There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
Depending on to whom you listen, however, our standard of living, may, or may not, be threatened by climate change--global warming. Though scary, it is hard to sift through all the shouting and conflicting information to figure out who is right on this issue.
One person, Greg Craven, has suggested changing the question from "which side is right" to "what is the wisest thing to do given the uncertainties and the risks involved?" To me, this seems like a very productive way to refocus the conversation. So, if you are confused about, concerned by, or interested in the issue of global warming please take a few minutes to watch his VIDEO. If you find it interesting or helpful, please pass it on to others.

This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lost Assignment (23 of 42??)

About a year ago our fearless leader Michelle set up a Schedule for baking our way through Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  She gave us a different assignment for the first and fifteenth of each month for 42 assignments.  But she gave us today December 15, 2010, off.  Or did she? 

A careful perusal of The Schedule reveals that the assignment for last time, December 1st, was Number 22.  But the next assignment, for January 1st is Number 24!   And in between she has written "ARE YOU STILL WITH ME?"   So, do we really have an episode off, or is she testing us to see if we are paying attention?

Well, I have not missed an assignment yet, tfu, tfu, tfu, (that is me spitting to ward off evil spirits and/or to avoid tempting fate).  And just in case this is a test I do not plan to start missing assignments now.  Besides, have to keep posting because I have my Groupies to think of.

OK.  My Groupie. 

OK.  She is my wife.

But she is a hottie.

And she seems to really like my bread.

Anyway, about a year ago, during a similar hiatus, I posted about the Pumpernickel Date Walnut Bread from AB in 5.  This year I decided to reprise that loaf, but using the Bavarian-Style Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread from HB in 5.  I weighed out the proper amount of wheat and rye berries, plus a few grams for the "Miller's Measure" (in this case the bit that stays in the mill), mixed them up and milled them in my Nutramill.  It doesn't get much fresher than that.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to include some instant espresso powder and some dutch cocoa powder as in the AB in 5 recipe and I omitted the caraway seeds called for in the HB version because I thought they might overpower the date/nut effect.   

All you do to make this bread is take a pound of pumpernickel dough, roll it out to about 3/8 inches thick, spread about 1/3 cup each of chopped dates and chopped nuts on the dough, and roll it up into an oblong loaf.  Then let it rise and bake it.


It turned out great, and is particularly good toasted.  

 Since I still had some pumpernickel dough left, and because I also had some of the WW Master recipe in the fridge, I also made a brown and white braid.   I did a two strand braid using the technique demonstrated in this slightly unusual YouTube video Michelle tipped us off to in one of the early discussion posts.

It baked up beautifully, if I do say so myself.

So, whether Michelle was testing us or not, here is my submission for The Lost Assignment.  I hope everyone has or had a great holiday of their choice and a has healthy, happy, prosperous and yeast filled new year. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Solstice Stollen (22 of 42)

So now we are into the second half of our Challenge.  Matt is so excited about starting the second half that he decided to dance for us:

Kicking off the second half of the Challenge is the Solstice Stollen.  I personally think you ought to finish one holiday before you start on the next, so I waited until AFTER Thanksgiving before baking for the Solstice.

We had Thanksgiving here.  This is my turkey

We had a Thanksgiving brunch to watch the parade, and I used some Pumpkin Pie Brioche from last episode, which I had frozen, to make the Pistachio Twist, only I made it as sweet rolls.  It was much easier and no explosion!

For Thanksgiving dinner I made some loaves of the Seeded Oatmeal Bread that Michelle made last time (we also had turkey and trimmings, to go with the bread).
Both were great.

With Thanksgiving behind us it was time for the Stollen.  This is my second go at Stollen, I made it last Solstice.   Stollen is a rich German sweet bread containing nuts, dried fruit, and such--it gets its name from Stollen, a wooden post or prop; so called from its shape. 

Last time I used almond paste, this time I used marzipan.  I also used some whole wheat flour I had freshly ground  instead of the white whole wheat the recipe called for.  I only made a half recipe, it was right after Thanksgiving, but I used the full amount of cardamom.  In addition, while looking for the cardamom I came across some dried orange peel, which I threw in as well.  I think it added a nice flavor.

Last year I noted that instead of baking your own, you could get a Stollen from Zingermans for $36, plus $8.99 shipping. You still can, or you can get one from Williams-Sonoma for only 29.95, plus shipping.  With the marzipan and the dried fruit I figured that I had about $4 invested in my half batch, or $2 per loaf.  

I rolled out the dough, formed a "rope" of marzipan, and "S" folded the dough over the marzipan.  I used my 1x2 couche to keep the loaf from spreading too much.

It baked up nicely, and the marzipan formed a nice, but still off-center, tunnel.  

We were also tasked with using the dough to make muffins.  I cut some pieces of marzipan and formed the muffins around them.  These worked out well too. 

We particularly enjoyed the Stollen toasted, which brought out the flavors nicely.  
So that completes the first assignment of the second half of the Challenge.  

All of us here wish all of you a safe and happy Solstice. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Brioche Redux All Over Again (21 of 42)

This post is both a milestone and a watershed!

It is a milestone because it has been 1 year since Michelle kicked this whole adventure off with the First (unofficial) HB in 5 Post, which was also Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  Kind of a nice symmetry.  Kudos Michelle.  (I looked back at  My First (ever) Post.   I notice that I was much more terse then.)

It is a watershed because, of the "official" posts, this is number 21 of 42--half way!  It is all down hill from here.

You know, the English language is a funny thing, and it is interesting to me  how easily simple words can be misunderstood.  Last post I had a contest for a Morgan Shepherd Special Edition Ben's Mustard jar.  It is funny how many people thought it would still have the mustard in it.  But I ate that a long time ago.

Anyway, the winner was Judy of Judy's Bakery and Test Kitchen, and I used my discretion to award Michelle a jar as a special Founder's Prize for getting and keeping this whole thing going.  The jars will make lovely decorative accents for their kitchens. 

On to the baking.  Once again we were to make the Pumpkin Pie Brioche, which was fine with me because not only is it tasty, it is seasonal.  I went old style on this one, and used an heirloom organic pie pumpkin I purchased at the Farmers' Market.  I roasted it and then ran it through my potato ricer.  It worked out fine.  We were to make two breads with this:  Pistachio Twist and Fruit-filled Pinwheels.  Now I am the kind of guy who likes to use a belt sander to do the finish sanding.  So these were a bit fussy for me.

I started with the Pistachio Twist, which required rose water.  Really.  Being in for a penny, I got an 8.8 ounce bottle of rose water.  The recipe called for 2 1/2 teaspoons. Now there are 6 teaspoons in an ounce, so there are 52.8 teaspoons in my bottle of rosewater, which means that I have 50.3 teaspoons of the stuff left--enough to make 20 more batches of this bread.  Who knows, by then I might get it right.  And at least the stuff is not unhealthy--it has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol and no calories.  Speaking of calories, did you know that it takes about 2200 calories of energy to make a can of diet pop, which of course has no calories (and no nutritional value)? 

Anyway, I started out fine with my Twist.  I mixed up the filling, rolled out the dough, spread on the filling, and rolled it up.  So far, so good.

But then the fussy part.  I should have quit while I was ahead.

To make the twist it was necessary to stretch out the log, to make it longer so that it could be twisted.  Since the dough was rolled to 1/8 of an inch, with the stretching the dough got really thin, and in some places  the filling started to poke through.  I perservered, and got the thing twisted.  I tried to tuck the exposed bits inside the twist.  It rose fine. 

But when I baked it, it erupted--a pastry Mt Vesuvius. 

Aesthetics aside this was not an entirely bad thing because I trimmed off the oozed filling and ate it--it was really good.  And the loaf tasted very good, which is what is important.
I plan to make this again (20 times, to use up my rose water) but will make sweet rolls or a more typical swirl bread and not roll the dough so thin or play with it so much.

From that fiasco it was on to pinwheels!

I tried rolling and cutting the dough and then moving it to the parchment paper, but the dough was too tender, so I rolled it and cut it directly on the paper.  I used a pizza cutter and it did not cut the paper.   I made squares, then diagonal cuts at the corners.  They looked like Maltese Crosses.  I put some flavored (light) cream cheese and some apricot jam in the middle, and folded alternate corners to the center. 

I let them rise, then brushed them with egg wash and decorated with an almond.  After The Great Twist Explosion I was concerned about leakage.  I got some, but not too much.   They actually turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself, though some of them started to unfold a bit.  But I think that added a certain wabi-sabi (the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection) appeal. 

I had some left over pumpkin brioche, which I used to make English Muffins.  These were pretty easy to make, but I also could have just made a loaf of Brioche.  Anyway, it seems to me that if you take an English Muffin or a slice of brioche, put on a little schmear  and some jam, you have the same effect as the Pinwheel without the Strum und Drang.  Now I do not mean to be anti-aesthetic, but in the words of Albert Einstein,  "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."  See also, Occam's Razor ("the simplest explanation is more likely the correct one").   So while these were interesting to make, I think you can get to the same place by a shorter and more direct road.  But then, as Robert Frost noted, it can make all the difference to take the road less traveled.  Which is why I have 50.3 teaspoons of rose water. 

So that ends the first year and the first half of the Official Braid.  In the words of Winston Churchill "this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tabbouleh Bread with Parsley, Garlic and Bulgar and Pear Coffee Bread (20 of 42)

As some of you may have gleaned from previous posts, I like Ben's Hot and Sweet Mustard. A lot. Well, apparently the feeling is mutual. Ben's ran a contest this summer, and I won! I won a trip for 2 to be the guests of Morgan Shepherd Racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. My daughter Katie and I got all access pit and garage passes.  (On the way we stopped at Cabo Fish Taco for lunch, a Triple D destination.  It was great.  Be sure to stop if you are ever in the area.) 

Morgan and the team were gracious hosts and it was really neat to get a "behind the scenes" look at a Nationwide race.

We even got to hang with Danica.

As anyone who knows NASCAR knows,  sponsorship drives the sport, and this was one of my favorite sponsors, Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

Which it's a Diaper Rash Ointment and Skin Protectant.

Once we got home from the race it was time to get baking.  The assignment for this time involved making Tabbouleh Bread with Parsley, Garlic and Bulgar and Pear Coffee Bread.  We really enjoyed both these breads.

The  Tabbouleh Bread includes lemon zest, in addition to the parsley, garlic and butter, and I was surprised at how much that hint of lemon shone through in the bread.  But then I thought back to the ingredients--there was almost no whole wheat flour in this bread--only 1/2 cup for the half batch I made.  (In fact, that is my only quibble with the recipe, the lack of whole wheat flour, though there was the bulgur, which for most intents and purposes is whole wheat, though up to 5% of the bran is removed in polishing.)  I baked a (rather free-form) boule, which we thought was wonderful.

With the rest of the dough I made pitas.  With all the stuff in the dough these did not puff, but they made great flatbread to go with grilled lamb. 

When I saw that we were to make Pear Coffee Bread I thought it was a bread to have with coffee, like a coffee cake.  But the bread has coffee in it!  This dough had even less whole wheat flour, and with the addition of the pureed pears made a very tender loaf.  I made both an oval loaf and a boule.

We thought this bread was was particularly good toasted. 

For my 'speriment this time, I decided to try Michelle's version of Volkornbrot with sauerkraut.  I am not quite sure why.  I do not like sauerkraut (except in rubens).   That is one of my (many) character flaws.  Pretty women can talk me into anything.  (I suspect I am not alone in this.)  That is how I ended up married.  With four  children (counting Marissa).  I got lured.  Anyway, this loaf did not turn out too well, and so I thought I would pass on my experience.  

Michelle drained her sauerkraut, but then bemoaned not using the liquid in the bread.  So I did use the liquid.  I treated the sauerkraut itself as liquid, since it is so wet, and for a half batch of bread dumped an 8 ounce can of sauerkraut with its liquid into a measuring cup and added water to get the total amount of liquid I needed.  I mixed the dough up.  Let it rise.  And---nothing.  I thought maybe it was a bit dry, so I added more liquid, and let it rise again.  I got some rise, but not much.  My suspicion is that the brine from the sauerkraut retarded the yeast growth.  I baked it anyway.  It was pretty dense, but tasted it good.  If you like sauerkraut.  Which I don't. 

And now it's time for Trick or Treat.  In honor of my Ben's Mustard junket, I am giving away a jar of  Morgan Shepherd Special Edition Ben's Mustard.  The trick is, that to get the treat you must be hanging in and still reading my post to know about the contest. (This may be a big mistake.  I may learn something I do not want to know about my readership.)  If you are still reading, and you want to enter, just post a comment and mention Ben's Mustard in it.  I can only ship to the US and if you turn up at my house for dinner fairly often you don't get to enter.  The winner will be selected based on my whim,  and in the complete discretion of the author duplicate prizes may, or may not, be awarded. 

So that is it for this time.  Check back on the ides of November for Pumpkin Pie Brioche Redux.   

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread (19 of 42)

This time around were were tasked with making Grissini, Pizza and Baguettes.  A nasty job, but somebody has got to do it.  As the basis for these breadstuffs Michelle gave us some options for the whole wheat dough we could use.  I chose the Master.   I did vary the recipe slightly, following a tip from Danielle at Cooking for My Peace of Mind who wrote about using Barley Malt Syrup.  Following her lead, I added 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour.  For those of you keeping score at home, Barley Malt Syrup weighs 7 grams per teaspoon, 21 grams per tablespoon.  The bread rose well, but I did not notice a huge flavor difference, no doubt in part because the end products here were, themselves, fairly strongly flavored.  I will continue to use it.  Also, Carlyn at Baked With Luv suggested doubling the amount of vital gluten when using home milled flour.  I plan to try that too. 

I first made the Grissini (Olive Oil Bread Sticks).  I rolled the dough out to about an eighth of an inch, cut it into strips with my pizza cutter, sprayed them with olive oil spray, sprinkled them with salt and rosemary, and baked them for about 15 minutes.  They were great. 

Then it was on to Whole Grain Pizza on the Gas Grill (right on the grates).  I love cooking pizza this way.  We had quite a discussion in our Discussion Group about the best way to get the pizza onto the grill, with many good ideas.  I roll the crust out on parchment paper, using some flour so it does not stick too much.
I did not roll it quite as thin as I sometimes do, which makes it a bit easier to handle on the grill.  Then I trim closely around the crust, and flip it onto the grates paper side up.  The paper helps stabilize the dough. 

 Some folks do it paper side down, which is what I do in the oven, but it seems to me to be less likely to catch fire with the paper up.

After a few minutes I remove the crust from the grill, peel off the paper, flip it, top it, and slide it back onto the grates.  A few more minutes and its PIZZA. 

For this pizza, instead of using crushed tomatoes I used some of Michelle's Tomato  Jam. It went really well with the grilled crust.  I also added some sliced mushrooms and, of course, some mozzarella cheese.

The pizza is sitting on my RSVP 10" Oven Spatula, which is a really great size for getting loaves of bread into and out of the oven (or on and off the grill).  It is smaller and much handier than my large pizza peel.

The final assignment was 2 small loaves of Garlic Studded Baguette.  I formed my baguettes, let them rise in my 1x2 couche, and studded them with garlic from the garden. 

I used my Garlic Peeler gizmo to remove the peels, it is pretty handy when you have a lot of cloves to peel and you do not want to crush them. 

 I kept the loaves on the parchment paper when I put them in the oven, so I pulled them out 2/3 of the way through the cooking time to take them off the paper.  I noticed that some of the cloves had popped out, so I took the opportunity to tuck them back in,  it seemed to work pretty well. 

The roasted garlic was great, and we ate the bread without butter, just the garlic.  According to Garlic Central garlic has "a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague!  Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne and there is some evidence that it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels. It can even be effective as a natural mosquito repellent."   Of course, eaten to excess it can also be a means of birth control.  Did you know that the most effective birth control for lawyers is their personalities?

I still had some dough left, and when we made doughnuts last time Michelle baked hers in a mini-doughnut pan.   Sounded like a great idea, so I got one, but I got the one that makes 6 regular size doughnuts, rather than 12 mini doughnuts.  I mean, who are we kidding?  Who is going to eat just 1 mini doughnut?   I rolled out the dough and used my biscuit cutters just as I had to make the fried doughnuts.  I sprayed the pan and let the doughnuts rise about half an hour.

Then I baked them at 325 for about 20 minutes.  As soon as they came out I shook them in a paper bag with some sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Although this was not an enriched dough, they were pretty darn good.

In my spare time, I decided to do a 'speriment I had been considering all summer--zucchini bread.  I used the Carrot Bread recipe from HB in 5, but substituted zucchini.  Since zucchini is so wet, I shredded it, tossed it with a little sugar to draw out the moisture, and let it drain in a colander.  Then I squeezed more moisture out using my potato ricer.  I saved the zucchini liquid and used it as some of the water in the dough.  Also, I meant to double the spices, which is what I did, for the full recipe, but since I only made a half recipe . . . .

Despite all my efforts  and good intentions the dough was still a bit wet, but that meant the result was a little more dense, more like a typical zucchini quick bread.  I am not sure I would change it. 

I used my smaller loaf pan, but a half recipe of the HB in 5 doughs is a bit larger than in AB in 5, and a regular loaf pan would have worked better, avoiding the overflow.

The result?  I think it was pretty good.  My old Zucchini Bread recipe had 3 eggs, 2 cups of sugar and a cup of oil in it.  In contrast, the half recipe of this bread I made had no eggs,  1/4 cup of brown sugar, and no oil. This version was way healthier, though obviously not as sweet or rich.  But that is a good thing in our healthy bread paradigm.  (Just keep saying that to yourself--over and over and over.) 

So that is it for this time.  Be sure to see what everyone else did at the Big Black Dog, and check back next time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Whole Wheat Brioche or Pumpkin Pie Brioche (18 of 42)

OK.  Michelle, our fearless leader does a great job.  She is the best.  We all love her to bits.  And I know it is after Labor Day, so for many, but not all of us (e.g. Carolyn in Australia), Speedo/bikini season is behind us and our white shoes and belts (known locally as the "full Cleveland") are put away for the winter.  But......DAMN!  She put a Pear Tart, Sweet Rolls, AND Doughnuts all in the same assignment!  That just hurts the team--to say nothing of our figures.  Well, mine is not to reason why, mine is but to do and die[t].

We could make either Whole Wheat Brioche or Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  I made both.  I made the Whole Wheat Brioche because I had not yet made it and I wanted to try it.  I made the Pumpkin Pie Brioche because I HAD made it, in our first pre-season bake, and wanted to make it again.  Also, I thought the regular Brioche might work better with the pear tart[e] than the Pumpkin Brioche, which I thought would be particularly good with the sweet rolls and doughnuts.

Before I get to the cooking, I would like to share a new initiative related to that subject: The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.  According to their website, the Alliance "is a public-private initiative to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions."  The Alliance notes that
Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires—the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people in the developing world—causes 1.9 million premature deaths annually, with women and young children the most affected. Reliance on biomass for cooking and heating forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting wood. Women face severe personal security risks as they forage for fuel, especially from refugee camps and in conflict zones. Cookstoves also increase pressures on local environmental resources (e.g., forests, habitat) and contribute to climate change at the regional and global levels.

For the  Pear Tarte Tatin with Brioche I made half a recipe of the Whole Wheat Brioche, using egg substitute and Land of Lakes Light Butter.  I used 1/2 pound for the  Pear Tarte Tatin.  I cooked the pears (I could only fit 4 pears in my 10" cast iron skillet) in butter and brown sugar with some star anise and cinnamon sticks.  I eschewed the optional cardamom rather than risk using to much, which I find off-putting.  Then I  topped the pears with rolled out brioche, and baked it.

It came out well.  I managed to hit the plate rather than the counter or the floor while  inverting it, and it was good with a scoop of vanilla fro-yo.  

I think that some ground cinnamon in the caramel, to give it a little more spice, might be worth trying.

With the rest of the dough I christened my new brioche pan.  This bread was outstanding.

Next, I made a full batch of the Pumpkin Pie Brioche, again using egg substitute and light butter.  Also, using  trick I saw on America's Test Kitchen for a more pumpkiny pumpkin pie, I used some drained candied yams along with the pumpkin.  (Both from cans not from scratch.)   ATK suggests 1 cup of drained yams to 1 can of pumpkin, but I did half and half, a can of each, and then used 15 ounces in the bread.  I also doubled the spices, which most of us who made this dough before thought was a good idea.  Once risen and rested I commenced to make the Honey Caramel Sticky Nut Buns.

I wanted to have them pretty early in the morning, so  made these the night before.  I rolled the dough, stretching the corners gently to make more of a rectangle.  For the gooey stuff, I reduced the honey, butter and brown sugar each from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.  I think I still had plenty.  I kept the amount of nuts and raisins the same, but used craisins to go with the pumpkin.  I rolled it up, cut it into 12 slices and smooshed them into the pan. 

 I do not think that letting them rise the whole time in the fridge gives as good a rise, so I let them rise for an hour and then put them in the fridge.  They deflated some in the cold, wouldn't you, but not much.  Then I took them out and let them sit while the oven pre-heated.  They baked up fine, but I gave them an extra 5 minutes.  I did not want to overbake, but another 5 might not have been a bad idea,  perhaps because the dough had been in the fridge overnight. 
I baked them on a foil lined sheet to catch ooze.

My saintly wife and I each had one, then, for self preservation, we sent the rest to work with one of our daughters who is not only prefect but has red hair.   She stops on her way to work to drop off her Miniature Irish Wolfhound Chloe.   

Zoe(y) and I provide daycare.

The final diet-buster was Indian Spiced Whole Grain Doughnuts.  I made 6 instead of 12, thereby cutting the calories in half!  I rolled out the dough, cut the doughnuts with biscuit cutters, and then deep fried them.

I combined the sugar and spices in a paper bag, dropped in the warm doughnuts, and shook gently.  Viola!

 I put the leftover sugar/spice mixture into a shaker bottle to sprinkle on toast.

Since I had made a whole batch of dough I decided to do something a bit special with the rest, in honor of my sister-in-law Susan's 60th (yes, Sixtieth) Birthday. 
(Not a recent picture.) 

 I made a Brioche à Tête.

I was concerned that the "tête" would just sink into the brioche during the long rise, so I put it into a silicone egg poacher sprayed with cooking spray to rise separately.  Then, when I turned on the oven to preheat I plopped the tête onto the top of the loaf.  I let them get acquainted for about half an hour, then baked it.  

With the onset of fall (at least here in the northern hemisphere) I thought I would close with a couple of garden tips.  I went to an herb seminar by Jim Long, of Long Creek Herbs, and he had a guy's way of drying herbs.  Take a couple of handfuls and stick them in a brown paper bag.  Clip the bag closed (or use duct tape).  Then, throw the bag in the trunk of your car, or in the back seat.  Every couple of days, shake the bag.   When the herbs are dry and crisp (maybe a week, more or less) they are done.  (The bag absorbs moisture and keeps the herbs dark, the car is warm, at least if it is sitting outside in the sun.) 

Also, I grew a variety of cilantro called Caribe that I got from Pinetree Garden Seeds.  It was touted as being slow to bolt.  Some of  mine have not bolted yet, and those that did stood a long time before doing so.  (Your results may vary.) 

Well, that's it for this time.  Be sure to check out Big Black Dog to see what everyone else did with these breads.