It All Started on the 401: Rugelach

As I look back on what has become a somewhat longish life, there are adventures I’ve had with predictable endings from the get go and others that brought a few surprises. Those of you who know me well know that I didn’t always live in the frigid north-west of this vast country of ours. Nope. I started out in the “big city” and, to tell you the truth, was perfectly content there until it became apparent that, after much hard work and study, there was going to be little demand for someone with degrees in sociology and english (who would have thought!) in what could only be described as a challenging employment market. So what does one do when hard times hit? If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. You “go west young man”. And while that sentiment doesn’t exactly fit, I did in fact, go west. And stayed there for over 40 years so as you can see, there’s potential here for a very long story which I will do my best to truncate. 

It all started on Highway 401 in a 1970 fuel injection, Volkswagen Squareback Station wagon whose name, if I remember correctly, was Frodo. Northern Ontario is scenic, at least for the first day or so, at which point driving through miles and miles of forest with not even the remote possibility of passing a flush toilet, or any other kind for that matter, does get a little tedious. As we waved goodbye to Ontariairio, we stopped for a quick boo around Winnipeg which, because it was not yet winter, was tolerable. From there our plan was to head for the mountains before making our way to our final destination where we had heard that jobs were aplenty. Ok. So you know what they say about the best laid plans. That’s right. Not long after leaving “the Peg” as the locals know it, our little Frodo decided he was no longer going to accompany us on this journey of ours and he just stopped. That’s right. Stopped dead. Right there in the middle of the Trans Canada Highway for seemingly no reason at all. Unless you consider throwing a piston through the engine block reason enough. Which left us just shy of Elie Manitoba.

Now many of you may not have been to Elie in the late 1970s so let me tell you a little bit about it. It won’t take long. Elie was, and perhaps still is although I can’t say for sure not ever having revisited, a railway town about 30 miles west of Winnipeg. On one side of the highway there was a gas station (thankfully) and on the other side was Elie, with its approximately one hundred houses (honestly I never counted) and one hotel. You’ll just have to believe me when I say this was no Motel 6. This was the kind of hotel where people lived full-time, but not because they really wanted to. And where we were to spend the next three days, fortunately in one of the few “bathroom adjoined” rooms, while the very lovely people at the aforementioned gas station worked tirelessly to try to find us a solution to our problem. Alas to no avail. There were just no 1970 Volkswagen Squareback Station Wagon fuel injection rebuilt engines to be had no matter how many trips to Winnipeg our new friends at Esso made. So it was in Elie that our plans fell off the rails (swidt?) and onto a bus which carried us to our final destination, Edmonton. Thankfully, despite the rather dubious start, we enjoyed our many years there with our growing family, wonderful friends and yes, those jobs that enticed us on our journey in the first place. Until recently when we landed on this little Island of ours. 

Which brings me to the next chapter in this longish story of mine. Rugelach. As you are well aware, I am not a baker. In all those 40+ years in the north country I can count the number of times I baked anything on one finger. I might have mentioned this once or twice before so I won’t go into it here but if anyone had asked me what I thought my future would look like, the last thing I would have said was chocolate chips and cookie dough. So this is as much a surprise to me as it is to you. The thing is, all it took was one afternoon, baking rugelach with the walking ladies for this new journey to begin. Maybe it was the camaraderie. Or perhaps the realization that my cobalt blue, Kitchenaid mixer could do more than just look pretty on my counter. I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt that everyone who tasted these cute little crescent rolls marvelled at their deliciousness. Whatever it was, the one thing I know for sure is that it all started with the rugelach and now here I am. Baking up a storm and loving it!  It’s a whole new adventure for me and with any luck, my engine won’t conk out before I get to wherever it is this road is going. 

Ina Garten’s Rugelach

Recipe: Prep time: 10 min; Inactive: 1 hr 30 min; Cook: 15 min; Total: 1 hr. 55 min.
Me: Those times? In your dreams! I make these over two days (dough one day, fillings and construction the next) but otherwise I would suggest you keep your whole morning or afternoon free.
Favourite thing about this recipe: Everyone loves rugelach! And even if like me, you are not a baker, you can concoct interesting and delicious fillings  which will make you feel like a baker.
Least favourite thing about this recipe: Talk to my back.
What I learned: You never know what adventures life will take you on, so hop into that Volkswagen and see where it goes. Just be prepared for a little dead yeast along the way. (And that’s a whole other story.) 

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Baking: Not Always a Bowl of Cherries

If you are anything like me, and I’m not suggesting you are, you know that no matter what you do, sometimes things go right and sometimes they go wrong. The thing is, from the get go you never know exactly how it’s all going to end up. Hopefully for all of us, we have more “rights” than “wrongs”, “goods” than “bads”, but it’s my experience that the best laid plans, as they say, can most certainly go awry. Of course no one starts out thinking that whatever it is they are doing or making might turn out to be a disaster. Most of us embark on our projects with a modicum of optimism and at least some confidence that things will turn out a-ok. It’s just that it ain’t always so. Even when you do your best to follow all of the instructions. 

Remember that first time you bought furniture from Ikea? It all looked so simple while you were in the store. Mostly because it had already been assembled by someone other than you. As you carefully scrutinized each and every angle of what you thought could finally be the culmination of your endless search for that perfect wall unit, one that could hold all of your tchotchkes, not to mention your brand new flat screen TV, you noted that the joints fit exactly as they should, the drawers opened and closed like butter, and the doors actually met in the middle. No gaps. Get that sucker home and it’s a horse of a completely different colour. I mean who ever heard of instructions with no words? Does the screw go in from the front or the back? And which screw exactly do you use? The one that’s a millimetre shorter? Or two millimetres longer? And what’s with the red and blue thingamajigs? The instructions are black and white! As you peruse your hard work, hoping that the tiny beads of sweat on your forehead don’t stain the wood, if that’s what you can call it, you realize the shelves aren’t quite as level as you’d like and there’s that dastardly gap between the doors. And even though you did the best you could, and followed all of the instructions, such as they were, it just didn’t work out exactly as you had planned because, as we all know, things don’t always go the way we would like. Sometimes it just is what it is. (Remind me. Did someone else say that lately?) 

Take my latest passion. Baking. For someone like me, who is not really a baker, instructions are my life raft. You know by now that without a recipe I’m dead in the water. I follow my baking instructions to a tee. Not only that. I check out all of the comments in an effort to make sure that everything turned out hunky dory for all of the people I have never, and likely never will meet. Not 5 stars? You won’t find it in my oven. I need all the help I can get. Admittedly, on very rare occasions, I do add a splash of lemon, especially if blueberries are involved, or a little red fife flour for a bit of panache. But for the very most part I leave well enough alone and keep my fingers crossed that “god willing and the creek don’t rise” things will turn out as they should. Unfortunately, as with all things in life, baking is not always a bowl of cherries.  Not so much for me but rather for the innocents who partake in my never before tasted goodies. To date I’d estimate I have about an 80% approval rating, mostly because people have a propensity towards politeness. Nonetheless, at the outset of this blog I committed to sharing with you all of my baking experiences so it’s only fair that you hear about the “ugly” along with the good and the bad. Please note: Unlike the current prez of the US of A I absolve the recipe providers of any fault and take full responsibility for these failures. My poor results should not deter you from trying these out for yourself.

 Rhubarb Almond Chevron Cake

Let me just say that I should have known better.
The Recipe: Prep Time: Undisclosed and I think I know why. Cook time: 30 minutes
Me: Prep Time: 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cook time: 42 minutes Total time: 2 hours and 5 minutes. Seems to me that nothing you are going to eat for dessert should take that long!
Favourite thing about this recipe: The picture of her cake
Least favourite thing about this recipe: Having to come to grips with the fact that I have a complete lack of spatial intelligence
Lesson learned: Friends will always be polite but when your husband’s first reaction is “it’s a little dry” you gotta know who’s telling you the truth.

Zucchini Carrot Muffins

I call these my “salty muffins” which I suppose says it all.
The Recipe: Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 22 minutes Total:37 minutes
Me: Prep time: 44 minutes not including the shredding; Cook time: 24 minutes Total: 66 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: More veggies, less guilt
Least favourite thing about this recipe: I really don’t like grating carrots by hand
Lesson Learned: You know you have a problem when you crunch down on a grain of salt. When even your polite friends admit they’re a little salty, they’re really salty.
My suggestion (not that I’m a baker): Substitute table salt for kosher salt in this one. And tread lightly.

Carrot Zucchini Walnut Loaf: Stuck in a Rut? So What!

It has occurred to me lately that I might be in a bit of a rut. Even before this pandemic. Now I realize that those of you who only read this blog and not my “other” one don’t know all that much about me. So let me start by telling you that, while I don’t consider myself a creature of habit, I do have a few. Like breakfast. I eat yogurt for breakfast. Have been doing so for longer than I can remember. But it’s not like I eat the same yogurt everyday. I like lots of different flavours. And fruit. Sometimes I add fruit. Lately I’ve taken to making parfaits. Yogurt, fruit, a little granola, a bit of chia and flax, some honey. The whole kit and caboodle. I’m certainly aware there are other options for the first meal of the day, but I’m happy with my choice. So not really a rut. Just my choice. There’s a difference.

I suppose my movie watching has rut potential. Sure. I have a slight bias towards the Romcom. At least that’s apparently what Netflix thinks since it seems to me they have whittled down my recommendations to one category now. I admit. I’ve watched more than my share of Hallmark fluff. But why not? The thing is, once you’ve seen one you’ve really seen them all. I know that. I know there’s going to be a trip from the big city to the small hometown where the old flame still resides. That at some point the new guy will pale in comparison with the old one. That there will be a missed kiss before the sparks really fly which makes the realization that there is “no place like home” absolutely indisputable. I know all of that which means I can get a whole lot of other things done while keeping one eye on the telly.  More of a timesaver and less of a rut if you ask me. 

And it’s not because we have coffee everyday at 2:00 pm that makes me feel as though I could be in a rut. Seems to me it’s only natural to want a bit of a break in the afternoon. Since I rarely eat lunch (that’s rarely not never) I’m usually a little peckish right around mid-afternoon so a granola bar (I have several varieties) and a cuppa hits the spot. And now, due to the pandemic, we’ve actually experienced a seismic shift (and I use that term reluctantly living here on the west coast), moving our afternoon repast from the local cafe to our very own backyard. Where, if I do say so myself, no two days are the same. One day it’s a hummingbird bathing in the fountain, the next it’s a crow. I suppose due to the caffeine involvement this one could be considered a habit. But with all that wildlife action, certainly not a rut. 

But here’s where I must concede. As I continue to bake and to write this baking blog it has occurred to me that I might be drifting into rut territory. You may not know this, and how would you, but I have baked way more than I have blogged mostly because, and this should go without saying, it’s much easier to bake than to blog. Besides, with baking I get to eat the results. A quick review of my endeavours over these past few months however, revealed a distinct pattern. It would seem that if I’m not baking muffins I’m baking loaves. Different muffins and different loaves, but no cookies, no cakes, no croissant, pies, cinnamon buns, bagels or pretty much anything else. Just muffins and loaves. Honestly, I have never in my entire life baked a cake which should not really be a surprise since, as you know, I never claimed to be a baker. I suppose I could surmise there’s some value in developing expertise in a particular genre. And I’m prepared to go with that excuse for my singularity. But I would like to try my hand at something else. So here’s my promise. For my next blog, or perhaps the one after that, I will bake something other than a loaf or muffins. For no other reason than to make sure I don’t fall completely into this rut. 

In the meantime, my latest kick at the can. A zucchini carrot walnut loaf mostly because I had zucchinis and carrots that were either going to end up as a side dish or desert. I do have one admission to make. As you know, I normally follow recipes to the tee but I made a couple of changes to this one. Nothing drastic of course. First I went out on a limb and used my 8×4 loaf pan mostly because I like it more than my larger one but also because the author did suggest that the loaf is not very tall and personally, I like a taller loaf myself. Turned out not to be too tall in the smaller pan either. Second, I heeded the recipes’ advice and “watched my bread, not the clock” taking it out slightly before the stated 52-58 minutes. I must say that caused me some distress but it looked done and many, many jabs with a toothpick convinced me it was the right thing to do. Finally, and this was quite a leap for me, I substituted some of the all-purpose flour with Red Fife. Despite all of these changes, it was delish. And now that I think about it, maybe I’m not in a rut after all. And if I am, well so what!

Carrot Zucchini Bread

The Recipe: Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 58 minutes
Additional time (what’s that?) 22 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Me: Prep time: 43 minutes; Cook time: 50 minutes Total time: 1 hour and 37 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: Great way to get your daily veggie requirement
Least Favourite thing about this recipe: Grating carrots by hand
Lesson learned: Zucchini is way easier to grate by hand than carrots. Also, a little Red Fife never hurt anyone.

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Banana Sour Cream Loaf: Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

It’s just the way it is. There are times, no matter how hard you try, or think you might like to try, when you really have very little choice about what you can do. Like now. How many of us would like to be doing whatever it was we were doing around the beginning of March? I mean who doesn’t want to go outside? Or have a little dinner party with a few close friends. Or never again have to hear “it’s the new normal” when you weren’t aware there was an “old normal”? But right now for the sake of all of us, we simply have no choice but to stay in, eat on our own, and resign ourselves to the distinct possibility that the next time we Zoom, someone will inevitably utter that dastardly phrase and you will resolve, when this whole thing is over, and all of the commercials tell me that one day it will be, that you will never, not ever, allow anyone to tell you what’s normal, be it old or new. Yes, I digress, but I felt I needed to illustrate why it was that I made this Banana Sour Cream loaf. It was, simply, because I had no other choice. 

Don’t get me wrong. I like a decent slice of banana bread every once in a while. But that’s not why I chose this specific recipe. It wasn’t even the two overripe bananas sitting on my counter that were quickly reaching the point of no return. Nope. What motivated me to search out this particular treat was the approximately half cup of sour cream left over from some other baking exploit of the past few weeks which was more quickly than I realized, approaching its best before date. Which might not be a problem in some homes but it certainly is in ours. I suppose I should explain.

A long, long time ago in a land so far away there was a young lad that worked in a cheese factory. And while it was a good job with the added benefit of all the free cheese one could reasonably eat, as the sun set on each day this lad found himself smack dab in the middle of a very large vat that earlier in the day had held, you guessed it, sour cream. Unfortunately, it was the job of this Cinderfella to ensure that not a speck of cream lingered, lest some tiny critters find their way in to feast on the remains. And so it was that he toiled away at this rather distasteful, yet very important task, with nary a thought of the consequence. At least not at the time. 

Now you might only be able to imagine what it would be like to find yourself in this situation, but since I know this fella quite well I can tell you, from countless hours of hearing about it, that this experience can lead to a distinct dislike of sour cream. Just the smell of it seems to be enough to set off an endless stream of stories recounting those days in the vat. And so it is, when sour cream comes into this house, and let me say it very rarely does, the only way for it to exit is in disguise. It must find a way to leave the premises with not even the tiniest hint of its heretofore existence. And there you have it. As you can plainly see I had no choice but to make this Banana Sour Cream loaf. Luckily for all of us, no one was the wiser.

Ok. I know exactly what you real bakers are thinking. You’re thinking, “why the heck doesn’t she just use plain yogurt instead of sour cream? That way she can avoid the problem altogether!” This is a new blog and many of you have just joined so I get that you might not yet completely understand where I’m coming from. Let me just say this once again. Even though you know, and deep down in my heart I know, that yogurt makes perfectly good sense, I am not a baker. And because of that, I make no substitutions. Yeah. You probably noticed, or soon enough will, that I added nuts to the recipe. Technically that’s an addition not a substitution but nonetheless deserves an explanation. So Mel, this is Mel’s recipe, kind of left a door open when she mentioned there’s a banana bread controversy which has divided aficionados into two camps. Those who add nuts and those who don’t. Far be it from me to take sides. I had some so I threw them in. 

BTW…If I do say so myself, it was delish!

Sour Cream Banana Bread (from Mel)
The Recipe: Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour; Total: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Me: Prep time: 37 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour; Total: 1 hour and 37 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: In the comments someone actually explained that the darker brown colour (as opposed to light) was a result of the Maillard reaction. It was heartwarming to learn there are actually people who know all about that!  Not to mention you can make the whole thing in one bowl.
Least favourite thing: The instructions could have been a little more precise.
Lesson learned: There’s a video! I suggest you watch it before putting the loaf in the oven. Would have helped with the instructions for sure. 

 

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Morning Glory Muffins: What the heck is Red Fife flour?

This was never meant to be an ordinary baking blog. I don’t have any nostalgic stories about how I spent my childhood learning the “ins and outs” of baking from my dear, departed Grandmother, or recalling the sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies wafting from the kitchen as I came through the door, tired and hungry, looking for just a little respite after a difficult and busy day at school. Real bakers have stories like that. I don’t. I come from a long line of non-bakers which doesn’t mean I didn’t have cookies. I did. They just came from the store. And I have stories too. They’re just a little different. So here goes nothing. I am not a baker and this is my story.  

I was pretty excited when Jed from “Cook Culture, one of my fav shops in downtown Victoria, sent me (well not only me) a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins with no coconut bits included. I can’t tell you why or when, but at some point I decided I really don’t like coconut bits and since many MG muffins seem to include them, I have given most a pass, opting instead for blueberry, apple, banana, rhubarb, nuts, well just about anything else. This no coconut recipe originated with “Flourist”(formerly known as Grains), a Vancouver shop that specializes in fresh milled grains. I suppose that should have been my first clue when I noticed the recipe required something called Sifted Red Fife flour. Not only that, it also listed just plain old Red Fife flour. So there I was. Desperately wanting to try my hand at these muffins all the while wondering, what the heck was Red Fife flour? Sifted or not. 

As a non-baker my familiarity with flour comes primarily from that well-known fella who lives in the forest and robs the rich to give to the poor. Varieties, as far as I was concerned, included white, whole wheat, pastry, and bread although, truth be told,  my pantry most frequently housed “all-purpose” because after all, how can you go wrong with something that works for everything? Little did I know there was a whole new world of grains out there just waiting for me to discover. My search for Red Fife started on the internet. I soon found out that Red Fife is a heritage flour, arriving in Canada in 1842, and considered to be the oldest wheat variety in this country of ours. Unbeknownst to me, and I’m guessing many of you, Red Fife has enjoyed a resurgence in Canada when, in 1988, Sharon Rempel planted half a pound of the seed and by 2007 over 500 tons a year were being harvested. Trust me. There’s nothing you can’t learn from the world wide web, or from this blog.

Ok. So now that I knew what it was I had to figure out where to get it. I started with my new friend Jed who kindly responded to my rather frantic email with some possible local suppliers and next thing I know I found myself at a tiny little sustainable grocers where the lovely store owner explained that I had to mill the little bag of grain I found on their shelves into the flour I was seeking. Really? I’m not even a baker and now I’m grinding wheat into flour? Suffice to say I left that store with a rather small but pricey bag of freshly ground, Red Fife flour which, my kind shopkeeper explained, was definitely not sifted. Which means I’m only halfway there. 

Sure seems it never rains but it pours. So I’m COVID-19 shopping online at my local bulk store and what do you think I find as I scroll down their very comprehensive list of stuff I need to order by the gram? That’s right. Red Fife flour. Now I know deep down in my heart that this is likely not the sifted variety but since I have pretty much otherwise exhausted my search I decide to add a few hundred grams to my list, sight unseen. Picking up my order I’m not too surprised, but perhaps slightly dismayed to discover my new bag of flour looks exactly the same as my old one. And since I was assured that my old bag was not sifted the only plausible conclusion was neither was this.

Now you and I both know I am not in the habit of making any recipe substitutions but I really wanted to make these muffins and without a “Plan B” finally came to the conclusion that for better or worse, I was going to have to make due with only one kind of Red Fife flour. Then, just when I’m ready to throw caution to the wind, this happens. Not at the specialty health food store. Not at the bulk store and not at the “grind my own grain” store but at my very ordinary grocery store where I quite unexpectedly stumbled upon a small, but as you can imagine, expensive bag of sifted, Red Fife flour. I could hardly contain my excitement and without even a moment’s pause added my new found treasure to what was very quickly becoming a rather ample, and costly supply of Red Fife. No matter. As Mr. Cruise would say, mission accomplished.

Morning Glory Muffins. Worth the trouble and expense? You better believe it!
My suggestion? Give yourself lots of extra time.

Here’s how it went for me. With a fancy schmancy slide show. 

Morning Glory Muffins
The Recipe: Prep time 15 minutes; Cook time 23 minutes; Total 38 minutes
Me: Prep time 60 minutes; Cook time 25 minutes; Total 1 hour 25 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: When you set the quantity you are making, the recipe automatically adjusts the ingredients. No math required!
Least Favourite thing: Zesting
Lesson Learned: Never store coconut oil in the fridge!

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Let’s Get this Bun in the Oven

Here’s how I see it. There are real bakers who love to bake. If you are lucky, one of them is your friend. These people know everything there is to know about baking. It’s like they were born in a kitchen, however unlikely that might be. Recipes? Who needs one! Measure? Not in these kitchens. They simply know what to do. For real bakers, baking is an art and a science. The most beautiful and delectable creations emerge from their ovens. They are masters of their craft. And just so you don’t underestimate them, you should also know they understand the chemistry of baking. Their vocabulary includes terms like “protein bonding” and “maillard reactions”. The “magic of leavening agents” is no mystery to them. They are aware of the difference between baking soda and baking powder and have a firm grasp on how yeast, when added to dough, “feeds on starches producing sugars, alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts”*. Ask them, on the spur of the moment, to whip up a Mille-Feuille and they’ll reach into that fridge of theirs and pull out the citrusy yuzu cream they keep on hand in anticipation of this very request. Most of us are not these people but if you are, this new blog of mine probably won’t cut into your baking time. 

Then there are those who are not bakers and don’t have even the teeniest desire to be one. I freely acknowledge that used to be me so on this one, I know from where I speak. Non-bakers, as I have chosen to call them, have the local patisserie on speed dial for that dreaded moment when the neighbor, in her most neighbourly way says, “Let’s all get together on Monday for a chit chat. And hey! Bring a little something for us to nosh on”. They know that on “muffin day” they will make a valiant, but alas failed attempt to provide homemade goodies, ultimately requiring a late night trip to the grocers in the vain hope of finding a couple dozen muffins, with no trace of peanuts, that can be pawned off on a bunch of 6 year olds as something that has recently emerged from the oven. They are the first to sign up for crackers and cheese at the office potluck. Non-bakers have mastered the art of disguise with their stockpile of fancy cake plates and heritage (looking) cookie tins all at the ready to replace those nasty aluminum pans in which oh so many store bought goodies are packaged. Not wanting to outright lie, they simply smile and politely nod when complimented on their treats, deflecting any requests for recipes with some long winded story about promises to a great great grandmother, and all subsequent women in the family, to safeguard these most treasured of family secrets. I can’t tell you what non-bakers do with all the spare time they must have, but I’m guessing they won’t be interrupting whatever it is to read this blog. 

Finally there are people like me, and hopefully at least a few of you. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I transitioned from not baking to baking but I can tell you that when I bought my first KitchenAid stand mixer in a lovely cerulean blue primarily to add a pop of colour to my kitchen, I had no idea it was the quintessential baker’s tool. I mean I had a lovely new kitchen with tons of counter space so, why not? Little did I know how soon my life would change. Was it the first batch of rugelach? The banana nut bread with dates? Can’t say but somewhere along the line my life turned upside down, (although not like COVID-19 upside down). Except for one thing. Even though I bake, I am not a baker. And if that confuses you, let me explain. I know nothing about baking. Shall I repeat? Nothing. I don’t know why I add baking soda rather than baking powder or what will happen if my eggs are not at room temperature when I add them to the mix. I can never figure out why dry and wet ingredients have to be mixed in separate bowls even though, in the end, they end up together. And yeast, quite frankly, scares the heck out of me. As a result, I just do what I am told. Recipes are my bible. Measuring spoons and cups my trusty companions. If there’s a baking pan or cookie sheet that self-proclaims “best in its class” and promises I will never again be faced with an unevenly baked loaf, you’ll find it in my baking drawer. Yes, I have a baking drawer. 

You might be asking yourself at this stage of the game, why would someone like me decide to write a baking blog?  Well there are a couple of good reasons the least of which is that even I, the self-professed “shallow gal”, have to admit it’s a tad difficult to come up with ideas for “Shallow Be My Name” these days. Don’t worry. For my small but loyal following I’ll keep writing that blog too, just not quite as frequently. Although I can’t really blame that on the new normal as my old normal was pretty sporadic too. More importantly however, I thought it might be useful for me to share what I like to call the “truth about baking”. You see, for real bakers everything goes pretty much the way it should. For me, and maybe for you, not so much. Let’s face it. We both know that a recipe suggesting a prep time of 15 minutes means setting aside a good hour, perhaps and a half, to get oven-ready. And speaking of ovens, if I were to preheat when told I’d likely be able to roast a chicken as I work on mixing and stirring my little loaf. And you have to know when my recipe calls for Red Fife flour I will scour the city to find it because in my kitchen, there are no substitutes allowed. And that’s the difference between me and a real baker. They know what I don’t. 

This blog is about that. What really happens when we bake. The good, the bad and the ugly. Edible and inedible. With pics. So, without further ado and, as they say in the biz, let’s get this bun in the oven!

Almost forgot. If you are so inclined, feel free to follow/subscribe to the blog. I’d love to have you along for the ride. 

*https://sciencing.com/chemical-reactions-that-occur-during-baking-12731635.html