Dear Bakers and Friends,
BB Promo Subscription
The Betterbaking.com 2 years for one is on throughout June. Pay for one year, get two. But there’s a bonus this year. If you sign up for the special, I’ll also gift the person of your choice with a full year too – just in case you know someone who needs the perk. To sign up, subscribe as usual at the site and we’ll adjust your account for two years (as well as send on the gift to the person of your choice – we just need their name and email) ASAP.
Hello and welcome to the June 2020 issue of Betterbaking.com!
This continues to be a strange time that only gets more surreal with each passing day. It’s hard to take the ‘temperature’ of myself since the me I’m most familiar with is an oscillating concept these days. Suffice to say, I’m still standing. To stay on track, I have post-it notes on my computer and night table saying ‘only one step at a time’. If I think too far ahead, I’ll be undone. Truth is, I always find summer an odd time but this one is one for the books and it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in my thinking. Writer Adam Gopnick said it best when he wrote in his recent New Yorker feature ‘We’re in an endless August with no sign of Labor Day in sight”. But before Labor Day arrives, there are still convocations, graduations, Father’s Days, birthdays and small, healthy happy babies being born. Ensuring these events at this particular time are indeed occasions takes creativity and effort but we need our milestones, which is also why we need baking. Nothing says celebration quite like fresh baking. It’s the least and most we can do. If you have extra baking – you know there’s people and places who would most appreciate it. You will likely have to leave it on doorsteps or extend it off a stick and run away but it can be done.
On the home front, I’ve been honing my Zoom game. You need to really set aside time to benefit from the offerings of Zoom and Eventbrite because to do it well, it’s a new day job. I found tango classes given by world-class tango teachers, as well as ballet barre class. I narrowed down the online yoga format that works for me which is a combo of local live stream studios on Instagram as well as free Lululemon on YouTube. I joined the New England Writer’s Group (I am hardly from New England but they welcomed me), attended the Jewish Food Festival, a comprehensive, well-organized event with everyone who’s anyone in Jewish food as well as a Town Hall on modern romance with Jason Matthew Weiss. Now I’ve segued to yard visits on lawn chairs with friends which is totally what my mother and her friends did in the 60’s. One friend served me sun tea which completed the nostalgia.
I’ve also discovered the great services of Task Rabbit to run my errands in places I still don’t frequent. I re-engaged my milkman and now have a crushed garlic delivery man. Most any local (small or large) store is willing to let me order online and deposit stuff (bagels, Irish breakfast tea, geraniums, Greek feta and Katy Perry perfume on sale) in my car trunk. My food habits also changed. I like sundried tomato pesto, smoked paprika and passion fruit juice mixed with seltzer and a dinner of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream and half a corn on the cob is not nutritious but hey – who cares? Tomorrow is another day. I’ve taken up bird-watching that goes well with my deck gardening effort where I’m only growing berries, herbs and rhubarb in Home Depot 4-gallon pails. As a first time gardener I decided to be whimsical and just see what happens.
Overall, it’s taken a good two months just to get more settled into some sort of routine. Sheltering at home is a quiet shock to the system that is both subtle and pervasive. It starts with a good attitude of ‘I’ll just watch Netflix and make jam’ but it is a shift of one’s foundations. I’m someone who tends to go about life in (theatre) acts because at any given time, I like to know where I am because it gives me context. So I would say I’m at the middle of first of three acts of this strange play. Now we really get into the angst and the characters!
In short, this is a new life for almost anyone I know and we tend to totally underestimate that and how quickly it evolves. So, lie low, take breaths and keep your courage and your kindness. There’s more than the virus going on out there and we can stick our heads in the sand, suffocate in the undertow (anger, sadness or helplessness) or just stay the course of goodness and hope at the micro level. I pray that it ripples out.
On another note, I have two products btw I’d love to share with you and more extensive write-ups of them can be found on my site. Here are the links. https://www.betterbaking.com/nest-beddings-easy-breather-pillow-and-a-discount/
Best Pillow Ever from Nest Bedding
And 8 % discount for Betterbaking.com folks – Nest Bedding Pillow Promises a Sweet Sleep
Use this link: nestbedding.uxsi.net/V7V4A
Vintage Pie Pans Still My Best Pick
Canyon Crow Home New Vintage Bake and Cookware
As a baker, finding the perfect pie pan is a constant mission. I have a few I adore including anything by Emile Henry but I have one enamel on metal that’s the one I most usually reach for. How I wished I remembered where I got it because nothing is better for pie than enamel on steel. Then I found the company still creating this fantastic line of cook and bakeware: Canyon Crow Home.
As for recipes I’ve perfected my croissant recipe! I know everyone is thinking sourdough, bagels or pita but croissants at home are fantastic. The perfect recipe itself is the main thing and that I’ve worked on many, many times these past two months. As for rolling it out, forgive me but I’ve simply included a link to a video that explains it all. Croissants do take time and it probably will go this way: first effort: taste amazing but looks like a Pillsbury bun. Second effort: looks better but needed more rise, hotter oven. Third effort: Parisian perfection. Find butter on sale.
I’ve also included my sourdough starter and sourdough bread and if you have trouble or questions on that, please email me directly. Most of the time I’m in and available to respond.
The free recipe is outstanding and utterly cheerful as well as delicious; it’s for Brioche Strawberry Buns with a Cream Cheese Frosting. Think of cinnamon buns gone spring-like.
Last is the world’s Best Tomato Tart. You can make this weekly. It’s that good and easy and the most sophisticated thing to come out of my kitchen (croissants excluded) in a long while.
It’s picnic food, luncheon far or the best snack ever. It’s also beautiful to look at.
So here’s to you my baking friends. Stay hungry and keep it real.