This is my first panettone of the year. Using last year's mold, I also went a bit short on dough amount. Saving resources may have prevented brilliance but the end result was still delicious. New molds and more dough next time to see what changes.
Recently I posted about a bottle of Radikon wine, curious about this organic red. At that point, I was still in curiosity (versus drinking) mode. The other night, I decided to uncork it for a dinner of turkey scaloppine, roasted Brussel sprouts and red quinoa, along with light mushroom sauce and pomegranates.
Initially, I wasn't swayed. Indeed, at first taste, I felt more confused than clear on the flavors. Then I continued sipping, let it warm up a bit, and very soon I found myself warming up to this unique bouquet. It's very good!
Sometimes time is your friend. Other times, it's your annoying neighbor. And sometimes it's a lovely surprise. Reworking a formula for Danish, I diligently played with the numbers, but then short on time to get back to it, I left the dough laminated for almost a week in the fridge. Finally with a day free last Sunday, I whipped up some pastry cream, folded in some raisins, and put it in the oven. Well, it seemed the extra hours, nevermind days, couldn't stop what was baked. Delicious!
It was a jam that my sister served during summer breakfast. Visiting her in Switzerland, the German label intrigued me. It read "quince and pumpkin marmalade." Curious about the flavors, I dunked my knife in and spread it on some bread. It was good. Very good. So back at home in sunny Sunnyside (Queens, NY), I put my hand to making a batch in my kitchen. With no actual recipe, I took hints from David Lebowitz's version of a pumpkin marmalade. Only I substituted butternut squash for pumpkin. Know what? It tasted close to that lovely summer Switzerland breakfast with my sister. Good.
Yohan Ferrant, baker extraordinaire, recently came out with a new method for a no-knead bread. Working with nutritional scientists, he developed a method designed to a way to make bread with a low inoculation of levain. The goal is a healthier loaf. Here, Yohan explains some of that theory. He goes into the rationale include the importance of enzymes, amylase, retrograde, and entire science of baking.
Inspired, I've tried three variations of his formulas. Honestly, the first were horrid. But determined, I finally made this better version. Still, I need a few more tries to get it "spot on," even if the one looked rather healthy.
Having started a batch of kombucha, my next fermentation experiment is water-based kefir. Like kombucha, it is probiotic. And it's a good substitute for soda. Just add juice or fruit. I found it easy to start up with grains, and is opening doors to other fermentation.
It's been a while since I'd had a poppyseed babka. Inspired by recently meeting Uri Scheft (guru of babka) I made a batch at home. After laminating the dough, I had enough left over to bake some rugelach, too.
Recently, chef Pamela Yung posted photos of Radikon Oslavje, a orange wine that piqued my curiousity. Radikon wines are organic, which impacts both fermentation and aging. No sulfites are added nor are they filtered before bottling, adding to richness of flavor. Looking online, I found two bottles from the Friuli-Venezia that were mentioned in a New York Times article. More to come when I taste them, but for now they look good on my shelf.
With work a full grind, baking at home is on the back burner. But I had time to try an old school levain. I played with it, using a whole grain levain and long bulk ferment of four hours. My trick is to refresh levain in the morning, get off work and start the dough just before midnight. Then I go to sleep and when the cats wake for their feeding at four in the morning, I shape the dough, let it ferment and bake. Here's the easy loaf.
Bread and Salt Bakery is a relatively new Brooklyn-based, Roman-style pizzeria. I had met its owner Rick Easton last spring when he was still searching for a place to bake. Then a mutual friend told me he had opened Bread and Salt in the Brooklyn geography known broadly as Crown Heights. Apparently, local hipsters (or aspirational realtors) now call his section of town "Berg'n." Whatever you call it, I hopped the train last weekend to check out his neighborhood and bakery, getting a chance to chat with Rick and chew my way through some fine samples of pizza di pala. Though his Roman-style pizza is not as well known as the typical New York Napoletano-style "slice," Rick is making remarkably tasty pies. Go try.