Category Archives: baking

Summer 2020, checking in

A photo of a butterfly taken on a rare temperate summer day.

I make no secret that summer is my least favorite season. Doubly so right now, when the central air in our home is broken, the air conditioning in my ancient minivan is broken and I’m quarantining at home thanks to COVID-19. My world has rather suddenly contracted into a 10′ x 14′ room: my home office. Fortunately (?), I’m an introvert, so I’m not quite as completely mad as I might be otherwise, but I do miss the world, if not the people in it.

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Lammas blessings!

Image from https://www.paintingdreams.co.uk/

Lammas blessings to those who are celebrating (and Imbolc blessings to my lovelies in the southern hemisphere!) Also often called Lughnasadh, Lammas is a holiday for harvest and bread-making; of appreciating the bounty before us. I’ve already got a sponge rising for some brioche loaves, because why not?

Here is a link for some history on the holiday if you are interested, including some Old English poetry because who doesn’t love that? 

A Bowl Story

When I moved out of my parents’ house, my mother gave me a set of Pyrex nesting mixing bowls that she had, and that I used frequently for cooking. I love these bowls. They’re a hideous 1970s avocado green and they’re one of my favorite things ever.

Photo not mine, but that’s what they look like. No idea why they’re called ‘Cinderella’ bowls, but they are.
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Meat and veg pasties

I’ve been unemployed for about a month now, and have been keeping busy applying for jobs and all of that fun stuff, but I’ve also been trying to switch up our dinners as well.  Yesterday, I made some meat and veg pasties (pronounced PAST-ees, not PASTE-ees) with stuff we had on hand, and realized quickly it would be a pretty customizable recipe.  Writing it down here to save and share.  Continue reading

The puff pastry saga, installment one

I’m always on the search for new baking techniques to master. One time it was madeleines, next it was macarons. I mastered Swiss buttercream after that. Now I’m on puff pastry, with the eventual goal of reliably and proficiently turning out homemade croissants.

I decided to ease myself into this, since while I was fairly sure I could manage it, pride goeth before a fall and the slow approach is usually the right one. The first step in this saga, then, was rough puff pastry. Specifically, sausage rolls.

Homemade sausage rolls

Homemade sausage rolls

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Yep, still alive. And making peach pie.

It’s been almost a year since I last posted.

It’s been almost a year since I last posted?!

It’s been a year of making: a year of baking, of cooking, of knitting, and even of some sewing.  Halloween costumes were made.  Holiday gifts were made.  And some other stuff, too.

And now we’re back in summer.  It’s hot out, but with the heat comes fresh fruit. And with fresh fruit comes… pie.

2017-07-01 Peach Pie

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Ancient Roman bread

I used a reverse-engineered recipe from a carbonized loaf of bread from Herculaneum to make a loaf of bread. It’s so interesting to see what bread was like 2000 years ago! It turns out it was extremely heavy and a bit sour-tasting (no doubt from the biga acida). My husband and sons love it, but it’s a bit much for me for everyday.


This is a pretty accurate image of the crumb. It’s very dense!

Tarte Owt of Lente

I’m taking a food history class right now (five weeks, just for funsies) and this week’s assignment was Tarte Owt of Lente from Gentyllmanly Cokere (c.1500). This is the first self-standing pie/tart I’ve ever made! My only complaint is that the vent I cut in the lid sealed, so it puffed a bit.

I need to up my self-standing pie game. Think I need to learn hot water crust, because shortcrust really was not firm enough for this.

Sunday afternoon stuff

This weekend has been a fun one. Yesterday I took the family to Sheep and Wool Day at Springton Manor Farm, and what a treat! I had been to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago, and while it is considered the sine qua non of sheep-and-wool events, I actually found it too crowded and chaotic.  It was also quite large and sprawling, a difficult scale for me to navigate with a husband and three sons in tow – and just too much driving for a family day trip. So even though we’ve gone before, and even though that sort of thing should be my bag, baby, MDSW is just not. The Springton Manor Farm day, though – what a pleasant difference! There were plenty of things to see and do, all kinds of fiber arts and livestock and all of the things that make my heart happy, but on a smaller, more intimate and enjoyable, scale.

One thing I learned at the event yesterday was how to spin yarn using a drop spindle! I’ve had a drop spindle for about two years now but never really figured out how to use it. After a quick visit with the Lancaster Spinners and Weavers Guild yesterday, though, I’m on my way to fiber fabulousness. Here’s my first yarn:

Much chunkier than I like to knit with, but I don’t think it’s too bad for a first attempt.

I did my usual baking today – substituting in stollen for bread since I’d just baked our weekly family bread on Friday. I was going to take it easy with baking today, but the Mr. requested stollen (his favorite baked treat) and I couldn’t say no:


I make sourdough stollen using this recipe. I’ve been big into fermented/live foods and have been getting a kick out of using sourdough in almost everything baked.  I use it in my weekly pizza dough, too!