11 Feb

The French Baker Cookbook Review

The French Baker Cookbook (2)

The French Baker: Authentic Recipes for Traditional Breads, Desserts, and Dinners by Sebastien Boudet

I was really excited to review this book because I the only thing I love more than baking cookies is baking bread. And the only things I love more than baking bread is eating it.

What I Didn’t Like About the Book

There was a lot of detail that was left out of the recipes. It wasn’t challenging for me to put the pieces together because I have years of experience with baking a variety of breads, but someone new to baking would surely be confused. Even I had questions regarding re-feeding sourdough, shaping loaves, and kneading.

Bottom Line: when it comes to baking, this may not be the best book for beginners.

The French Baker -Baguette Recipe (2)

What I Liked About the Book

The book itself is gorgeous. The pillowy hardcover, the matte pages, the beautiful photos of rustic French food, markets, garden, and towns. The writing is romantic, describing the baking process passionately and painting an idealistic picture of French food culture. The author tells a story rather than just providing recipes; I like that.

I was expecting a tome on how to perfect sourdough, but the book contains more than that, more than just baked goods even. It is broken up into sections including sourdough bread, sweet bread, cookies, desserts, and hearty baker’s meals.

The French Baker Cookbook (1)

The recipes that I made came out awesome. I was skeptical about the baguette recipe while I was putting the starter together, but it came through and ended up being one of the best baguettes I’ve made.

The French Baker -Baguette Recipe (3)

La Baguette

The baguette is France’s most popular and most purchased bread- and it’s the worst f their selection of fine breads! The baguette you normally find in stores and bakeries is a fluffy white bread without crust or colour. But with the help of the poolish method you can create beautiful and tasty baguettes. The Polish people brought this leavening method to France at the end of the 1800s and it is based around letting three-fifths of the bread go through prolonged autolysis of 12 hours. The small amount of yeast creates a snowball effect which begins the whole leavening process and produces airy bread with simple but clear sourdough flavour. The method is perfect for making baguettes.

Makes 5 Baguettes

8 cups (1kg) wheat flour + 5 cups (600g) wheat flour
1g fresh yeast
4 cups (1kg) water
45g coarse sea salt

Day 1

Prepare the poolish by whisking the 8 cups of wheat flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl until you have the consistency of pancake batter.

Cover the bowl with a baking towel and let leaven at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

Day 2

After 12-16 hours of leavening the dough should be doubled in size and will smell really nice.

Pour the 5 cups of wheat flour onto a baking table. Create a dent in the middle and pour the poolish from the previous day into the dent along with the sea salt. Mix and knead the dough (there is no need for autolysis since 3/5 of the dough has already rested for 12 hours with the water) until it releases from the table. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest under a baking towel for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into five equal parts and shape each one into a small ball. Let rest for a couple of minutes under a baking towel.

Carefully shape the balls into baguettes. If you notice that the dough begins to tear, you can let it rest a little bit longer so it can recover.

Sprinkle flour liberally on the baking towel and place the first baguette on it. Create a fold in the towel as a barrier and place the next baguette alongside the fold.Alternate between fold and baguette until the towel is covered, that way the baguettes won’t touch each other but will support each other.

Sprinkle flour on top of the baguettes and cover them with another baking towel. Let the baguettes leaven at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 500F with a baking stone if you have one.

If you have a baking stone, roll the baguettes from the baking towel onto a floured pizza peel (or to the back of a baking sheet that has been floured). Otherwise, you can place the baguettes carefully onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Score the flour dusted baguettes lengthwise (carefully and not too quickly as they can lose their structure). Note: never score baguettes straight across.

Bake the baguettes in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Let the baguettes cool down on a rack for at least 45 minutes.

The French Baker -Baguette Recipe (1)

01 Apr

BAGELS!

Who doesn’t love Bagels, amiright?

Bagels! Heck, yeah!

I don’t love traditional bagels though. I’m too young to have lived through the time when bagels were at their prime so I don’t experience nostalgia from a handmade, very chewy yet slightly crispy bagel.

Some traditionalists might say that all I know are the bastardized version of ‘bagels’ that came about after industrialization of bakeries. . . but that’s what I like.

Bagels! Heck, yeah!

This is the recipe that I like. It doesn’t use high gluten bread flour or barley malt and it has a relatively high water content (by bagel standards), but it’s good. I’m willing to experiment with some bagel variations in the future, but right now this version hits the spot.

These are my bagels with a slight crisp to the crust, a bready crumb, and a hint of sweetness.

Bagels! Heck, yeah!

I made some this week for my friends who came over on Saturday morning for an Easter breakfast get-together. I think they were a hit!

Oh, and Happy Easter!

17 Mar

Nutella Banana Rolls

So I haven’t been doing too well with my Sugar Free Lent these last couple of weeks. My sugar cravings have come back and I’ve been sampling more and more desserts. Also I’ve been caving completely on Sundays (because, technically, Sunday’s don’t count). Today for instance I had a piece of pie and ice cream, and I sweetened my coffee with cinnamon sugar.

It’s rough.

Last Sunday I ate these:

Nutella Banana Rolls

Nutella Banana Rolls

This is one of Matt’s favourite types of bread that I make.

Use a soft white bread dough (like this one)

Roll it out with a rolling pin into a big rectangle

Spread nutella and mashed banana on top

And then roll it up like a cinnamon bun.

You can either bake it as a loaf or cut it into buns (cinnamon bun style) and bake it that way. 350F for 30min or so should do the trick.

Spread nutella on top after it’s baked for extra luxuriousness. It totally hits the spot.

Nutella Banana Bread as a loafThis version was made as a loaf

15 Mar

Super Soft White Bread

It’s the 15th of the month, that means it’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge. The theme for this month is Gelatinized Starch.

I know it probably doesn’t sound as exciting as macarons(!) or cookies(!) or pie(!), but to me it’s super exciting because it means bread making. . . an you know I love bread making.

It can go by many names—tangzhong method, scalded flour, water roux—but they’re all essentially the same thing: Gelatinized Starch.

Super Soft White Bread

How Gelatinized Starch Works to Make a Soft Bread

Flour is made up of starch granules. Let’s think of them as bricks.

If you take some of that flour then add water and heat up, the starch gelatinizes. The starch granules in the flour will suck up all the water until they explode (think of a brick crumbling into sand) into starch molecules which suspend themselves in the water.

Your standard bread recipe doesn’t have the moisture, heat, or time for the starches to gelatinize during the baking process, so the bread is like a sturdy house built of starch ‘bricks’. It’s dense.

However, if you make ‘sand ‘ by gelatinizing the starch before baking the bread, then you’ll build yourself a sandcastle or, in bread terms, a soft and fluffy pillow of deliciousness.

Super Soft White Bread

Super Soft White Bread

Makes two 9”x5” loaves
Adapted from Christine’s Recipes

So in this recipe your starter is some flour that’s been heated up with water to 65*C to create a gel (known as the tangzhong method). This is added to the final dough, making a soft and fluffy bread.

This recipe is great on it’s own as a sandwich bread. It also makes a really good base for sweet breads (like cinnamon bread, or hot cross buns, or buns filled with custard) which are best with dough that has a soft crust and light crumb like this one does.

Starter Ingredients:

50g/ 1/3 cup bread flour
250ml/ 1 cup water

Final Dough Ingredients:

700g/ 5 cups bread flour
110g/ 1/2 cup sugar
10g/ 2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
250mL/ 1 cup water
All of the starter
12g/ 4 tsp instant yeast
60g/ 3 Tbsp oil

Directions – starter:

In a small saucepan whisk the flour into the water and remove lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Heat the mixture to 65*C. It will be thick and hold the ‘lines’ made by stirring with the whisk.

Tangzhong - see all the streaky lines?

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking right onto the surface of the starter. Let cool. It can be used immediately once cool or stored in the fridge for a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey.

Directions – final dough:

Combine all the dough ingredients into the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and then switch to the dough hook. (You can also mix the whole thing in a bowl with your hands and knead it manually). Knead on high speed for 6-10 minutes until the dough is elastic, smooth, and not sticky. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Transfer to a clean, floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Flatten each portion of dough into an oval shape. Fold like a letter: 1/3 from top edge to the middle and press, then fold 1/3 from bottom to the middle and press. From the narrow end, roll the dough into a cylinder. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Fold overFold over againRoll upSide by side in baking pan

Place 3 side by side into each of 2 greased 9”x5” loaf tins, with seal facing down. Cover and proof in a warm place until double in size.

Bake in a pre-heated 356F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it’s thoroughly cooled.

Super Soft White Bread

 

 


BakingPartners



15 Nov

How to Shape Kaiser Buns

It’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge. The theme for November is Shaped Dinner Rolls. I’m happy that it was a bread challenge this month because I really don’t need any more desserts around here (except, maybe a few more of those Food for the Gods bars, those were delightful) and because I already make bread all the time.

I decided to do a Kaiser Bun for this challenge. Matt was bugging me to make burgers for dinner one night this week so I figured Kaisers would be a good burger bun.

Kaiser Buns

For this dough itself I actually used a Vienna Bread recipe which has a basis of a baguette dough but includes extra enrichments of a little butter, egg, and sugar making it more tender with a denser crumb and softer crust, kinda like American white bread.

Typically Kaiser Buns are stamped with a press that looks like this:

Kaiser Stamp

I don’t have one of those and I suspect that not many people do, so you can go the “knotted roll” route instead. It’s actually not that hard. Coming from me (ie. the girl who bakes bread for the sole fact that it doesn’t have to look nice, and who has no skills to make anything look attractive) that’s saying something.

The look will be a little less uniform that you’ll get from a stamp, more rustic, but still really “kaiserish” looking. Here it goes. . .

How to Shape Kaiser Buns

For burger-sized buns, divide the dough into 85-115g (3-4 oz) pieces with a pastry cutter.

Roll each piece into a dough snake about 45cm (18”) in length.

Roll each piece into a log about 45cm (18”) in length.

Tie the snake into a regular ‘ol knot.

Tie the snake into a regular ‘ol knot.

Take the “over” end and loop it under and through the centre to make a nub in the middle of the hole.

Loop the “over” end, under and through the centre to make a nub in the middle of the whole.

Then take the “under” end and loop it over and squeeze it down into the whole to make a nub coming out of the bottom.

Then take the “under” end and loop it over and squeeze it down into the whole to make a nub coming out of the bottom.

And voila! Kaiser Buns.

Pre-proofing

Proof the buns until they are double in size (1-1.5h). To finish them off, just brush with water, milk, or egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Proofed Buns

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 400F and bake 15 – 30 minutes more (until medium golden brown)

Kaiser Buns


How to Shape Kaiser Buns – photoless directions

For burger-sized buns, divide the dough into 85-115g (3-4 oz) pieces with a pastry cutter.

Roll each piece into a dough snake about 45cm (18”) in length.

Tie the snake into a regular ‘ol knot.

Take the “over” end and loop it under and through the centre to make a nub in the middle of the hole.

Then take the “under” end and loop it over and squeeze it down into the whole to make a nub coming out of the bottom.

Proof the buns until they are double in size (1-1.5h). To finish them off, just brush with water, milk, or egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 400F and bake 15 – 30 minutes more (until medium golden brown)

04 Sep

Harrow Fair

So one of my breads won 2nd place (and a paltry $4) at the Harrow Fair!

Harrow Fair (9)Note my slightly hesitant smile here.

The first category that I entered was the Whole Wheat Buns category:

Whole Wheat Buns Harrow Fairwhole wheat buns fresh out of the oven

I thought these buns were delicious, but apparently not good enough for a prize. Whatever. It’s cool. The people of Harrow obviously don’t appreciate a soft bun flavoured with cornmeal and sweetened with rich molasses. No big deal. Though, the judges ate a big piece out of it, so they must have enjoyed it a little bit, no?

The second category that I entered was the Crusty Rolls category:

Crusty Rolls Harrow FairCrusty rolls fresh out of the oven

I wasn’t sure how they define ‘crusty rolls’ so I chose to make a pain a l’ancienne which has a crispy crust, as a result of hearth style baking, and a really nice crumb with big air pockets. It’s basically a rustic, artisan-style loaf.

I make this bread using a cold fermentation method which means that the bread is fermenting for a really long time. Fermentation time is what makes bread made from the standard ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast) taste awesome, and for this competition I was going for an epic flavour profile.

I knew that I won second place before going to the fair because Matt’s aunt told me that she saw my bread had a ribbon when she went on Friday. I was really excited on Sunday morning to pick up my ribbon.

When I found my bread Matt said:

“How did they know that you won?”

I looked down at the three buns on the plate and realized that, in fact, not a single bite was taken out of any of them.

What in the actual fuck?!

Crusty Rolls Harrow Fair

If I had known that this was some sort of aesthetic competition I would have made some absurdly pretty braided roll or something that didn’t look like it was made by peasant folk. But no, I focussed on flavour in a bread that wasn’t even tasted.

Am I even allowed bragging rights now?

I’m pretty sure this whole Harrow Fair judging system is a sham show. Curiously enough the winner of the Whole Wheat Buns category (which actually were eaten) was the same winner of the uneaten crusty rolls category.

Coincidence? Hmm, likely story.

Harrow Fair (16)Even the cow looks skeptical about the judging system.

30 Aug

Baking for the Harrow Fair

The past few years I’ve been wanting to submit some of my baking in the Harrow Fair, which is like the Olympics for farm folk. It happens to take place on Labour Day weekend and I always seem to be busy or out of town. But this year I was finally available to enter the hundred-some-odd-year-old competition that pits grannys against each other in all things domestic arts (. . .and farming too, but unfortunately my childhood dreams of raising sheep haven’t yet come to fruition, so I’m sticking to baked goods).

To enter something into the fair you have to buy a membership to the agricultural society which costs $7. If you win the prize is $6. Ummm…? I guess it’s about the bragging rights? I don’t know.

Matt insisted I should enter a pie into the competition because I do make a mean pie. But the last time I made one I brought it to my friend’s for dinner and it was a disaster (lucky for me I had enough glasses of wine not to care…all that much). So, yeah, no pie.

I went with bread instead because I love baking bread and I’m pretty good at it. The competition categories for the breads are pretty slim– you mean there isn’t a category for best pain a l’ancienne?— so I decided to enter 3 breads: white bread, crusty rolls, and whole wheat buns (which were a bonus since I used a recipe that I never tested before).

The entries had to be submitted last night by 9 and there is no way that I’d be able to bake 3 different types of bread after work and have them ready by 9 o’clock so I baked the crusty rolls and whole wheat buns on the weekend and froze them and I saved the white bread for baking fresh last night.

As I was preparing the dough I kept looking back at the clock, counting back the time that I would need to get my bread ready on time and it wasn’t adding up. Shit. I performed some baker’s magic tricks to speed up the proofing/rising processes and I managed to get the bread into the oven at exactly 7:25pm.
Somewhere between 7:25 and 8:10 was the end of the world. The loaves started to get way to dark way too quickly. And by dark I mean burnt. I was pissed because I knew the crumb would taste good but I didn’t want to associate my name with a loaf of bread that had burn spots on it.

&^%&^!! @#$S%!!! $#%&#^! @#*&$!!!

I spent about 5 minutes swearing and throwing things around the kitchen in frustration and disappointment. My best bread was ruined. Ruined!

In a huff and a hurry I pulled myself together and grabbed my other breads out of the freezer and sped all the way out to Harrow and made it on time to the fairgrounds. On the drive home Matt said, “Next year you should just take the day off work to do all your baking”.

An entire day off to bake just so I can win $6? Umm yeah, that sounds kinda awesome.

. . . Want to know what happens with my bread? Read all about it here

15 Jul

Kamut Brioche

Kamut Brioche

It’s time for another Eating the Alphabet recipe link-up where each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, legume, or whole grain from a different set of letters of the alphabet.

So far I’ve done:

(A or B): Buttercup Squash and Artichoke Pasta
(C or D): Grenadian Oil Down with Cassava (Favourite)
(E or F): Homemade Fig Newtons (Favourite)
(G or H): White Chicken Chili with Hominy
(I or J): Juniper Berry Bechamel

This month we look at K or L. My ingredient of choice: Kamut.

WTF is Kamut?

What is Kamut? Khorasan Wheat is more commonly referred to as Kamut which is actually it’s trademark name. It’s a bit odd that a strain of wheat has been trademarked, but according to Kamut International, this is to ensure that customers are always getting 100% organic khorasan wheat that has not been combined with standard wheat or genetically modified. So if you’re buying Kamut and not plain old Khorasan wheat, you can rest easy my friends.

Kamut is a hardy strain of wheat that originated in Egypt. It grows relatively easily with less water than standard wheat requires to produce the same yield. It can often be grown without pesticides since the low moisture requirement naturally deters insects.

Kamut is high in protein (12-18%) making it a good substitute for bread flour in bread making. (Learn more about protein content of flours here). It can also be used in cereals, other baked goods, and pastas.

A serving of Kamut contains more than your daily required intake of selenium, the antioxidant that boosts immunity and prevents cancer.

Kamut tastes much nuttier than plain ol’ white flour or even whole wheat flour. I found it’s depth of flavour to be really very enjoyable.

(Sources: 1, 2)

How the hell do I use Kamut?

You can use Kamut either as a whole grain, cooking it like you would rice, or as a flour, baking with it in place of regular wheat flours.

– eat whole grain kamut it instead of oatmeal for breakfast
– use kamut flour for making pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, or bread
– use kamut pastas in place of regular pasta (or make fresh pasta with kamut flour)
– eat whole grain kamut instead of rice as a side dish at dinner

I decided to use Kamut flour in bread for its high protein content. I thought that its nutty flavour would be really good in a rich bread, so I baked the richest bread I could think of: brioche! But I kept the butter content on the lower end so that the flavour of the Kamut wouldn’t be overpowered bythe butter flavour of a richer brioche.

I think the nuttiness of Kamut would be phenomenal in a panettone, stollen, colomba di pasqua, raisin bread, or any other sweet or rich bread. I’m going to try that next time for sure!

Kamut Brioche

Kamut Brioche

makes 12 brioche a tete

Ingredients

Sponge
1/2 c. kamut flour
2 t. instant yeast
1/2 c. warm milk

Dough
4 large eggs (or 3 XL), lightly beaten
3 1/4 c. kamut flour
2 T. granulated sugar
1-1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter at room temperature

1 egg whisked for an egg wash.

Directions

Combine the sponge ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until it bubbles and rises.

Whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt to the sponge until smooth. Add in the flour and stir by hand with a wooden spoon. Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time while stirring.

Once the butter is incorporated transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until smooth and supple but not sticky, adding in more flour if needed.

Place the dough in a large clean bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic and let rise at room temperature for 90 minutes or doubled in size.

To shape the brioche, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a large log and cut into 12 equal pieces with a pastry cutter. Shape each piece into a ball, flouring your hands and the dough as needed. Then shape each ball into a tapered oblong shape, sort of like a snowman, with a head and body. Use your finger to poke a hole through the centre of the larger “body” of the brioche and poke the smaller ball through it. Place the brioches in an oiled muffin tin. Cover with a towel and let rise for 90 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush the tops of the brioche with the egg wash; place the tins on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until an even rich brown colour. Cool the brioche for 5 minutes, then turn the brioche out of the tins to cool completely.


02 Feb

Moist and Tasty Cornbread

It’s been a couple of weeks since I baked up any bread so I decided to dig into the depth of my fridge for the sourdough starter that I’ve neglected for months. When I took the plastic wrap off the bowl I was blown away by the intense alcohol smell. I considered trying to refresh a small portion of the starter, which I can usually do even if it’s been dormant in the fridge for a while, but from its pungency (yes, I made the mistake of tasting it) and soupy consistency I wasn’t confident that it would come back to life.

So I pitched the whole thing.

I’m contemplating making a new starter this weekend, but I’m uncertain of my abilities to keep it alive. Living things always seem to be at risk on my watch– my sourdough starter, the succulent planter I bought for my desk when I first started my job, the geraniums my mother-in-law planted at my house. Funny how all those things– sourdough, succulents, geraniums– have a reputation for heartiness. They’re not easy to kill. And yet through neglect and mistreatment and disregard I’ve managed to kill them all.

Luckily my dog is still alive; though I probably deserve little credit for this. It’s entirely because of my husband’s care and attention. He notices when she wants food and when she’s scratching too much and when she seems sad and when she needs to take her flea medication while I sit back and watch her thinking that she’s entirely normal. “No Sam,” he’ll disagree, “I think she needs to go to the vet.” And she usually does.

I can’t keep anything alive.

So after pitching my sourdough starter I decided to make a ciabatta bread but realized that I had no yeast. So that idea was scrapped too and since I didn’t have bananas I couldn’t make a banana bread either. So I ended up making cornbread the only other chemically leavened bread that I could think. I didn’t really want it but I was bored and wanted to bake. In the end it turned out so moist and delicious that I couldn’t stop eating it.

This would be really good to make on Super Bowl Sunday with some whisky baked beans.

Moist and Tasty Cornbread

makes one 10″ round loaf

Ingredients

1 cup (6 ounces) coarse cornmeal or polenta
2 cups milk (I used soy)
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

Soak the cornmeal in the milk. Cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugars.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the molasses and melted butter. Add the egg mixture and soaked cornmeal mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon or whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is blended and smooth to the consistency of pancake batter.

Line a 10-inch round cake pan with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in the cornbread batter. Bake the cornbread for about 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is firm and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be a deep golden brown.

Allow the cornbread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into squares or wedges.

21 Dec

Oatmeal Butter Crackers

This week I’m baking like a mad woman for Christmas. I’m on bread and cracker baking duty so I’ve got a lot of work to do this week to get everything ready.

A week and a half ago I started making a Bavarian style rye bread. It’s a really dense, dark rye bread (a lot like volkornbrot) that is sliced thinly and that I’m planning on serving with homemade lox. This bread is a process. First I had to make a gelatinous mash, then I had to grow some fresh yeast, then I had to make the starters for the final bread and cook up some wheat berries to add into it, and finally 9 days later the dough made it to the oven. Now that it’s baked I have to age it for a day or so before cutting into it, so I’m not even sure what it tastes like. All I have to say is, with all the work it damn well better be good!

Sometimes I think that German bread isn’t really worth the effort. I mean, I love the density and the intensity of flavour but it doesn’t seem to win over the crowd as much as a Ciabatta or baguette or foccaccia. It’s a bit underrated.

So for the purposes of pleasing the masses I also baked up 6 demi-baguettes on Monday night and I plan on making a fluffy rye bread and possibly a garlic and herb pull-apart bread.

I’ve also baked two types of crackers this week: wheat thins, and buttery oat crackers. I like to make crackers that have a rich grain flavour and a slight sweetness so they work with savoury cheeses and dips as well as sweet  jams. Both of these type of crackers fit that profile, but the oatmeal ones I just couldn’t stop eating (but then I had to because I realized that they have to make it to Saturday night)

True to my style, I burned a good number of the wheat thins but most of them turned out alright. They were the first batch I made so I learned my lesson for the oatmeal batch. I really do love these crackers. Did I mention that I couldn’t stop eating them? The oat flavour, the butter, the slight sweetness. They’re pretty damn awesome if you asked me and really really easy to make.

Oatmeal Butter Crackers

makes about 100 1″ crackers

Ingredients

9 oz. whole wheat flour
9 oz. rolled oats
2 t. baking soda
1 t. sea salt
3 T. granulated sugar
6 oz. cold, salted butter (3/4 c.), cut ino cubes
enough milk to bring it all together (~1 c.)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment stir together the dry ingredients at low speed.

Add the butter cubes and increase the speed of the mixer until you get pea sized clumps, like you’re making a pie dough.

Add in as much milk as necessary to get the dough to come together into a ball without crumbling. If you add too much milk and the dough is sticky, just sprinkle a little more flour on it, no big deal.

On a floured surface, roll out your dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut it into squares or rectangles using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter.

Transfer the crackers to a foil lined baking sheet (or multiple, I needed 3). They can be very close, but try not to let them touch.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. They will not crisp up in the oven, but once you remove them and allow them to cool on a rack they will be nice and crisp.