred from other posts here, I’m basically cooking my way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which I think has to be about the best book around if you want to learn how to bake professional quality artisan bread at home. I apologize if my photos aren’t as good as Tiger’s usual ones — these were taken before we started using better lighting.
Because I’m cooking from a book, I don’t think I can reproduce the recipe in this blog without a copyright violation, so you’ll have to bear with me until I can come up with a few of my own recipes before you’ll see many ingredient lists. With that said, I love this cook book, and think it’s a necessity for any home baker’s bookshelf.
The Barm (also known as a starter)
One of the best starters that Tiger remembers from pastry school is started with organic grapes (which are covered in wild yeast). When we couldn’t find the particular recipe, we turned to the internet and found a good set of instructions. I got myself a pound of grapes from Whole Foods (they have to be organic and unwashed/treated — the non-organic ones don’t have enough wild yeast still living on them). Continue reading