Sunday, December 27, 2009


My friend Carol gave me this luscious book by Gale Gand for my birthday.

After taking Andrew to SFO, SOB!, I made a version of the cover egg dish for Steven for breakfast. (Did I mention that I've read the whole book!) I had some Canadian bacon that I needed to use up so I diced it and put it in the bottom of a ramekin in place of the ham shown in the picture. I put in the dollop of pesto and two eggs (another gift of local eggs--beautiful orangey yolks!); I didn't have any fresh mozzarella so I used some sharp cheddar that Steven likes and chopped up and added a small tomato. I baked it at 375 for 15 minutes and promptly forgot to take a picture of it before he devored it. We were both impressed. It's a keeper! I'm looking forward to making it again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pre-Heating for No-Knead Stirato

Candice asked me if it was really necessary to preheat the oven for an hour before baking my no-knead bread. Here is what I learned from my latest experiment. I made three loaves yesterday to bring to a party. I turned on my oven (containing the covered baker) before shaping my first loaf for its second rise. My kitchen is quite cool, 68 degrees. The second rise took 45 minutes so the oven and container had preheated for 45+ minutes. I baked the first loaf for 30 minutes with the cloche on and then ten minutes with the cloche off (leaving the cloche in the back of the oven so it would stay hot for the next loaf). I have been reducing the oven temp to 425 degrees for the last 10 minutes because the crust gets quite dark if I leave it at 475. I like a dark bake but some of my eaters ask me if I've "burned" the bread.

After taking the first loaf out, I raised the temp back up to 475 and it took about ten minutes for the oven thermometer to register 475. The second and third loaves were baked with the same timing and temps and each loaf came out darker. Even though the oven registers 475 after 10-15 minutes of pre-heating it may not be optimal to get the best color and crust. For great crumb, you want the internal temperature of the bread to be 200-210 degrees when you take it out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Latest Loaf

This is my version of Jim Lahey's Stirato (an Italian baguette!). I'm making a 500g loaf and I'm supplementing it with a wild yeast starter that Linda made.

I'm baking it in one of these

I've also changed the bake time. I'm baking it with cloche on for 30 minutes at 475 degrees and then removing the cloche and reducing the temperature to 425 degrees for ten more minutes.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fall Planting

I finally planted my onion starts (a yellow and a red) and my 9 varieties of garlic. I ordered the garlic last May and it was shipped in August. Alice and Linda and I split two gourmet sampler assortments for warm winter areas which included Creole Red, Ajo Rojo, Burgundy, Native Creole, Kettle River, Inchelium Red, Susanville, Shilla, and Korean Red. I think the Korean Red was rotten. Oh well.

I love these Atlas garden gloves for planting. I discovered that if I double glove with a pair of disposable surgical gloves, my hands stay dry and warmer. Of course with the temperature at 38 degrees today, ski mittens would really have been a better choice. I hope the garlic has long underwear.