Chestnut Flour Quick, Chestnut Flour Slow

With so many bakers exploring gluten-free options, here’s one to try: chestnut flour.  When this traditional Italian ingredient turned up in local markets recently (fall is the best season for the new crop of chestnut flour), it seemed an interesting alternative for cookies or pastries, like the crescents (a.k.a. Russian tea cookies, Mexican wedding cookies)…

Corn Bread vs. Cornbread

Over the years a vendor at the local farmer’s market has occasionally offered a corn bread. Not a cornbread, the often sweet quick bread, but a yeast bread with some cornmeal added to the dough that was baked into a round loaf. During the summer it made a marvelous BLT. But its appearance was sporadic,…

Bring Out Yer Bread

Like so many Mexican festivals, the Day of the Dead cannot be celebrated without food. It inspires fanciful and abundant baking, specifically of pan de muerto, a slightly sweet, decorated yeast bread enriched with butter, milk and eggs.

Bless This House

Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever. I’m not sure how the tradition of bringing bread, salt, and wine as a housewarming gift got started among my highly transient cohort (I guess, like most people, we heard it…

Cuckoo for Coco Bread

Honduran pan de coco is a staple on the Bay Islands… the brainchild of the Garífuna people who inhabit the area. It is bread, not pound cake, with flour and yeast transformed by unsweetened shredded coconut and/or coconut milk.

Miles To Go

I feel as if I’m getting to the point in my bread-making experience where I’ve done just enough to know how very far I have yet to go before I’m really good at it. I take some small comfort in the idea that, having learned to play the violin as a child, the patience to…

Whip It Good

With all the fresh bread hanging around my kitchen these days, my mind often strays to toast. So when I happened to catch a video online outlining how to turn a pint of heavy cream into fresh butter (plus a cup of leftover buttermilk, should you want to, say, crack out a nice soda bread…

Tartine Basic Country Loaf: Try #1

At 8 a.m. I began mixing the dough for my first Tartine Basic Country Loaf. Well, you could say that I had been mixing it for going on two weeks, since it took that long to get my starter into shape. Now, with just flour and water and patience (and a bit of salt), I…

Step One: Training the Starter

I’m declaring 2011 my year of making bread. Sure, I’ve kneaded a yeasty loaf in my day, but now I’m getting serious. There will be flour, and I will weigh it accurately if it kills me. To kick things off, I thought I’d start by cracking the cover on my copy of Tartine Bread–a book…