Monday, March 29, 2010


After making wild mushroom ciabatta, I decided to try to improve my skills on the basics of this rustic bread and make it from just flour, yeast and water. Here is the basic sponge that has been sitting overnight next to the additional flour that will be added:

The dough came together more easily without the addition of the soaked dried mushrooms, and felt better to the touch, despite the lack of fat from the olive oil that had also been part of the mushroom loaf:

The bread rose well...before:

And after!

I split the loaves before setting up my couche:

And then left the bread to rise once more:

The finished loaves - this time, with better structure. I'll be making this one again soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wild Mushroom Ciabatta

I was making soup for dinner, so I went a little wild with my ciabatta. Clockwise from top left: sponge, dried mushrooms soaking in warm water, minced garlic, and fresh mushrooms:

Once everything but the mushrooms and garlic were mixed in, this dough looked like a bit of a mess:

But after some rising, it was time to shape the bread and mix in the fresh mushrooms and garlic, by now sauteed in a bit of olive oil. Here, the bread is stretched out so I can fold in the mushrooms:

Sprinkled on top before I wrapped the dough back over for another rise:

Once the mushrooms were incorporated, this dough sits in a couche (well floured kitchen towels, basically) to rise so that it doesn't lose the proper shape:

And from the couche, into the oven...and soon after, to the table!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blueberry Banana Pecan Muffins

Blueberry muffins. I can't ever resist:

I also added some mashed banana to this recipe - any variant on a banana bread is fine by me:

The resulting batter looked...curdled, if I'm being charitable:

The resulting muffins, though, made for a delicious breakfast!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life, Not Baking: 5K with the Team

Training for The San Diego Marathon is going well. The weather is warming, the days are longer, and we're getting into some distance.

This week, I finally attended team speedwork instead of stubbornly sticking with my morning treadmill routine, and I was rewarded with a PR (personal record) in our 5K (3.1 mile) speed trial - 7:53 per mile. I had never raced, or even tried to race, a 5K, and hadn't even signed up for the distance in the past few years.

Next Wednesday? HILLS!

And please don't forget - donate HERE! You might just get a package in the mail...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cinnamon-Swirl Bread

A nice white bread, wrapped with cinnamon and sugar:
On such a rainy day in the Northeast, I'll be making some bread. This recipe is a really nice version of a cinnamon-swirl bread, and not too sweet to become the basis for a good sandwich.

Once the dough is mixed and has risen once, it is flattened out and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar before being formed into a loaf:

Then, it rises:

The final, golden brown loaf:

Sliced and ready to become toast!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Classic Brownies - Recipe included!

This recipe is worth reposting - if I need a quick chocolate dessert, it's a go-to:
I recently made both the above brownies, with pecans, and a recipe of plain brownies. I wouldn't be opposed to white or regular chocolate chips, or maybe some shredded time!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sauteed Spinach and Mushroom Pie

This doesn't look too much like it could be dinner:
I added sauteed mushroom, spinach and garlic to this mixture of ricotta, eggs and a bit of cheese and spice and rolled out some pastry dough.

The unbaked result:

And the top of a nicely browned pie:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bread I Like: The Bread That Started It All

This is the bread that started it all: Mom's potato bread:

Mom came down to the city for a day recently, and carried in her bag a fresh loaf of bread for me, and one for my brother. Mine least 36 hours.
Thanks Mom!