Bread Archive

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

grape focaccia with rosemary

grape and rosemary focaccia

It was a 87 perfect degrees in New York City today and I spied an actual pumpkin at the farmers market. I love this time of year, when you expect it to feel like fall but it decidedly does not; it’s like Bonus Summer: cool enough to bust out cardigans at night but warm enough it feels too soon to audition any of the heavier dishes to come this winter. I’ve been gushing over what Sam Sifton called “valedictory meals” in The New York Times Sunday Magazine — “fall dinners pretending to be summer ones” — and I imagine that wedges of focaccia baked with a grape you can only find this time of year, a roasted tomato salad, many formats of cheese and a lush glass of pink wine would nicely fit the bill.

concord grapes

Still, it feels blasphemous saying this, given that this is a Claudia Fleming recipe and I adore her baking so, but it really drove me crazy. The dough was too soft, there was more oil/butter in there than even possible to apply (and I’m not one who willingly cuts back on butter in recipes) and have you ever tried to seed a Concord grape? Take a seat, it will be a while. An almost paper-like exterior gives way to a gelatinous center that has no interest or inclination to give up its one to four (4!) seeds.

so so sticky dough

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, May 29, 2010

shaved asparagus pizza

shaved asparagus pizza

I had a shaved raw asparagus salad last month for the first time and was fascinated by it. It was tossed and tangled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a gratuitous amount of Parmesan cheese and while all of these things were wonderful, I felt they only interrupted the deliciousness that was the raw asparagus. I decided immediately that I had to make a pizza out of it, where the asparagus could be as uncluttered as possible.

stalks
shaved asparagus

Of course when I came home and Googled my idea — certain that nobody could have ever laid claim to such brilliance, such a stroke of asparagus genius, before me — I learned that I had been beaten to the punch by one Jim Lahey, who has apparently been serving a shaved asparagus pizza at Co. on 9th Avenue for months. Years, even. Foiled again! From Lahey, however, I learned all sorts of fancy-fancy things you can do with my simpleton ideas. For example, he shaves black truffles on to the pizza, and dots it with quail eggs. Lahey only uses extra virgin olive oil and forgoes the mozzarella entirely for knobs of tomme de savoie, a semi-firm French cow skim milk cheese with a gray rind that I have no doubt will raise this pizza to previously unimaginable heights of deliciousness.

peeling the stalks

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

braided lemon bread

baked lemon braided bread

I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.

dough, ready for first risedough, rolled outcream cheese fillingwith cream cheese filling

And with a whole day, while the baby “weekends” with his grandparents? One can out-brunch all of their earlier brunch efforts. One can even braid a sweet yeasty bread and discover the directions on the recipe used forget to mention that your [giant, cream cheese and lemon curd-stuffed elegantly woven] soft dough will be impossible to transfer from your work surface to the parchment-lined baking sheet, call in one’s husband to help and together you two can spend the better part of a half hour getting the braid off the counter, mostly intact, without worrying that a little weeble-wobble in the next room is chewing on laptop wires (again). Baby-Free Saturday was wild, people. Please try to contain your envy.

i bought lemon curdhow to set up your braidstart braidingbraiding done

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

breakfast pizza

breakfast pizza, ready

My son’s favorite game in the whole world is Let’s Play With The Other Baby! You Know, The One We Keep In The Mirror. We bring him over to this giant mirror in the hallway and he goes berserk, he paws at the “other” baby, kicks his legs, squeals and laughs. It cracks us up too. Babies: they’re so cute when they’re kinda confused!

pizza dough, after night in fridge

It took us a few weeks to realize how sad this game actually is. My little monkey is so outgoing and eager to make friends that he’ll play with an imaginary baby that lives in the mirror to get his fix. Perhaps, we realized, hanging our heads in the shame of being the worst parents, ever, it is time for him to meet some other babies his age that he can paw and squeal at in person and they can hopefully paw and squeal back. But, of course, this isn’t a story about Jacob’s first playdate, it’s about what I made for breakfast.

cheese, scallions, herbs and bacon

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

monkey bread with cream cheese glaze

monkey bread + cream cheese glaze

A while back, knowing my love of any and all baked goods with awesome names, a reader tipped me off to something called monkey bread which turns out to be one of those doughy delights people have either known about their entire lives and cannot believe I have been deprived of or are 54 words into this post and still have no idea what I’m talking about. Don’t worry, prior to that, I’d been in the latter category too.

sticky dough

I researched it briefly but it turned out to be one of those things that I’m sure I’d polish off in ten seconds flat if you placed it before me, but that I’d never make myself because it turns out people largely make it with canned biscuit dough and I knew I’d never be able to bring myself to. Or at least not when I make such damned fine biscuits without cans.

didn't stay sticky long

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