I get a lot of emails asking me to spend my money, but rarely do I get one asking me to spend someone else’s money. So when BlogHer and HomeGoods offered a $50 card for me to spend on gifts, they didn’t have to ask twice. And letting me give away a second $50 gift card to one of you made the deal even better.
I love these things.
Not the flours, grains, and seeds (seen here dragged from their beds so I could assess which ones are fit to make the 6-mile move to my new home next week), although I do love them too. But I’m talking about the colorful bars that clip the bags closed.
If you don’t already know about these little hinged pieces of plastic, your life is about to be changed forever. Okay, maybe they’re not life-changing in the same way as, say, a credit card and Velcro are, but still. Not having to grapple with knots, twist-ties, rubber bands, tape, or springs is huge. I can clip these one-piece guys on and snap them off again with one hand tied behind my back, and when they’re on they stay put.
Attention Bay Area brunchistas:
If dishes like Amuse Brioche (yeah, that’s me), Green Veggs and Ham, Pork in the Hole, Dosa Rox My Lox, and Hare of the Benny intrigue you, read on and keep your fingers crossed.
— Update: the drawing is now closed. Congratulations to Ellen Burchett! —
Hey Bay Area bread fans, what are you doing next Sunday?
I think I’ve mentioned that I’ll be putting my bread on the line at SF Food Wars‘ Yeast Affliction! All-out Artisan Bread Bakedown & Craft Beer Tastiness. My Semolina Sourdough with Fennel, Currants, and Pine Nuts will go up against Dark Horse Bread’s Black Pepper and Fig Sourdough, Go Nuts!’ Nuthing But Net, The Itty Biddies’ Nutty Sourdough, and 17 others to see which loaf will be the cat’s pajamas.
Tickets were a quick sell-out, so maybe you thought you missed your opportunity to come, drink beer, taste all the breads, and vote for mine. But I believe in second chances, so I saved two tickets to give away to one of my yeast-loving friends in a random drawing.
— Update 1/26: The drawing is done. Congratulations to Erin Beller! —
If you’re wondering why bread matters and what’s the matter with modern commercially-made bread, Andrew Whitley spells it out in Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own, and he doesn’t mince words. He spends the first 50 pages or so explaining why the commercial bread baking process (specifically in Britain, although I think it largely applies to most industrialized societies) is “a nutritional, culinary, social, and environmental mess.”
But maybe you knew that already, if you’re into baking your own bread. In that case, you might be drawn to this book’s unassumingly beautiful and wholesome breads, its chapter on gluten-free baking, or the recipe for kvas, a slightly alcoholic Russian drink made from rye bread, sourdough starter, and molasses.
Aside from looking like it would be just plain delicious (which it was), the recipe for Fruit and Nut Leaven Bread intrigued me because it includes the nuts (along with the dried fruit) in the soaker. This is unusual — most recipes call for nuts to be toasted or untreated — and Whitley promised the soaking would lend them “an almost buttery eating quality.” Also, the fruits and nuts constitute a wonderfully high proportion of the overall dough. I must say this was a really satisfying loaf to bake and to eat.
Congratulations to Ephraim S. of Jamiaca Plain, Massachusetts, winner of the Super Peel random drawing.
Now for all of you who didn’t win, listen up! Sometime in the next two or three weeks, Gary will be offering the Super Peel at a great price just for Wild Yeast readers. I’ll let you know, but it will be for a limited time only. So watch this space, get ready to order, and start planning your pizzas!