Tag Archives: baking

PB&J Bread

Finally, here is the PB&J bread I talk about endlessly. There’s my loaf, pictured above, about to go in the oven. This bread also turned out great, which leads me to believe that Jim Lahey is a demigod. However, making this bread was a little bit more of an adventure than my first loaf. The recipe is still pretty basic in terms of ingredients, with flour, yeast, water, salt, egg, and peanut butter going into the dough. You have to wait around for another 12 hours or so until the dough gets big and gassy. Then you smush it out into a big rectangular sheet, spread jam or jelly all over it, roll it up, and pop it in a loaf pan for a quick second fermentation before you bake it. This was all very straightforward except for the part where I had to pop it in the loaf pan. I’m not sure if my dough wasn’t the right consistency or if I missed some crucial dough-handling chapter, but after I rolled up the jam in the dough, my bread-to-be looked like a giant, fat slug. I mean a HUGE slug that was extremely movement-averse. This is extra stressful because now you have all this fruit stuff inside the slug, so if you manhandle the slug into the loaf pan, it will just burst and create a big mess. I finally negotiated my slug onto a baking sheet, shoved all his lovehandles into the upside-down loaf pan, and flipped the whole contraption over. That’s why my dough is all wrinkly and ugly instead of smooth and perfect like Jim’s in his book. All this aside, the bread was still delicious. More pictures after the jump.

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Jim Lahey is a genius


Bread will never cease to amaze me. The most basic variety is just four ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, water), and together they create something that exists in almost all cultures and is unbelievably tasty. Over the weekend I dove head first into Jim Lahey‘s amazing book My Bread. I was really excited to make the PB&J bread (which I did, and which will be covered in a subsequent post), but he recommending trying a loaf of the most basic bread first. I trust him and don’t trust my own ability to have a civilized conversation with yeast, so I followed his advice. The recipe is, completely seriously, idiot-proof. I don’t know how he figured it out, but Jim has discovered a completely foolproof bread-baking method. The image above is of my loaf right after I took it out of the oven when it was “singing.” Loaves will often make little crackling and wheezing noises when you take them out as steam starts escaping through the crust. In his book, Jim waxes poetic about singing bread and I have to say he’s right. It’s a beautiful sound. The picture below is my bread after I sliced it open. A few pictures of my dough in various stages after the jump!


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Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies!

Okay remember weeks and weeks ago when I found that recipe for hazelnut thumbprint cookies on Smitten Kitchen and was like “I’m making these THIS WEEKEND” and then I never actually made anything? Well I finally made them tonight and here they are! I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe exactly and my cookies turned out PERFECTLY. I’m so obsessed with them. They somehow ended up looking perfect and they taste fantastic; I had to stop myself from eating all of them at once. More pictures after the jump!

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The Best Cake Ever

I found it. This is seriously the most scrumptious cake ever. I have very strong and amorous feelings about butter, so when I saw the title of this post I knew I had to try it. I was kind of apprehensive about making it because (A) it involves yeast and I don’t often cook with yeast and (2) it’s still supposed to be liquid in the middle when it’s done baking so how the hell do I know that it’s done baking. However, this turned out to be idiot-proof. The cake consists of two layers: a thick cake-like bottom layer (think coffee cake consistency) and then a heavenly top layer. It takes a while to make because the bottom yeasty layer takes 2.5-3 hours to “rise.” I didn’t measure mine, but I don’t think there was a whole lot of rising going on, but it didn’t seem to matter. The top layer is essentially butter, sugar, and corn syrup. When it comes out of the oven the top layer looks kind of like custard that still needs to set, except that there’s a beautiful and delicious golden-brown crust on it. I wanted to eat the entire thing last night. I swear, this is the best cake ever. Bake it immediately.

Image and recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

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Hazelnut Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite cooking blogs. They consistently post recipes I want to run home and try immediately. Today they posted this extremely alluring recipe for chocolate hazelnut cookies. I love every possible combination of chocolate and hazelnut, so these cookies are going to be a must-try for me, probably this weekend. I’ve copied the recipe after the jump, but definitely go check out Smitten Kitchen as well!

Hazelnut Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies from Smitten Kitchen

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