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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back alley gold

I'm not crazy. 
That's what I keep telling myself while foraging for the little yellow flowers. Since I discovered dandelion jelly a few months ago I've been hooked. It's sweet, honey-like flavor is coveted around the home-front and one day during summer I was down to the last tablespoon. So, I skipped merrily down the back lanes of East Vancouver pinching off the yellow heads where I could find them and dropping them in to my plastic bag. Now I know what you're thinking.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Honey, have you seen my churn?"

I have been pining for the European style, high fat butter ever since I moved to BC from California eight years ago.  I used to use Plugra butter which when sliced, even cold right of the ice box, would bend like cheese as opposed to snap in two like most regular butter.  I'm sure similar butter exists here but I have yet to find it. It's not like I've been looking really hard, mind you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The stretch waistband. GREAT invention.

Oh, the drudgery of having to test all of these recipes.
Every time I see a bread recipe I think, can I use my sourdough starter? And upon finding this recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls on The Fresh Loaf - I hit pay dirt. It's a great recipe and I love the fact there are mashed potatoes in it. Neat, eh? As with every sourdough starter the hydration level varies depending on how you feed it. I use a 1-2-3 ratio of starter, water and flour. Some folks do 1-1-1. My starter is fairly wet so I had to do a little tweaking with the amount of flour I used. Other than that I didn't change much.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I think I've invented something truly amazing.
I was up until about 12:30 this morning baking....actually waiting to cut into this...this...THING I've created. The genesis of which was born a few days ago...

Let me rewind a bit. Since I've been on a quest to find different ways to use my sourdough starter I came across a recipe for sourdough stollen, a German sweet bread usually eaten during the Christmas season. While the flavor of the stollen was great, I had some problems containing the filling and the seams split during the baking process. Plus the dough wasn't right. Way too wet and made it difficult to form the loaves. Undeterred, I planned on making it again at a later date. I mean, my freezer's absolutely full!

In goes the frangipane filling!
Fade out fade in, while hunting around for supplies for my new baking venture I came across some paper panettone liners and thought "oh, I have to try making some panettone!" I didn't end up getting them simply because I'm on a tight budget and was really focused on my jams and jellies and didn't want any (more) distractions. So, I took a mental snapshot and continued on my way. A couple of days ago I was baking sourdough cinnamon rolls which turned out fantastic...well, other than the minor fire they caused in my oven. Then I realized the dough was very similar to my stollen dough but it was much easier to handle and turned out a lot better. So I thought, "hey, I'll just make stollen using this dough and

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bacon maple apple three-way

You know when you're eating breakfast and, shortly after pouring it over your pancakes, the maple syrup inevitably drifts into the bacon? I love it when that happens. THOSE flavors are meant to be together. So why not foster that love by adding apples!

This is a nice segue into savory scones which is what I was initially trying to develop. Last year when I was working down in LA I went to this great little joint called the Nickel Diner. Among other tasty menu items, they have a wonderful selection of baked goodies. From home-made Ding-Dongs and Pop Tarts to Red Velvet cake and doughnuts, one of which is a maple bacon doughnut. A maple glazed doughnut topped with real bacon bits. Naturally, I ordered one. It was very good, however, a tad on the sweet side for me. I could have used a bit more bacon!

So, with that as a springboard for my creativity I attempted my first apple bacon maple scone. Unfortunately, I didn't take too many photos during the process (I have the WORST lighting). But here's the end result.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Smells like Christmas

I'm always looking for ways to use up my sourdough starter because inevitably I make to much. A lot of bread recipes call for only 1/4 cup of starter at most and I still have lots left. I've made English muffins with the left over but still only about a cup. When I see that bowl of happy, bubbling, starter perfectly lacy and elastic that I've been feeding and nurturing for the past few days I just don't have the heart to chuck in the bin. Plus, it's kind of wasteful, really. So, I thought of making Christmas Sourdough Stollen. I know, weird. But if you can make sourdough cinnamon rolls why not stollen?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BBQ'd English muffins?

I love ways to use sourdough starter and I found this little gem at Wild Yeast for sourdough English muffins (although, I might try this one next from King Aurthur. Looks pretty good!)

This is my second batch. I learned that these don't typically get baked in the oven but are cooked on the griddle giving them their characteristic brown spots. Well, I can only fit about four comfortably in my cast iron skillet. And when you're doing three sets it takes a bit of time. So, this time I took out my cast iron griddle, warmed up my BBQ and got down to business.