How Should Rising Bread Dough Look?

Buckets Of Bread Dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Several of you have had questions about the right type of bucket to be using when storing your dough from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. I have many that fit the bill beautifully, these are just a few! It depends on the size and shape of your refrigerator and how much dough you intend to make. There are a few basic guidelines to storing your dough in a bucket: Read More

Back to Basics: The Original Chocolate Chip Cookies

Plate of Chocolate Chip Cookies | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

They are the chocolate chip cookies we all ate as kids and probably still make on occasion. Toll House, of course. The recipe right off the bag. It is the cookie by which all others are measured. The perfect balance of sweet, salty, gooey, chewy and crisp. Most of us, as we got more confident in the kitchen, ventured from the bag and experimented with other recipes. We dared to add oats, nuts, dried fruit, black pepper, and even pumpkin puree to our chocolate chip cookies but there is still a place for the original. Read More

Why is peeling a boiled egg so HARD???

eggs fresh from the farm

This morning my 8 year old son asked me for hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Nothing fancy, just a few whole eggs topped with salt and pepper. I went to the CIA, so this request should have seemed like a walk in the park, right? Let me start by telling you about the eggs. My husband works by a small farm which is tucked into the sprawl of suburbia. They sell wonderfully fresh organic eggs, which have yolks the color of marigolds and taste wonderful. My kids have been to the farm and have chased the chickens that lay the eggs they eat. They now want to raise chickens in our yard. But I digress from my egg peeling dilemma. By the time the eggs made it to the table, half of the whites were spiraling down the garbage disposal. I presented the remainder to my son and he said “these look like zombie heads!” He was thrilled with my presentation and ate them like an 8 year old savage eating zombie heads. This was not the effect I was going for.

Read More

Let’s talk about Pie Dough

I recently got an email from my friend Doris who wrote about her Peach pie woes. The experience of making it had been anything but “easy as pie.” It got me thinking about pie and how that old adage came to pass? Really, for whom is pie all that easy to make? Most people give up at the crust, it is hardly ever as tender or flaky as those you can buy at the bakery, and the fillings are always too runny or too bound up with starch.

I want to demystify pie making for Doris and anyone else who has fond memories of homemade pies but haven’t found a recipe that satisfies. First let’s talk about the dough. In the end it isn’t the recipes that will make or break the pie, so much as the technique used in dealing with the ingredients. I’m going to make a pie with you and show step by step how to deal with the rather simple list of ingredients: Butter, lard (or vegetable shortening), flour, ice water and a touch of baking powder to insure you don’t have a leaden crust. Read More