Monthly Archives: June 2018

Pain au Levain with citrus(ish) and seeds (BBB June 2018)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Pain au Levain with Lemon Juice and Sunflower Seeds, based on a recipe in “From the Wood-Fired Oven” by Richard Miscovich; taste transformations; justifying disobedience; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Pain au Levain

Making good bread is a matter of controlling variables; there is no one magic ingredient that, on its own, will elevate your bread to sublime status. – Richard Miscovich, From the Wood-Fired Oven, p119

Pain au Levain

This month, Cathy (Bread Experience) chose Pain au Levain, from a recipe in “From The Wood-Fired Oven” by Richard Miscovich, for the BBBabes to bake. I can’t help thinking about how I would have reacted before – even a year ago – to Cathy’s announcement. My heart would have been pounding and mouth dry as I tried to think of any excuse at all not to make this month’s bread. I was like Kaitlyn Bailey:

I had no experience making sourdough, so parenthood began with a thorough scour of the internet. I quickly learned that I was […] entering a cult-like subset of the baking world, whose members spend their weekends worshiping yeast cultures and driving far and wide in search of the perfect flour mix.
    One of the blogs I read insisted that sourdough couldn’t be made from a recipe, and instead suggested that a beginner start by spending time getting to know their dough and then just “follow their instincts.” Unfortunately, my dough wasn’t very chatty, and my instincts were telling me that I shouldn’t use the funky-smelling jar in my fridge for something I was going to eat.
– Kaitlyn Bailey, Sourdough starter: How I learned to love my yeast beast, Globe and Mail, 24 May 2018

But, thanks to Jane Mason’s book “All You Knead is Bread”, all that has changed. Our Mason starter, that has been valiantly bubbling since last July, is better than ever. The fear of making naturally leavened bread has gone entirely.

We LOVE our bread made with Jane Mason Starter!

I got Richard Miscovich’s book out of the library, started reading it, and began dreaming about having our own wood-fired oven….

(continue reading )

Not-Even-Close-to-Wordless Not-Wednesday: Asparagus and Chives

summary: lilacs; asparagus; chives; our cat is strange; comments disabled… still :stomp: ; well, this WAS going to be wordless;


Until recently, people here [in Easter Carolina] never really messed around with experiments like eggplant or fancy peppers. Herbs were something we bought dried and, aside from sage, rarely used. […] [A]nd asparagus grew out of a can. – Vivian Howard, Summer Squash, Deep Run Roots, p335

Things were not unsimilar in the mostly frozen north when I was growing up. Except that in the summer, Mum would hand us some scissors for us to venture out into the garden to snip chives to put into potato salad. Potato salad that was made with just 5 ingredients: boiled potatoes, miracle whip, chives, salt, and pepper. Not too much pepper though….

How times have changed….


J’adore l’asparagus!

I don’t remember having asparagus at home when I was growing up – but it seems to me that it would have been served when we went to our great aunt’s house for dinner. And, after hearing Mum’s low voice aside to me of “Don’t be silly. Eat up” for the umpteenth time, I would have choked down the lone spear that would have been, to my horror, limply lying there, glistening grey-green, on the plate beside the potatoes and slice of roasted meat.

I still go out the garden with scissors to get chives. But they don’t go into potato salad. Oh my no. They’re for making Tartar Sauce, or garnishing hard boiled eggs, or asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce. (continue reading )