Let the celebration begin! Spring Focaccia (BBB May 2016)

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BBB February 2016 summary: recipe for Spring Focaccia, based on a recipe in “Flour Water Salt Yeast” by Ken Forkish; altering recipes; adding malted rye and buckwheat; how many garden herbs are available when spring is late; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) May 2016: Spring Focaccia

focaccia crumb I have only 1500km to go before the upside-down number on my odometer spells BLISS!

Spring is quite late this year. We had only one blossom on our forsythia. The chives and garlic have come up but there is no sign yet of thyme, sage, or summer savoury.

We bicycled to High Park a couple of mornings ago to look at the cherry trees not blossoming and then saw news that they probably won’t really blossom this year at all. Some of the apples and ornamental plums were just starting to blossom. The only tree that was in full magnificent bloom was a Magnolia.

So, while Cathy’s suggestion that we show off “our festive Spring Focaccia” was a welcome one, it was also going to prove to be a bit tricky. (continue reading )

Ceux-ci ne sont pas des cinnamon rolls… (BBB April 2016)

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BBB April 2016 summary: recipe for NOT-cinnamon rolls with a nod to Magritte, based on recipes from Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) and in “Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread”; apricots, honey and black pepper; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2016: “This is not a cinnamon roll” rolls

BBB April 2016

I used to think that if some cinnamon was good, more must be better. Now, I’m not so sure. Less IS more!

April has been a whacky month, following a whacky winter. It didn’t really get cold until February. We were still harvesting sage and chives from the garden in December.

And we had virtually no snow… until April, that is.

So it seems fitting that Karen chose wacky cinnamon rolls for the BBBabes to bake this month. How are they wacky? Well, in two ways: 1.) they call for three (that’s right, three) leaveners, 2.) they have no cinnamon.

Here’s what Karen wrote:

[M]ake it different. Let’s NOT use cinnamon. Let’s say cinnamon is verboten.
-Karen, Bake My Day

(continue reading )

Do I need another bread book?

summary: review of “Bien Cuit” by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky; good ideas; poor choices; is it time to make room on the cookbook shelf anyway? (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Really? White print on black background? Bien Cuit’s art directors are crazy! Do they ever try reading the text after they’re finished making it pretty?

I love that the public library makes it possible for me to review a book before deciding whether to get a copy for my own shelves! And I was excited about this popular book, having to wait patiently (okay, okay; maybe it wasn’t so patient a wait) for my number 12 (of 12 holds, with just 9 copies in the system) finally turned to number 1. But at last I was summoned by the wonderful female-like computer voice on our answering machine saying

The Toronto Public Library has one or more items for the customer with the initials J! M! E! and whose library card ends with the digits […]

I LOVE getting that message!

exposed spine

Full of stunningly beautiful photographs as well as some excellent instructional photograph essays, Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky with photography by Thomas Schauer is advertised as having an exposed spine. As if this is a good thing….

Indeed, the inside pages are in fine shape (aside from the white print on black background – I’ll get back to that). It’s the cover pages that are problematic. The library book I had was new in November 2015 – it’s just 4 months old! – and judging by the condition of the inside of the book, the borrowers have been quite careful with it. All the pages were clean with not even a hint of pages being dog-eared. (continue reading )