I love everything Dorie! There’s a reason why I’m one of the staff members at TWD and joined early on. But to say I wasn’t thrilled with this cake being picked for this months DB recipe is an understatement. I host Master Baker, I’m a staff member (hehe I love being able to say that) for TWD so I understand the challenges that come with hosting an event even though the two events I take part in are quite a bit smaller than DB. When I joined DB we were just over 200 members, now we’re at a whopping 800+ and to say I’m not thrilled with certain things about DB lately is an understatement. The not being able to post on the blog thing is annoying, but that’s being worked out and I can live until the new site gets up, but the rest of it …
Lets just talk about this month … I was severely disappointed on so many levels. Not to be a bitch, but our host has only participated in 2 challenges since September (November and January), which is annoying. I don’t mind if I never get to pick a recipe, but to see someone who virtually never participates get to pick is obnoxious. Add to that the fact that one of the least daring recipes ever was picked and we could changed whatever we wanted and I was left saying, does she even know what daring bakers are about? The whole point is for everyone to make the same recipe and compare, if you can change anything about the cake, doesn’t that run in direct contrast to what DB is? Also, as stated in the description of what a daring baker is … “What matters is we opened up and baked outside of our comfort zone just once a month.” If this recipe made you bake outside your comfort zone please let me know. Unless slicing cakes in half is outside your comfort zone this just doesn’t meet that criteria. And, my final vent, our host is so not into it that she didn’t even bother to get the recipe right. There were MULTIPLE errors noticed at the beginning and it wasn’t until one of my CB saw tons of people with cakes not rising that she (not the host) pulled out her cookbook and noticed that the amount of flour was wrong too. Come on, could this month have been more of a clusterfuck? Ok, my rant is over, maybe it’s just a bad month for me. Hopefully, next month I’ll go right back to where I was loving the ever living poop out of DB instead of feeling frustrated by it.
Now on to the cake … Easy peasy. I just took out the lemon because I’m not a huge lemon baked good fan and had zero problems. As is the case with all things Dorie, it tasted fabulous and I, of course would make it again.
I’m not posting the recipe for fear that there are still more errors, so go buy Dorie’s book, it’s worth every penny and then some!
When I saw the recipe for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge hosted by Mary of the The Sour Dough and Sara over at I like to Cook I was both excited and worried. I was excited for obvious reasons. I love making bread and Julia is just so kick ass it’s not even funny. Really folks, we owe just about everything about the world of cooking as it is today to Julia. She’s amazing in every way. My mom was never much of a cook, but I remember watching Julia at my Aunt’s house when I was little. I have vaguely remember being semi bored, I was only like 6 years old, but this is one of those times when you look back and say to yourself, I may not have known or understood the greatness of what I was watching then, but I know now.
I was a little worried for two reasons. One, I am a huge procrastinator and two, I always bake late at night. It’s something about the clock hitting 11pm that makes me want to bake. That wasn’t going to work with this recipe and that had me more worried than anything else. I was actually going to have to start early. CB, Lemon Tartlet and I all decided to bake together, then proceeded to talk ourselves right out of being ahead of the game and doing it two weeks early. Gotta love when your support system is useless Then we decided to bake the following weekend and perfectly enough a bunch of the wonderful DB girlies were baking together. Yay our larger support system couldn’t fail us.
Last Sunday was baking day. The flu had just taken hold of me and I was feeling like death warmed over, but I knew this recipe was relatively easy despite the 18 pages it takes up in Julia’s book. I was going to try to make two batches, so we all got online, started chatting and then went off to proof our yeast and get our bread started. I had two sets of yeast proofing and I have no idea what happened to my first batch, but instead of being a soft kneadable ball of dough I ended up with a brick, a tough unmanageable mass of uselessness. I did the same exact thing when I got my second batch going and it went just fine. I’m just going to blame it on bad yeast because I have no idea what happened.
Then the waiting game began. The next few hours were a mix of waiting, punching down the dough, waiting, punching you know the drill.
Then it came time for shaping. I’ll be honest I know I did it wrong. At this point I was feeling beyond miserable and I could not follow the directions for the life of me. I read them a good three times and in my delirious state it just wasn’t happening. So I did my best to follow the instructions all the while knowing that I couldn’t follow anything about them.
My last rise didn’t go perfectly, at this point I was full on miserable with the flu and I was useless to put it nicely. I didn’t put cans because taking rounding up things to support my bread was more than I could handle so it rose flat-ish and when I got my dough onto the pan it deflated a little, I think I may have done something else mean to my bread to because I think there’s more to it than that, but I don’t know what I did, it’s all fuzzy hehe. Then there was that whole setting up my oven thing … way beyond what I was capable of when it came time to do it. Oh and I think I used way too much flour on my canvas errr T-shirt (thanks for the shirt G hehe) so my final product was a little flatter and a lot more floury than most of the other breads I’ve seen so far, but it tasted mighty good and in the end that’s what matters the most. Basically, everything went just peachy until the end and I know that it was operator error and the operator was a delusional mess so it could have been worse. I promise to try this again when I’m there.
Thanks for a great challenge Mary and Sara! And make sure to check out the other beautiful breads here.
Recipe after the break
This was just not my month. To start it off, I’m not a huge fan of LMP, but that certainly wasn’t going to stop me from giving it a try. Then I had initially planned on making it last weekend, but between people coming over and the Pats game it I ended up with a whole hour of free time all weekend. Now this weekend, I’m sick. Sick or not, it was getting done.
So this afternoon I got the crust started, while it was in the fridge cooling I realized I had no clue where my pie plate was, this was the start of things going wrong. So I made a few free form tartletts and a few in my mini tart pans. I didn’t have dried beans to put in the tart pans, but I read that rice would work. It did, but the little grains of rice stuck to the crust a teeny bit. While I was in the process of pulling them out so I could take the rice out for the last few minutes to let the centers brown up a little more things went wrong. No, I’m not talking about the rice spilled all over the stove, it’s worse. G had put my KA in front of the stove so I couldn’t open the oven door all the way. In an effort to not burn my hand I ended up leaning my boob against the oven door. Needless to say I now have a nice blister on the side of my boob to that will leave me thinking about LMP for weeks. Wonderful!
Then it was on to the filling, I actually had no problems there, but the meringue was another story. I didn’t actually have problems with the meringue, it was more getting the eggs into the bowl of my KA. Lets see first I missed the bowl and only dumped half of the egg whites in. Then I tried adding two more to make up for the lost egg whites but somehow managed to drop an egg yolk in the whole thing, it broke and I needed to start over. Ugh.
Then onto cooking the completed pies. Surprise surprise, that didn’t go well either. Normally, my nose is my timer when it comes to baking. When I can smell it, it’s time to check it. That posed two problems with this recipe, 1. it didn’t really smell 2. I’m sick and I have a stuffy nose so I couldn’t smell even if I wanted to. In the end they were in the oven too long and were a wee bit more brown on top than I would have liked, but they were done.
Other than the meringue looking a little more brown than it should everything seemed like it turned out ok. I tasted it, it tasted like LMP, which as perviously stated, I’m not a huge fan of aka I’m a bad judge of how it tastes. G on the other hand likes LMP, and said he really liked it. The final problem, G won’t eat all of them in one sitting and with my dripping, sniffling nose there is no way I’m giving them away (G gets to eat them because he’s been sick too). So, I stuck the rest in the freezer and I’m hoping they taste ok when G defrosts them later on.
If I hadn’t had all the problems I had, I probably would have really enjoyed baking LMPs, I’ve never made a filling like the LMP one and I may just have to try it again with lime because I’m a lime addict and that part was really fun. I love when crazy chemical things I don’t understand happen on the stove
Thanks to Jen, The Canadian Baker, for choosing this months recipe!
Recipe after the break
To all my lovely daring bakers who are coming by to visit in hopes of seeing a beautiful yule log. It looks like I may be letting you down. I planned to make my log this weekend so I could bring it to my Uncle’s on Christmas Eve, but my little bro had surgery (on his foot, nothing serious) Friday and told my parents to go away for the weekend like they always do. He was sure he would be just fine. Of course, he was a doped up and just post surgery when he said this.
I ended up having to go in and take care of him instead of finishing my shopping and working on my baking this afternoon (I didn’t get home until 12:30pm) and it looks like I’ll be back taking care of him tomorrow.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that somehow I’ll be able to pull this one out of my bum at the last minute and get it done tomorrow, but the outlook isn’t so good.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be making it though. If my sisterly duties get in the way of me getting it done on time, it will definitely get done the day after Christmas. Better late than never right?
If anyone wants my brother’s email addy so they can yell at him for causing you to come here and not see a pretty yule log just ask
UPDATE: Sadly, it’s just not going to happen this month. Not surprisingly with the holidays and such last week was not my week and now …. I think it’s just time to give up and move on to JANUARY!!
Greg – “So your part of an online baking cult”
Me – “yep”
Greg – “Cool”
I am proud, thrilled, honored, excited etc. to announce that I have joined the fabulous group of men and women known as the Daring Bakers. The Daring Bakers are pretty much what the title describes, a group of people who love to bake and are looking to be challenged. Each month one member chooses a recipe and the entire group of now over 300 bakers makes the same exact thing with only specified places where the recipe can be changed or become your own. Sometimes it’s presentation or this month for example, it was the type of bread (roll, foccasia, loaf) and the toppings or add ins that could be changed. For some reason, even though I know many of the recipes will be challenge, it’s comforting to know that everyone else is making the same recipe. If it’s a flop someone else will probably have the same problem I do, if it’s a success I’ll be able to share it with others. It’s nice to know that we’re all in the same boat and not alone in our attempts to expand our baking horizons. There are a lot of foodie blog events that take place every month, but for some reason they’re more indimatading because I would be making something on my own. With the Daring Bakers everyone is united in their attempt to bake the same exact thing I’m baking.
Today there will be over 300 blog posts from around the world of this potato bread. If, for some reason, my post isn’t quite enough to suit your needs check out the daring bakers blogroll where you can fine a list of amazing blogs to visit and you’re sure to find some amazing posts about Potato Bread.
Now onto the bread …
I have to admit when I first saw this months recipe I was a wee bit indimidated. I’ve made bread before and have never had any real problems, but when I printed the recipe out it was 5 pages long. OMG what kind of scary, terrifying recipe is 5 pages long? Are they trying to scare me out of the group. Eek. Luckily, before running for the hills, I decided to actually sit down and read the recipe. Boy was I happy to learn that the recipe wasn’t 5 pages worth of scary, instead the recipe was super detailed and offered tips and ideas. Whew. Even so, it’s been a few months since I made bread so I wanted to make something else to get me in bread making gear. Check out my pretzel post from the beginning of the month. Boy oh boy were those good and they were also the very first Daring Bakers challenge ie the PERFECT thing to get me ready for my first real challenge.
Last Saturday Greg was at a paintball tournament all day so it seemed like the prime time for me to make my bread. Only problem, I’m lazy and didn’t have any potatoes. Luckily, my dog had to go to the bathroom so I took her out, tossed her in the car, and drove to the grocery store. I’m usually not a fan of leaving my pup in the car, but I only needed potatoes and I knew that if I brought her back up three flights of stairs I wasn’t going to be going to the grocery store and likewise wouldn’t be making bread. Like I said, I’m lazy. So I got to the grocery store, parked by the enterance near the fruits and veggies and RAN in the store. I realized I also needed fresh rosemary so I grabbed that and hurried to the potatoes. I had both my rosemary and potatoes less than a minute after leaving the car. Puddles was not going to be in the car alone long at all. I had even pulled out my debit card so I was ready to go, but … ut oh. Somewhere between the front of the store, the rosemary and the potatoes I had accidentally misplaced my card. I was tempted to just use my credit card, go home and cancel my debit card, but the coming week was prime holiday shopping and I would rather shop with money I have. I was only a few steps from the potatoes so I turned back … nope, not by the potatoes, then I headed for the rosemary w00t w00t it was laying right there. Apparently I put it down when I looked for the prettiest bunch. NOTE TO SELF: If you take out your credit card, put it in your pocket so you don’t put it down all over the grocery store. Then I headed off to check out … yay for no line. And was still back to my pup who was waiting patiently for me in about 3 minutes. A minute or two later I was home and ready to bake.
I got out my bowls, boiled my potatoes and mixed everything up, then I pulled it out of the bowl. I knew this was supposed to be “soft dough,” but I never would have imagined it would have been this sticky. If Greg was home I would have definitely had him take a picture of my hands. I also quickly realized that the bowl I had pulled out to let it rise in (the typical large bowl I use) was just not going to be big enough. This was a massive amount of dough! Luckily, I had picked up a great set of metal bowls at a Williams-Sonoma sale and the largest one is gigantic. Perfect. I also like using metal bowls for my bread rises.
Why you ask? Well, my tiny ancient apartment is gets it’s heat from the stove. Huh? Yep, half of our stove is a heater and as crazy as it sounds it works pretty damn good. We choose to put our bedroom in the room that opens up into the kitchen because the back bedroom doesn’t get quite enough heat for my liking, but the living room, kitchen and our bedroom all get nice and toasty. It also cuts down on our heating bills, which anyone can appreciate. The great thing about it is that when I put bread on the stove, over one of the burners, it provides the perfect amount of heat for my bread to rise. I just make sure that the heat isn’t turned up to high and my dough rises beautifully. Before I tried this method I used to leave my dough on the floor next to the stove where the heat comes out. I learned a $700 lesson when one day, out of nowhere, my dog decided to eat the rising dough. She was always good about staying away from my dough until this one day when she decided she had to give it a try. Needless to say 1 drunk, bloated, pooping dog, a rainy drive to the emergency vet’s office at 2am and a $700 vet bill later I decided I needed to find a better warm place for my dough to rise. The top of the stove has turned out to be ideal.
Back to the bread. The rises were perfect, the dough was still super sticky after the first rise. A lot of flour was used during both kneading steps. I used somewhere around 7-7.5 cups of the up to 8.5 cups that could be used in the recipe. The rest was pretty uneventful, the bread rose a second time, I shapped it into a loaf that I covered with butter and a focaccia that I topped with rosemary and EVOO. I cooked the focaccia first and followed with the loaf. They were both delicious! The loaf was great for toast and the focaccia was perfect for my deli meat sandwiches at work this week. Yum. I have found a new go to bread recipe!
Thanks to Tanna of My Kitchen In Half Cups for choosing this amazing recipe!