Remember when I made Fried Sesame Balls with Lotus Paste? Remember how I said I’d never fry again? Well, I fried again. With the help of my lovely friend Chelsea, who had watched her mom fry chicken and was therefore qualified to supervise my frying efforts.
My own childhood was lacking in fry. Certain (Jewish) members of my (Jewish) family even refuse to fry latkes. I can count on one hand the number of times dinner has been fried, and even then, we dined on fried veggies. However, we made exceptions for the occasional donut. Once or twice a year, on a morning when we had extra time before school, we would rush to get ready and my mom would take us out to breakfast. Sometimes we went around the corner for eggs sandwiched on buttery sesame bagels from Lenny’s, but sometimes we took a detour to 72nd street for Krispy Kreme donuts. It was exciting to be eating out on a school day, and even more exciting to press our noses to the glass and watch the conveyor belt inch along, coating donut after donut with sticky sugar glaze.
So much baking, so little blogging. I’m bursting to post the candy I’ve been making, but first I have to discuss my sourdough. My sourdough was the epitome of oh-so-good-with-butter-breadliness, but it didn’t quite put the ‘sour’ in ‘sourdough.’ I’m thinking it was the sourdough starter. The starter is sort of like an agar plate, with tiny little yeasts reproducing like mad in a 2-quart petri dish filled with flour and water.
I’ve read through a bunch of starter recipes, from scary complicated recipes to super simple ones. Some say you can’t use the starter to make sourdough for 15 days, and other recipes say you can go right ahead after two or three days. Some call for rye flour and kefir and pineapple juice and mixing and waiting and adding and weighting, and others aren’t so freaking confusing. Continue reading
This weekend I baked some truly delicious bread. Today I’m baking French bread, tomorrow I’m baking sourdough bread. The next day I’m planning some kind of honey oat bread. And focaccia suddenly sounds really good. Do you like olive bread? I like olive bread.
My family hates me already.
But back to this delicious bread. The five of us ate an entire loaf in one sitting. Slathered with butter. (Actually Smart Balance, but who says “Slathered with Smart Balance?” Smart Balance just does slather half as well.) So we came to a unanimous agreement that we should freeze the second loaf, and save it to fatten up some dinner company (after we lure them into our gingerbread apartment covered in Butterfingers and coconut Jelly Bellies, and before we stuff them in the stove to bake them). Continue reading
I recently joined Daring Bakers, which is part of the Daring Kitchen (for those of you who don’t have an obsession with baking blogs, Daring Bakers is a community of bakers that organizes baking challenges each month. A different blogger “hosts” every challenge, and all of the participating bakers share their results). Every participant has to complete at least 8 challenges a year, and I figured that between summer break and several small vacations, I’d be able to get home often enough to make the cut. December was my first month as a Daring Baker, and the challenge was to make Christmas Stollen, which is a fruitcake-inspired bread. The host of the challenge provided a recipe, and set some guidelines for us Daring Bakers, but we could get creative with variations.
Instead of rum soaked raisins, glace cherries and mixed peel as filling, I soaked a mixture of raisins, dried cherries, figs, and dates in rum and orange juice. Based on some other baker’s comments, I used a lot more fruit than the recipe called for, so of course I had to use way more rum! Continue reading