Category Archives: Baking

The Bread Project

My husband suggested that I try making regular kneaded bread with the Kitchenaid the other day, since I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So I did.

I’m not going to lie–it was a bit of a chore, to be honest. I like the no-knead bread for a variety of reasons: short ingredient list, simple prep, few dishes, and reasonably low calorie count. The kneaded variety had a host of ingredients, steps, and messy dishes. I’ll probably do it again, perhaps if I wanted to make pumpkin or cinnamon bread, for example, but for regular day to day bread, I’m definitely sticking with no-knead. My husband agreed, asserting that he prefers the artisan style of the no-knead bread.

That said, here’s the evidence. It went well, all things considered:



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The mess was worth it.

I absolutely trashed my kitchen last night, but it was totally worth it. My parents came over for my mom’s birthday dinner, and my husband and I pulled out all of the culinary stops. Well, almost all. I did buy the brownies for dessert after realizing that I had completely forgotten about dessert and had time to swing by the store between work and dinner. Oh well.

That said, I made baguettes for the first time with my brand new couche. Here they are baking:
It’s a bit of a blurry picture, but you can see the pan of water underneath the baguettes, which apparently helps the oven maintain the correct humidity. I learned a couple of very important lessons about baguettes, though. One, they don’t take all that long to proof, and two of them jumped the couche, which made me really, really glad that I’d left the couche on a cutting board so that I wasn’t scraping excess dough off my dining table. Two, I should have dusted the couche with more flour or Crisco’d it or something, because even though it is supposedly non-stick, those suckers DID NOT want to come off after baking. Seriously. Three, even mildly mangled baguettes straight out of the oven are pretty darn good.
Homemade baguette, plus Ubriacco and Wensleydale cheeses

Our second adventure was homemade ravioli. I improvised a filling of 1/2 cup goat cheese ricotta, a whole bunch of spinach chopped up in the Mini-Prep, and sliced pancetta that I started cutting into smaller pieces with a chef’s knife and then resorted to cutting with kitchen scissors. Add dashes of fresh rosemary and thyme as well as a solid splash of olive oil, ground black pepper and kosher salt and voila! Ravioli filling.

The pasta itself was interesting, because I was having some trouble with the dough/moisture thing. At one point it was too dry, and shortly thereafter, it was too wet. Argh!






I should had taken a picture of the finished product, in retrospect. That said, they were delicious, and very filling. Awesome bonus–we even had dough leftover for fettucine:

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New toys!

In preparation for cooking my mother’s belated birthday dinner on Friday, I stocked up with some new toys tonight. Since the no-knead bread thing has been going so well, I decided to go ahead and try baguettes. Baguettes are a little bit more work, so I wanted to give myself every possible advantage. Hence, I went to Sur la Table and bought a baguette shaping pan. Hopefully, this little gadget will help! I also got a bench scraper, since I inexplicably don’t own one.

While I was there, I decided to go ahead and commit to a ravioli maker. Since my husband is far more sensible than I am, he insisted that I go with the $26 ravioli tray and rolling pin instead of the $130 Kitchenaid attachment that I wanted. You know, to see if I even liked making ravioli. See why I married him?

So watch this space to see if it is an unqualified success, or if I’ll be cleaning my kitchen with a toothbrush for the next month.

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Adventures in no-knead bread

I mentioned before that I started attempting no-knead bread, and I’m now a few successful loaves in.  I’m also two unsuccessful loaves in, but that was mostly because I didn’t make the bread in time and overaged the dough.  I used Jim Lahey’s recipe, adapted for NYTimes by Mark Bittman.

Here’s what the dough looks like:

I also made in the shape of a sandwich loaf thanks to this hack from The Kitchn. So it looks like this:

And then finally turns into this:

All in all, it’s going pretty well–the bread’s a really nice, chewy consistency that I can use for sandwiches or with just some butter for a snack. I think the next plan is baguettes!

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National Championship cookies!

Well, we didn’t win, but I helped prep for the big game by baking a bunch of cookies with the Kitchenaid and homemade frosting for the first time. I think it went well!

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Baking and other adventures

I’m taking a stab at my first homemade loaf of “real” bread, as my husband noted. In his defense, I can pretty much make banana bread in my sleep these days, so “real” bread is a little different and a little harder. I’m not used to working with yeast, so this will be a bit of an adventure for me. I’m taking pictures, so those will get posted as soon as I can get them off my camera.

Wish me luck! I guess busting out the Kitchenaid was inspirational after all!

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