However the first quick breads came about, I am grateful. When else do we get to essentially dump ingredients in a bowl, stir, bake, and then be rewarded for our minimal efforts with a warm golden loaf of bread for the table? Here is the basic recipe I've settled on over the years, with plenty of variations for just about any occasion you can think of.
Q: I have been experimenting with different bread recipes, and really like 101 Cookbooks' Easy Little Bread recipe because it uses stuff I readily have on hand in my pantry and is super easy. I love the flavor, but my bread always comes out SUPER dense.
Is there a way to troubleshoot making the dough fluffier? Would a longer rise help? Some new ingredient? Is it even possible to tweak a recipe like this or should I just look for a different one?
Q: What is the best introductory stand mixer for someone who is trying to get into baking bread on a budget? KitchenAid mixers seem to be the favorite but they also have a higher price tag than I'm willing to spend on something I'm not sure I'll use.
Every holiday season we ask a few friends to join us here at The Kitchn for a series of guest posts. The topics range from favorite holiday recipes to family memories and traditions. Today's guest: Anne Zimmerman of Poetic Appetite, and author of An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher. We also toured Anne's kitchen this past year.
Have you ever spent Christmas away from home?
M.F.K. Fisher did in 1929. This was long before she was the famed food writer who composed evocative prose about the exquisite pleasures of the table. Then, she was a young bride who had just moved to Dijon, France with her new husband, Al. The two traveled South for Christmas, to a little town on the Mediterranean Coast called Cassis. On Christmas Eve, the couple drank rum punch and waited sleepily to go to Midnight Mass at a little church on the top of a high hill.
Let's face it, Southern cooking isn't often considered refined, and in the past few decades it has even been villainized for its liberal use of butter. Special thanks must be given on my part to the new crop of chefs and cookbook authors working hard to change its reputation for the better.
Take Virginia Willis, a classically trained French chef with firm roots in the state of Georgia. Her first cookbook, Bon Appetit, Y'all, introduced home cooks to traditional Southern recipes paired with impeccable cooking technique. Her interesting approach to Southern food and warm, welcoming personality merged to create a unique Southern style (and her signature red lipstick doesn't hurt, either.)
Tall, golden loaves of panettone are everywhere this time of year. Traditionally eaten around Christmas and New Year's, this fruit-studded sweet bread can be enjoyed plain or simply toasted — but it doesn't have to be. How about crisp-custardy panettone french toast or even a savory panettone panzanella with pancetta and brussels sprouts?
I'm not exactly sure why these tender little loaves are called braids. In case you're intimidated, don't worry: You don't have to braid anything (there are little slits in the top; let's call 'em fake braids). This is a simple yeast dough folded around a tangy, sweet cream cheese filling that kind of bakes into the bread, making each slice incredibly moist. One batch makes six—and they freeze well, too.
Know someone who is just getting into bread baking? Set them up in style! This guide has everything a beginning baker could dream of, from sourdough starters and proofing baskets to three cookbooks that are a baking education in themselves.
Here is a lady after my own heart. And, I'm thinking, yours. Jennifer Reese set out confidently and ambitiously, with grand intentions of crafting her own cheese and making pasta with eggs from her own chickens. She wanted to answer once and for all the question, "Where is that sweet spot between making and buying?" What she found, among other things, is that raising chickens isn't all it's cracked up to be.
There are elements to the holiday season in which I consciously practice a great deal of restraint. Holiday music? Gotta' go easy on it. Mail-order desserts from Aunt Linda? Ditto. And eggnog usually falls in that category as well. While quite tasty, it can be a heavy finish to an evening meal. However, used sparingly, it can be a wonderful way to begin the day.