Summer bread: Quick, grainy, full of character.
For passionate cooks, the challenge in outdoor grilled, salad, and sandwich weather is baking homemade bread that’s not a many-hour labor of love. For some reason, I’m drawn to soda bread right now (and frequently) because the dough, which can sweep up a range of flours, nuts, seeds, and such, comes together quickly and finishes in the oven in under an hour. This one wraps around the idea and won’t disappoint. Before placing on the baking sheet, the round is rolled in oats, producing a rugged surface. And once the bread cools completely–try not to be tempted before!–cut into thin or thick slices, using a serrated knife.
Quick-to-mix. Quick-to-enjoy. Quick-to-leave-just-the-crumbs.
The underpinning of fruity olive oil plus corn meal, buttermilk, and whole eggs fashions a luscious cake.
Cake, you say?
Yes, and I say this resoundingly (exclamation point).
A lightly sweetened wedge of the cake pairs off superbly with all kinds of summer berries or slices of mixed stone fruit, especially peaches (in cooler weather, poached pears), in a composed compote. The absence of a flavoring agent (overt or in the muted background) lets the slightly gritty wedges form a blank canvas for soaking up spoonfuls of the accompaniment. Or have a slice just by itself, with good coffee.
Thinking out-of-the-bread-box (so to speak) is a fine way to plan out a casual dessert.
sweet and savory baking notes
delicious bites of baking information
Jun 16 -
Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Courtney Burns and Nicolaus Balla, the chefs at Bar Tartine in San Francisco’s Mission District, will captivate creative (and industrious) cooks, whether at home or in a professional kitchen. The cookbook captures the essence of the establishment–hand-crafted, preservation-centered, locally-sourced food. Within the pages of the first section, “Inside the Project Kitchen,” you’ll learn techniques for preparing an entire range of powders, spice mixes, dried fruits and leaves, flavorful oils, preserves, syrups, and sprouted seeds–all with a view toward using the results in the second section of the book, “Recipes.” I was immediately drawn to the “Salads” section and put together the Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing one day, followed by the Beet & Blue Cheese Salad the next day, and the Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt and Chickpeas a few days later: The salads are beautifully designed, taste-wise, and largely bold. To use this book to its best advantage, you’ll need to read through and absorb its point of view, then incorporate the ideas and strategies within. What awaits? Salmon in Clear Broth, Grilled Whole Eggplant with Tomato Jam & Spiced Hazelnuts, Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon, and so much more.
Jun 15 -
baking style diary updates on Twitter by following the buttery, vanilla-scented, thickly frosted escapades of Lisa Yockelson @sweetpinkbaker! Follow along about my Adventures in Baking Land, and see what’s on the cooling rack.
Jun 14 -
Baking by Flavor Tracker: The well-loved and repeatedly-baked kitchen sink buttercrunch bars (page 209) from Baking by Flavor have filled cookie tins far and wide–year in, year out. Easy. Rich and chewy. A raging favorite.
i have a baking question
ask Lisa a baking-related question
Can you recommend a few recipes to bake from Baking Style to serve at a bridal shower? The only ingredients to be avoided (accounting for personal taste) are peanut butter and ginger. It would be preferable to be able to make the sweets in advance. Thank you!
There are many recipes in Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes that take well to serving in small portions. A rich bar cookie is ideal for serving at a bridal shower as a pickup-style dessert, or cake, plated in slices for offering with a dollop of mousse or scoop of ice cream. In particular, the following can be made in advance and remain fresh when assembled within frilly paper cups (if you like) on doily-lined trays: Little Almond Cakes (page 42, and following page), a gentle blueberry buckle (page 45), brown sugar-coconut cookies (page 97), banana tea loaf (page 119), exquisite cake (page 140), edge-o-darkness bars (page 176), confection brownies (page 178), chocolate chip sablés (page 249, and following page), lemon melties (page 265), and wildly lush hint-of-salt lavender shortbread, the unrestrained version (page 303, and following page).
My tradition every holiday season (and at any other time of the year) is to make a food gift. It also makes a great hostess gift. I love your muesli and have made it many times. Can you explain how to make this in quantity–can I double the recipe?
One of my preferred holiday food gifts is a crunchy mixture that includes rolled oats and various other flaky things and seeds, and muesli, my favorite way is at the top of the list. The basic recipes yields six cups. It contains rolled oats, rolled spelt flakes, rolled wheat flakes, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and sunflower seeds. A honey and oil mixture gets poured over the collection of goodies, and it all gets spooned onto and scattered over a prepared baking pan. At some point during the process, wide-flake coconut is incorporated and tossed about, then the whole concoction is baked until everything is golden. Cooled and crumbled, the muesli is light but sturdy. The mixture can be customized to reflect personal preferences–nut heavy or nut-less, big-on-coconut, loaded-with-seeds, all-rolled oats, spice-scented. The core recipe can be doubled successfully, keeping the following suggestions in mind: use 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup plain vegetable oil, and 4 teaspoons vanilla extract; divide the mixture between 2 large rimmed sheet pans (each pan measuring 13 by 18 inches), each lined with a sheet of ovenproof kitchen parchment paper and filmed with nonstick oil spray; bake the sheet pans of muesli on the upper and lower third level oven racks, exchanging the pans from top to bottom and bottom to top halfway through baking; and store the mixture in 1-quart jars with tight-fitting lids, leaving 2-inches of headspace at the top of each jar.
read about noteworthy cookbooks
Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best, by the editors of Martha Stewart Living (New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2014), $26.00
What do the recipes for “Cardamom Quinoa Porridge with Pear,” “Beet, Avocado, and Arugula Salad with Sunflower Seeds,” “Poached Chicken with Bok Choy in Ginger Broth,” and “Citrus Salad with Pomegranate” have in common? Collectively, they represent delicious ways to rethink and recalibrate your meal planning (and market shopping).
Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best is an encouraging, informative volume that will have you fine-tune a food plan–snacks included!–to suit certain goals, whether it is to add more whole grains to your diet, reconfigure or (attempt to) eliminate certain food habits, or add homemade liquids (such as smoothies and juices) to the daily rotation for that feel-good boost.
The recipes, mentioned above, formed the basis for a few of my weekday meals, in addition to “Roasted Edamame and Cranberries” as a snack. All were somewhat spare, in a pleasant way, and simple to execute. The book presents the ideas and concepts, as well as the food, in a clear setting, making it seem approachable and satisfying. The volume is divided into two parts, “Reset” and “Recipes.” The former offers advice for stocking up the pantry with grains, legumes, and such, understanding nutrients, and ways for clearing the body of toxins. The later presents recipes which tie into the premise of the approach.
Clean Slate nudges the reader/cook into thinking about the virtues of eating “clean” and charts its follow-through. The overall plan has options and is fairly preach-free. While I won’t give up a brownie bar or slice of butter cake (not that the book requires that total a commitment), I will continue to add a round-robin of light main courses to the roster of items appearing at my table.
Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2015), $17.99
The Swedish tradition of fika, described as the cultural custom of taking a break in the a.m. or p.m. to enjoy coffee and a sweet (or, occasionally savory) accompaniment singly or with friends, is a tradition worth embracing. This is not an on-the-run, grab-and-go event, but one which encompasses more than a few minutes to savor the present. I believe this to be an essential element of life, especially now, in this uncertain world.
In Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, authors Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall reveal the way to relax and enjoy–by learning about the history and recipes that support the occasion of sharing food and drink. What a delight it is to be reminded of this simple pleasure and, most of all, learn that one of the cornerstones of the experience evolves from a goody you bake yourself (very wise).
In five charming chapters (“a history of Swedish coffee,” “modern-day fika,” “the outdoor season,” “celebrating more than the everyday,” and “bread, sandwiches, and fika as a snack”) Fika points the way and, in short order, will have you assembling ingredients and setting out the china coffee cups. Of particular interest is the recipe for semlor, the luscious Swedish cream buns–cardamon-scented and almondy, and sure to set the mood to celebrate the spirit of the day.