I gave my mother my treasured 5-quart Lodge deep skillet and lid when I found a lovely antique to restore. I've been using it while visiting with them.
It was no easy thing when I gave my Mom my Lodge chicken pan. I had been using it for ages as my primary skillet and perfected fried chicken in it, as many of my colleagues here at Boing Boing will attest.
I have been instructed that his style skillet be called a chicken ROASTING pan and the lid's stalactite-like points are what makes it a 'self-basting' lid. Evidently 1 roaster size chicken (3-5lbs iirc) will fit in it, and with the lid on the bird will roast up nice and juicy.
I have never done this. I bought it to fry chicken. I learned it was awesome for frying eggs, bacon, pancake and sauteeing things. It became the most used item in my kitchen. Then I started baking in it like a Dutch Oven.
The Lodge ended its daily use, however, when I found a larger Wagner pan at the Goodwill and restored it. I started baking in my dutch oven. It is a bit easier to maneuver. When cast iron sits and isn't used, it needs to be used and this pan was truly special. I tried alternating between it and my Wagner, but the extra space and smoother finish of the Wagner kept it on my stove. It was a little easier to fry bacon and sear steaks and fish in the #9 vs the #8 pan. Read the rest
I bought a bread lame.
A friend of mine is doing all sorts of fancy scoring to his bread. Mine just tastes good.
I will try to make some fancy cuts in some bread soon, it will probably taste the same. This lame is as cheap as I could find, as I do not think they make much difference. I have seen some fancy stuff tho. I think I have had and lost other lames, so I am going cheap.
Sourdough baking is only hard if you want it to be. I took my starter on the road and made a lovely loaf of rye bread with my first try.
I am heading out on an early summer of adventure with the dogs, in our VW Westy. As we were leaving the house, I grabbed the sourdough starter and put it in the bus' fridge. We're stopping at my brother's for a bit and I decided to bake some bread.
A small container formerly used to house take-out Chinese or Indian serves as the perfect size for my counter-top starter.
I started with 1 cup of h20, 1 cup of bread flour and 1 heaping tablespoon of starter. I add 1/2 cup of each four hours later and then feed as I deem necessary. Usually once a day, discarding 1/2 cup and adding 1/4 cup h2o and the same of flour.
Bob's Redmill Dark Rye was on sale. I combined 2 1/2 cups of bread flour with 1 cup of Rye and a heaping tsp of salt. In a measuring cup I combined 1/4 cup of the starter with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Then I mixed them together to make this sticky doughball.
I gave the dough about 18 hours in its first rise. It more than doubled and was super sticky. That is a wonderful sign!
I then spread out the dough and folded it into a loaf. I let that loaf rest for 10-15 minutes while I improvised a banneton. Read the rest
I was sent some small-batch, whole grain, locally sourced flour. I baked some bread.
One of my oldest friends recently went BreadCore on me. He is baking beautiful loaves, paying attention to hydration and scoring some cool designs with a fancy schmancy lame. To thank me for being his on-call baking consultant, he sent me 7.5 lbs of two different small-batch flours that he loves.
I am a no-stress it'll all work out in the bake, baker. I am over a decade into delicious bread, pizza, pretzels, waffles, and bagels and I don't like to stress over baking. Baking is a relaxing and fun food preparation method. I guess this is the opposite of everything a highly technical Breadcore baker wants to hear. I do not weigh my ingredients. So, my first thought about specialty flour was "Fuck, this'll complicate things!"
I was wrong.
I opened the bag of Hard Red Spring Wheat. I baked my first loaf at 70% Trader Joes AP flour and 30% HRS. I did reserve some flour from the initial mix, as I was afraid the HRS would drink more water than market flour. I ended up adding it all in and developed a very sticky ball of dough that rose very well. It baked up beautifully.
On this bake, I lowered my oven temperature 5 degrees. In my mind, I was holding back one Kadam for the imaginary Hebrew god to whom my parents dedicated the 12th year of my life. In reality, I'd noticed that my friend who baked at the same temps I did got a much less explosively crumbastic crust on his loaves. Read the rest
Sourdough is not the complicated, finicky bread baking technique some folks might like you to believe. Sourdough baking takes very little effort and is mostly an art of patience.
Here is the dough after its first rise, and before I spread it out for folding.
Here is the loaf in its proofing basket. It was VERY wet and took a lot of the flour out of the basket.
Here is the finished second loaf, baked from a starter that had been left on my kitchen counter, unfed, for over a week. Previous to ignoring the starter on my counter, I had left it in my fridge for well over 6 months.
Everyone I know is on a sourdough kick. My sister was talking some stuff she learned in a class, so I took these photos to show her what "waking up the starter" means to me.
When I took my starter out of the fridge and looked in the crock I saw a deep pool of hooch. It has been since Thanksgiving that I used it, and I may have put this batch in the fridge back in June or July 2018.
I take a heaping spoonful of the starter and...
...gently mix it with 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Then I set it aside for 4 hours.
I feed the starter every 4 hrs when I am awake, until it is awake. When I sleep the yeast can sleep. Once I have 2 cups of starter in my bowl, I discard 1/2 and add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour again, maintaining the volume at around 2 cups. When the starter looks like this, it is ready to use.
I used the starter, baking a loaf of bread in my Dutch Oven.
Bread with butter, jam and cheese was yesterday's meal. Read the rest
Carbo pareidolia. Read the rest
How many plastic bread bag clips does Yakima, Washington's Kwik Lok sell annually? "It’s in the billions," says the company's sales coordinator Leigh Anne Whathen. According to Kwik Lok, company founder Floyd Paxton dreamt up the idea in 1954. I wonder if he imagined their other popular use as a makeshift guitar pick. From Atlas Obscura:
As the story goes, while he was on the plane, Paxton was eating a package of complimentary nuts, and he realized he didn’t have a way to close them if he wanted to save some for later. As a solution, he took out a pen knife and hand-carved the first bread clip out of a credit card (in some tellings, it was an expired credit card)...
According to Whathen, Kwik Lok secured a patent on their little innovation in the early days of the company, and to this day, Kwik Lok remains one of the only manufacturers of bread clips in the world. Whathen says that the only other firm she’s aware of is a European competitor called Schutte. Kwik Lok also has the distinction of still being owned by Paxton’s descendants. Floyd’s son, Jerre, ran the company until his death in 2015, and today it is owned by two of Jerre’s daughters. “We’re still going strong,” says Whathen.
"Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single Company" (Atlas Obscura)
If you have breakfast while traveling in Ireland you are bound to come across brown soda bread. Soda bread is super easy to make and a fantastic comfort food. Read the rest