This week, two enthusiastic cook-bloggers, Cathy Barrow, of Washington, DC, and Kim Foster, of New York City, put a name to their joint efforts in curing duck breasts for duck prosciutto, hashtagging it on Twitter #charcutepalooza.  Their aim, one Charcuterie challenge per month.  A splendid idea, I thought.  The more cooking and curing that people do, the better the world is.  And the duck prosciutto is a perfect way to begin, an all but foolproof form of dry curing.  They’ve asked me to weigh in when needed and I will.  To their amazement, and my delight, 54 bloggers at last count have embraced the charcutepalooza challenge.  MrsWheelBarrow has the how what where on her site.  Join them in their monthly charcuterie quests!  May the body of charcuterie be with you. OpenSky: A New Internet Commerce Read On »

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When I used to read bread recipes, I feared yeast for good reason: Bad bread recipes.  So many instructed me to heat the water to specific temperatures, between 110 and 115 degrees F., and bloom the yeast.  Some wanted sugar in the water.  Some told me to wait till I saw bubbles.  Or they were neurotic about when to add the yeast.  Or the amount, 1-1/4 teaspoons exactly.  Rest the dough in a warm place (because of the yeast), they said, or away from drafts. Or you have to bloom active dry but not instant.  Or don’t add the salt until the yeast has started its work. Hogwash, all of it!  Truth of the matter is you can play fast and loose with the yeast and you can use any kind you want. I often Read On »

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A multigrain bread recipe will open the new year for a reason.  Will Turnage (aka @wubbahed), Donna and I finished and submitted to Apple last week a bread baking app for iPad.  It’s time finally to act on a fascinating email I got from a baker in North Carolina about bagel making.  And Shuna privately but with her own inimitable force and clarity begged to differ on my take on English Muffins.  And just yesterday a reader emailed, pleading for a good all-purpose gluten-free bread recipe. So it’s now officially bread baking month here, when the cold and early darkness are subdued by a hot heart and hands-on kitchen work.  (And yes, kneading should be a part of the process—it’s part of the goodness of bread, mediation through kneading. It’s also fun.)  The holidays are Read On »

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Questioning its role in our society. Scroll down and read 7 interesting objections on bread from Carlos Monteiro, via WPHNA.org.

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Stollen, Christmas pudding, panettone, and Les Treize Desserts.  Christmas cake traditions from all over the globe.  Happy holidays, via The Wall Street Journal.

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