Abby Dodge is one of the most talented bakers and cookbook writers around. Her (nine!) cookbooks are friendly and supportive companions in the kitchen, from the approachable and incredibly clever Desserts 4 Today (four ingredient desserts that taste like so much more) to The Weekend Baker, a sensational collection of recipes that harken back to Abby’s days as a pastry chef. Now that you know her name, you’ll see her pieces in Fine Cooking and other food magazines, and check out her blog for the #baketogether project.
This easy-going baking project has been swirling around the twitter/facebook world for a few months. I would see people tweeting about it at hashtag #baketogether, but with all the meat-making going on over here, there was no time to bake and blog. Until now, that is.
It was Abby’s Peasant Boule that got me. Check out her post. Look at that pretty bread. And then, read the recipe. It’s a 4 hour bread!! The extra boost from baking powder makes it no-fail. It’s moist and cakey, the crumb is so tender. It slices and toasts up deliciously for breakfast bread, and turned out to be the best grilled sandwich and french toast bread ever.
I had no 8″ round cake pan, but it’s easy to make do. I used the ring – only the ring, not the base, to ensure a good bottom crust – of an 8″ springform pan. I just put the ring on top of parchment on a sheet pan and sprayed liberally with PAM. Worked like a charm.
This King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder is my drug of choice. Sprinkle it on popcorn for the most perfect afternoon snack. I added 1/2 cup of cheddar powder to the boule recipe to make a cheese bread.
Schmeared a little (homemade!) cream cheese on a slice of bread, layer thinly sliced apples, add another slice of bread, similarly schmeared. Press together. Beat together 2 eggs and 1/2 c milk and 1 tsp each sugar and cinnamon. Dip the sandwich into the eggy custard and then slip into a heavy skillet in which 2 T of butter are bubbling away. Cook slowly until it’s time to flip it over, when a crust has formed and it releases easily. Cook on the other side, smooshing the sandwich just a little.
Again with the cheese bread, make a little sandwich of apples and almond butter. Grill in butter. Serve with tomato soup.
Again with the cheese bread, make croutons. For that tomato soup.
Or make my mother’s tomato pudding.
Another day, I made cinnamon raisin bread from the boule recipe.
Soak a cup of raisins in 1/3 cup boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain the raisins out, reserving the warm liquid and use that (plus 1 c water) to make the dough.
Mix together 2-3 T each white sugar and cinnamon.
Press the dough out into a rectangle, spread on the sugar mixture and the raisins, press down, then roll the dough up snugly, pressing gently. Tuck in the ends, press the seam to seal, and place in a well buttered loaf pan, seam side down. Allow to rise, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, then bake as the recipe suggests.
Mercy, that’s some wonderful french toast.
A cream cheese and jelly sandwich on raisin bread and I was a little girl at my grandmother’s kitchen table.
Another day, I made olive orange rosemary rolls. (And took no photos.)
Pitt and chop a dozen oil cured black olives and a tablespoon of rosemary and a half teaspoon of orange zest added into the dough toward the end of the six minute knead.
After the first rise, deflate the dough and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball then tuck the rolls onto a quarter sheet pan or cake pan, so the rolls are touching slightly and there is room for the rise. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky Maldon salt. Decorate the top with a rosemary leaf.
Allow the rolls to rise for 20-30 minutes, then bake for about 25 minutes. Fantastic with burrata and green olive oil.
Go ahead and let your imagination run free. Just make a boule, and post some pictures or tweet out your success before the end of this #baketogether month.
I just can’t wait to see what Abby has planned for February.