The economy struggled but cooking and writing about food sure didn’t! My colleague Emilia and I decided to have a look at the most popular—or most viewed is perhaps the better phrase—posts from this site this year. By far the most exciting blog event of the year was Cathy Barrow‘s and Kim Foster‘s Charcutepalooza. What an amazing thing happened, and all because of that catchy hashtag on Twitter. This would not have happened without Twitter. Congrats to all who participated and who pushed themselves to cook in unfamiliar and often difficult ways! Special congrats to Cecilia, who blogs at One Vanilla Bean, and Peter, who blogs at Cookblog, as the two year’s end finalists. Good luck to you both! Top ruhlman.com posts from 2011, in no particular order: Stock Convictions & Stock Clarifications In which I Read On »

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When I asked my friend and primary recipe tester, Marlene Newell, who runs the site cookskorner.com, to contribute a post during bread month, a challah recipe was the first bread that came to mind, and I’m delighted it did, because I love the soft, egg-rich crumb and flavor, probably my favorite of the non-lean doughs. This is Marlene’s favorite recipe and it comes from one of the foremost bread teachers and writers about bread in the country, Peter Reinhart. If you don’t know about him, you should!  See Peter’s blog, as well as his other site and soon to be show, Pizza Quest. “This is my best challah to date,” Peter wrote to us in an email, “and I don’t think I can top it.”—M.R. by Marlene Newell The Jewish Sabbath and holiday bread got Read On »

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Please welcome Monica Bhide, the India-born, DC-based writer/teacher/cook, author of the blog A Life In Spice, the book Modern Spice, as well as a cool new spice app, iSpice, for iphone and ipad.  Here she gives us instruction on a flavored bread (basic breads can be flavored as easily as a pasta dish—see this recipe for a corn-chipotle ciabatta for instance) as well as a lesson in some Indian seasonings, here, curry leaves which I’ve only worked with a couple times and am glad to see used here. —M.R. by Monica Bhide I would be lying to you if I told you I knew how to bake. In most Indian homes, baking is not something you grow up with.  There are a few exceptions like in the western part of India where the Portuguese settled Read On »

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What has surprised me most about all my breads using non-wheat grains is how richly flavored they are.  Far more than anything you can find at the grocery store.  And they all feel so satisfying to eat, the intriguing flavors and the solid bite they give. Here is a classic, deli-style rye that would be perfect for some homemade corned beef or pastrami.  But you don’t need much to enjoy this bread.  One of my favorite ways to eat is to toast a slice, then rub it with a halved clove of garlic, then butter it.  So good. The following recipe can be shaped into a loaf, into a boule or even a baguette (if you wanted small slices for canapes or small sandwiches for instance).  The caraway seeds can be omitted if you wish, Read On »

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Donna and I met Carri Thurman, who owns and runs Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, Alaska, a year ago fall when she came to introduce herself bearing bread from On the Rise Bakery and some of her own Lilac Jelly.  The day was exquisite fall and the jelly inspired a great still life from Donna. And it was a pleasure to meet a fellow blogger and frequent commentor on this site. Naturally, this professional baker was first on the request list for a guest blog during bread baking month. Herewith, Carri Thurman, and a ciabatta recipe that interests me in two specific ways.  First, it requires a kind of starter or what some people refer to as a preferment: a little bit of yeast is allowed to ferment for 12 to 24 hours, which gives Read On »

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