Welcome to the fresh and springy April 2018 issue of Betterbaking.com!
This newsletter should be reach you just after the spring holidays of Passover and Easter, the reason being I knew most of you would be preoccupied in one way of another with the festive meals at the beginning of April. So I decided to send out this newsletter just a bit past the furor of Easter and Passover feasts so we can go forward and focus on the new treats post holidays. I wouldn’t want you to miss the special things I’ve been working on.
Spring is such a pretty month to bake in! The fresh air inspires our creativity and lifts our spirits; the temperatures, much like fall, are perfect for baking. To me, April is synonymous with ingredients such as maple syrup and strawberries, asparagus and rhubarb, bundled up with renewed baking energy! It’s time to bring your floury self, a fresh tin of yeast and baking powder and let’s party in the kitchen!
Sourdough Bread? No Knead Breads?
For the last little while I’ve been dabbling in sourdough breads. I even took a sourdough bread class which had me frothing to make a fresh starter and start baking every type of sourdough bread imaginable! The workshop was held in a suitably hipster location, i.e. an old industrial facility that had a floor converted into a pop-up teaching kitchen. It was a lovely few hours of sourdough tips and techniques, culminating with a buffet spread of various types of hummus, pickled vegetables and huge hunks of warm sourdough bread. I came home beyond inspired!
I used to make sourdough when I started baking and most of us have had a stint of them. First there were the regular flour and water slurries to make and feed. Then came the Gold Rush Sourdough packets (filled with dried sourdough starter) and then there was a time everyone seemed to be making Nancy Silverton’s grape starter sourdough. And then it got quiet as the trends waned and slow bread was left to artisanal bakeries. But it’s fun to be baking slow breads again. Nothing is more satisfying.
To be frank, I was never happy with my sourdough efforts. So it’s nice that now that I want to perfect things there’s also a new crop of great new sourdough books. As I like big endeavors and new quests, that suits me fine. I ordered some Dutch ovens and other bakeware from Emile Henry to bake with. https://www.emilehenryusa.com/
Emily Henry is an amazing brands (I keep collecting piece by piece) and their Dutch ovens in particular, seem the very best thing next to having your own dedicated bread oven. Emile Henry has specialty baguette and covered loaf pans that convert your home oven into a bread inferno. You can’t imagine how the crust comes out! Using the right baking vessel, along with a simple recipe, I was soon rewarded with amazing, rustic-crusted, hole-laden breads in short order. If sourdough intimates, here’s a link to the classic no-knead bread that was popular a few years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU I’ve gotten so involved with in this genre of bread, I might not even graduate to real sourdough! This no-knead approach, along with the proper bakeware is simply incredible. Next step will be to add some kamut or quinoa flour to the basic recipe ……
This month’s recipe quartet includes trending Blueberry Scone Cookies, a (free!) innately classic French Strawberry Tart, decadent Maple Fudge Topped Muffins and a crisp, lightly sweet Nutella Hazelnut Biscotti.
As always, I wish you a happy new month as well as happy times in the kitchen and in life.
Master Baker, Author
Free Recipe French Strawberry Tart
Blueberry Scone Cookies
Maple Pecan Muffins
Chocolate Nutella Hazelnut Biscotti