Brød And Taylor Folding Proofer Review and Giveaway

I’ll be honest: the Brød and Taylor Folding Proofer was not something I thought I particularly had to have. When I needed to keep my dough or starter snug and warm, I had been content with makeshift “proofing boxes”: the oven with the light on, the top of my stove under the range hood lights, or a big plastic bag with a frequently-changed bowl of warm water.

But now that I have one, I’m over makeshift. The Brød and Taylor Folding Proofer is a tool that does one thing, does it well and without a fuss, and makes my baking life easier. It’s hard to ask for more than that from your equipment, isn’t it?

Plug it in, set the temperature, nestle your fermenting dough or proofing loaf inside its cozy incubator, and rest easy. Your dough will be well-cared-for at a consistent temperature, even if the temperature in your kitchen is not very bread-friendly. And constant temperatures make for more predictable proofing times. That’s good news if you’re a control freak, or if you just like your bread to turn out well.

The proofer has a roomy, collapsible design. It has an 18 x 14.5-inch footprint and folds down to less than 3 inches thick for compact storage. The interior dimensions are 15 x 12.5 x 8.5 inches, which can accommodate a quarter-sheet pan, most 12-cup muffin pans, two or three loaf pans or oval brotforms, or two round brotforms of up to 8 inches in diameter. I can create a second layer for additional loaves by stacking two 12-inch square baking pans with Sklips. I do wish the proofer were just a skosh larger, to take a half-sheet pan (13 x 18 inches).

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Parchment Love

I used to have a love-hate relationship with parchment paper. I love that it keeps all kinds of things (bagels, hamburger rolls, grissini, cinnamon rolls…) from adhering to their pans. In fact, parchment is indispensable if you bake in or on metal pans. But I hate that the rolls of paper parchment are difficult to tear off cleanly, need to be cut with scissors every time to fit the pan, and can’t be reused more than two or three times, if at all.

Since I discovered reusable parchment sheets from Regency Wraps, there’s a whole lot more love going on in my kitchen.

  • The sheets can be reused hundreds of times, according to the manufacturer. I’ve had mine for a few months and they show no signs of wearing out.
  • They’re easy to clean with a damp cloth, and a little soap if they’re sticky or greasy.
  • They are easy to cut to the exact dimensions of your pans. The uncut size is 13 x 17 inches, large enough for a sheet pan, two 8-inch cake pans, or two 9 x 13-inch pans (which are usually a little smaller than that at the bottom). It’s worth having one for each pan you use regularly.
  • Once they’re cut to size, they can be stored right in their pans.
  • They can be used in oven temperatures up to 500F. Paper burns at 450.
  • They are more “nonstick” than paper parchment. I used to need copious amounts of semolina to keep bagels from sticking to the paper. With these sheets I don’t need any.

sourdough-sesame-bagels-2-wild-yeast

And here’s even more for you to love: Forget flowers and chocolate — I would love to send some love to your kitchen in time for Valentine’s Day,  in the form of two reusable parchment sheets, courtesy of Regency Wraps.

Continue reading for giveaway details…

Bagel Miter Review and Giveaway

Cutting a bagel is dangerous business. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2008 there were 1,979 bagel-related emergency room visits. This makes bagels the fifth most dangerous food (behind chicken, potatoes, apples, and onions). If you’re partial to your fingers, I suggest a bagel-cutting aid.

I’ve used a guillotine-style bagel cutter for a long time, but sometimes it doesn’t give the cleanest cut. A serrated knife does a better job, but the risk of accidents is high, especially when your bagel is the right kind (that is, shiny-slippery-firm, not squishy-soft-pudgy). The good people at BigKitchen sent me this Ironwood Acacia Bagel Miter, and I was anxious to see if it would cut it.

Read on for my opinion, and a giveaway

Green Market Baking Book Review, Recipe, and Giveaway

The Green Market Baking Book : 100 Delicious Recipes for Naturally Sweet & Savory Treats by Laura C. Martin is premised on the idea that baking with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and without refined sugar, is better for both our bodies and our planet. If you like that idea, you’ll like this book.

The majority of the recipes are treats of the sweet variety (cakes, pies, cookies, puddings, muffins, etc.). All are made with one or more “natural sweeteners” such as honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and barley malt syrup. The book includes a section on substituting these ingredients for refined sugar in your own recipes. Whether or not you believe (and I’m not sure I do) Martin’s assertion that these sweeteners are more healthful than sugar, you may still wish to “support the small producers of alternative sweeteners — the honeybee keepers, the maple syrup farmers, and so on.”

The recipes — some Martin’s own, but many contributed by bakers and chefs around the country — are grouped by season, and most, though not all, feature fresh produce. Some are designated as low-fat, gluten-free, or dairy-free, and many contain a good proportion of whole grain flours and/or heart-healthier fats such as olive oil.

For me, though, what any baking book that focuses primarily on desserts comes down to is not whether the recipes are healthful, because I’m not going to go looking to dessert to fill my nutritional dance card. What it comes down to is do the recipes work, and do they taste good? The answer here, as far as I can tell, is yes they do (mostly).

Continue reading for recipe and book giveaway…

Real Men Bake Bread, and Sing About It Too

For a cute song, and a giveaway of a cool shirt, read more!
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ThinkFood Giveaway

I’m going to make this short and sweet. These are my flaxseed grissini:

Because flaxseeds are good for your brain, the recipe got to appear in this cookbook:

You can also find the recipe here.

You can enter to win a copy of the book, thereby getting all 50 brainy and beautiful recipes from 50 brainy and beautiful bloggers, by leaving a comment below.

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