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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cleaning up after the move...

Nothing like shutting down the old server to make you realize exactly what only existed there. Trivial things, like banners...sidebar images...my brain...

I am off to search through the detritus that passes for a hard drive at my place for missing images, followed by a careful comb through the code for what else is freaked out.

Sorry for the mess, it'll be better soon.
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Friday, July 09, 2010

Too hot to bake bread? Make biscuits!

flaky tower

Summer has descended on the northwest like a wet wool blanket. It hit 90 in our little fog valley yesterday, which is far too hot to spend much time in the kitchen. This leaves me craving homemade bread - and other baked goodies - but distinctly avoiding the means of making any.

When that happens, I have a go-to recipe: biscuits.

Specifically, I go to one of the most popular recipes on kitchenMage: my Simple Flaky Biscuits. These babies take just under half an hour to make, which is tolerable even in this heat. They are simple enough for small kids to help, convenient since it's summer vacation.

As a bonus, the biscuits make excellent shortcake so bring on the berries, peaches, and other summer fruit. Hey, peach shortcake! I think I have peaches and it's still cool enough to bake. I'd love to chat but I think I hear biscuits calling my name...

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

I really did not want to write this post...

I hate posts like this, and writing them is worse than reading them, but I am taking a temporary break here. Let's pretend that's different from recent history somehow...

In this case, I've been ill. Nothing serious but enervating and it leaves me too drained to focus on baking bread, let alone all the other stuff that goes into writing about it. Hell, I barely have the energy to eat bread these days. The last few weeks of pretending otherwise is a big old fail. insert sad face here

My plan is to be back with a shiny new design and focus right after the 4th of July. Cross your fingers and wish me luck. See you then!

btw, A Year in Bread finally got a twitter account! (kitchenMage, Farmgirl Fare, and Seriously Good are also on twitter, though I am the only one who uses my account for more than announcing posts...lots more.)
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

We May Be Two Places At Once, or Not Anywhere at All!

I just found this note to myself stuffed between the sofa cushions. Looks like it was written in late 2007, just about when we were starting this blog...
Notes re: A Year in Bread

  • Don't make stupid assumptions like that you will really quit in a year. You probably won't. Seriously, baking bread with some of your best foodie friends is not a gig you quit lightly.

  • Make sure you map the domain correctly, even if there are good reasons it's easier not to. [ed., see also: hosting on Kevin's server, he who got too busy with all his other gigs and had to leave us.]

  • Even if you ignore the first two [ed., and we did] whatever you do, don't use Blogger's FTP publishing. It will probably be discontinued in a few years and you will have to migrate the site using a process that is much flakier and fraught with peril than needs be. Your site and/or feed may disappear for a while, readers might think you are gone, and it will, in general, suck.
I really should clean out the couch more often. Maybe read my notes to myself. Uh, well, crud...



We're migrating the blog this week. If we seem to disappear, it's only temporary. (And yes, we have the domain wrong, but we're not fixing it now. That would just break it more... ain't technology grand?) The move should happen Thursday-Friday and from what I hear we may be offline intermittently for 24 hours or so.

Questions? Recipe you need right this minute? Drop us a note: aYearinBread (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll try to help you out.
See you on the flip side!

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sundried Tomato, Pinenut and Rosemary Bread

sun-dried tomatoe, pinenut, rosemary bread sliced



No recipe, just a freehand dough, slightly wetter than a baguette with some fresh herbs, minced sundried tomatoes, and pinenuts.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Susan's Favorite Bread Baking Tips—What Are Yours?

Freshly Baked Oatmeal Toasting Bread
Freshly Baked Oatmeal Toasting Bread (recipe here)

A few months ago I spent some time updating the Ten Tips on How To Bake Better Artisan Breads at Home post that I published on Farmgirl Fare back in 2005, and it was interesting to see the little ways in which my bread baking has changed over the past several years.
I'm still following most of the tips, though I don't use my beautiful wooden bread bowls as much as I used to, preferring to let my dough rise in straight-sided plastic containers with snap-on lids instead. And I rarely bother to make steam in the oven anymore.

I've also started baking all of my pan loaves (these
Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans are the best) on a hot baking stone to simulate the 7-foot wide ceramic hearth deck oven waiting for me in our almost finished commercial kitchen. The results are fantastic.
If you're a new bread baker looking to improve your loaves, you might take a look at the tips—which are simply things I've learned that have made my breads better.
Do you have any bread baking tips you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them!

Looking for a favorite new loaf? You'll find the index of recipes for A Year in Bread here. And if you have a beloved bread recipe, we hope you'll consider sharing it in our Friday Favorites series, which you can read more about here.
© 2010 AYearInBread.com, the bread baking blog where there is no perfection, just loaves that keep getting better and better.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Bread Baking Tips: How To Clean Up Sticky Dough from Bowls and Utensils

noKnead bread after fermenting on counter

The other day a friend of mine,
wildsheepchase, asked me if we had any tips on getting sticky dough off of utensils once you're done baking. This is a common problem; bread dough is notoriously difficult to get off of even smooth surfaces (like bowls), and small utensils can be tricky to get truly clean.

You'd think the simple answer would be to do what you were taught about cleaning up as you go: toss everything in a sink of hot, soapy water, and it'll be easy to clean up when you're done baking. You would be terribly, horribly wrong.

Hot water is the worst thing you can use on bread dough. The heat makes the bread dough even stickier, and you end up with a gloppy mess that sticks to everything. (I used to keep an old sponge around for washing bread bowls so I wouldn't feel guilty about throwing them away as often as I did.)

The easy way to wash bread dough off your bowl and utensils is this:
  1. Scrape off excess dough with a dish scraper.
  2. Fill the bowl with COOL soapy water, toss in all non-wood utensils and leave it for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the water, grab the scraper again and get all the loose dough off. Throw it in the kitchen scraps compost bin or the trash - it will do very bad things to your drain if you let it go down.
  4. Using more cool water and a washable cloth/sponge, wash everything. Once things look clean, finish up with a bit of hot water, like the rest of your dishes. (Every so often, wash the cloth with your dish towels.)

    © Copyright 2010 AYearInBread.com
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Pizza After

Isn't that pizza cute? I love it because it shows that everyone can do those adorable food tricks without spending years practicing - or a ton of money. As you cook, think about the shape of the final dish. Can you change it up for a holiday or just to be cute?

Bread is a particularly good canvas for this sort of play since you can squish it into whatever odd shape you need today:
Hearts for Valentine's Day, Christmas trees, baby ducks for...uh, the heck of it. (This bread pudding doesn't quite fit, but I love it so you get a link.)

The pizza was made by
Heather Andrews, who writes about an uncategorizable variety of interesting and amusing things at bookish and is a delight on twitter. I love the artisan look; you can tell a human made it for you. I like that in food, don't you?

We hope you're spending Valentine's Day with people you love. What are you baking to celebrate?

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Friday, January 29, 2010

How To Get a No Knead Bread Book for a Dollar

And the giveaway winner!

Thanks to everybody who entered our recent giveaway for a hardcover copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It's been lots of fun to read all your comments and opinions about the no knead bread phenomenon.

Beth and I are already planning some more great bread book giveaways, but in the meantime, all of you no knead bread fans might be interested in a special little offer from Fleischmann's Yeast—a copy of
The Bread Breakthrough by Nancy Baggett for just a dollar.

Nancy Baggett is the author of
Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads, as well as over a dozen other cookbooks. The Bread Breakthrough is a 48-page book that includes 8 of Nancy's favorite no knead bread recipes, with full color photos of each.

You can order a copy
here (click on 'website' in the drop down menu at the top of the page for The Bread Breakthrough order form to appear). Or, iff you have trouble printing out the form, simple send your name and mailing address along with $1 for shipping and handling to:

Fleischmann's Bread Breakthrough
Offer 29737
P. O. Box 5207
Clinton, IA 52736-5207

Limit one recipe book per name, address or household, while supplies last. Sorry, but I don't know if they'll accept international orders. You can read more about The Bread Breakthrough recipe book in
this article on Grit magazine's website, which includes a recipe for Kneadlessly Simple Easy Oat Bread.

© 2010 AYearInBread.com, the kneadlessly addicted to bread baking blog where we're in the middle of another snowstorm here on the farm, and I just cooked up a big pot of soup, which means as soon as I finish clomping around outside doing chores, it's time to bake some bread! A batch of Farmhouse White is definitely on the agenda, but I also have a hankering for some of those crusty Four Hour Parisian Daily Baguettes I love so much. With temperatures expected to plunge to zero this weekend, I think I'll just crank up the oven and keep it cranked!
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are You a No Knead Bread Baker?

Win a Copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day!


Grilled Mozzarella on Susan's No Knead Italiano Bread

It's been over three years since 'no knead' bread practically took over the world. Who knew one little article in the New York Times would have such a global phenomenon, but it definitely did. The most wonderful thing to come from this craze? A whole slew of people who were inspired and unintimidated enough to start baking their own bread. Woohoo!

I wrote about my experiences with Jim Lahey's original no knead bread recipe that appeared in Mark Bittman's New York Times column—including how and why I quit baking it in a Dutch oven—on Farmgirl Fare back in December 2006. Jim, who is the founder of New York's famed Sullivan Street Bakery, (finally!) has a new book out called My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.

Here at A Year in Bread, we each made some sort of no knead bread during the second month of our first baking year in 2007. Kevin decided to try making some No Knead English Muffins, Beth came up with a beautiful Little Bit Twisted, Kinda Nuts, noKnead Oatmeal Toasting Bread (which was inspired by her Cinnamon Spice Pecan Swirl version of my popular Oatmeal Toasting Bread), and I took the ingredients I use to make Italian sausage and created No Knead Italiano Bread, which makes fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches.

In 2007, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois came out with a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking, which now has a whopping 200,000+ copies in print. We somehow missed the five minute bread craze, but food bloggers all over the world are still writing and raving about the technique and recipes in this bestselling book.

Jeff and Zoe have now written a second book called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients, which adapts their super-fast method for the health-conscious baker. Many of the recipes are even 100% whole grain.

Loaf of twisted, nutty, oatmeal noKnead bread
Beth's Little Bit Twisted, Kinda Nuts, noKnead Oatmeal Toasting Bread

Beth and I both received review copies of this new book from the publisher, and we're looking forward to doing some test baking from it soon. In the meantime, we're giving away a hardcover copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day to one A Year in Bread reader!

Just leave a comment in this post telling us something—anything—about no knead bread. Are you a big fan? Did you start baking bread because of it? Have you come up with your own personalized no knead bread recipe that you just can't stop baking? Do you have a favorite recipe from, or something to say about, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day? If you've written about no knead bread on your own blog or shared photos on flickr, you're welcome to include a link in your comment.

One entry per person please. We moderate comments, so if yours doesn't show up right away, there's no need (ha ha) to leave another one. You can enter through next Wednesday, January 27th, and we'll choose and announce a random winner on Thursday or Friday. Please check back to see if you've won, especially if we have no way to get a hold of you (for example, if you have a blogger profile, is it public and does it list your correct e-mail address?). Sorry, but the book is being sent from the publisher and can only be shipped to a U.S. address.

Good luck! We can't wait to hear what you all have to say about no knead bread.

© Copyright 2010 AYearInBread.com the book loving bread baking blog where one of our goals this year is to bake more recipes from our dozens of beautiful bread books!
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: English Muffin Love

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Tree Bread

xmas-tree-bread-big
Wouldn't this be a delightful sweet bread to find on your table Christmas morning? It's a breeze to make, and you can use your favorite sweet bread recipe. Even small children can help; rolling balls of dough and arranging them into a tree is a great way to keep small people occupied while you do other prep work in the kitchen.

Instructions, and my quick spicy adaptation for any sweet roll recipe over at kitchenMage: How-to shape Christmas tree bread.

Susan and I wish all of you the happiest of times with your family, lots of good food, and some really great bread. See you all in the new year for another Year in Bread.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday:
What's Proofing in My Kitchen Right Now


Original recipe here, this simple sourdough version coming soon.

© Copyright 2009 AYearInBread.com, the bread ba—oops! Wordless Wednesday.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(almost) Wordless Wednesday: What Are you Baking For Thanksgiving?


Susan's Carrot Herb Rolls Recipe

I think these are going on my Thanksgiving table this year. How about you? What are you baking? Leave a comment, with a link to the recipe if you have it posted.

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