PRiMO Giveaway!

I know if you are a regular reader you might feel I've abandoned you...  Really, I think about what I would write every day.  Every time I'm stirring a pot of something, or wiping off the dining room table for the 10th time in a day, when I'm so excited about learning about Hannibal and the Punic Wars that we scratch the rest of the afternoon to make rough puff pastry and bake up baby elephant ears.  (I even took pictures of that, thinking I might get to setting pen to paper about it!) Time elapses and I don't need to make excuses for it. I have taken to embracing that I'm wrapped up in the hug of a two-year-old, or busy diagramming sentences and reading about Hannibal. The food world will still be there when these boys have all of a sudden grown into men and I wonder where the days of hectic life went.  Those days I try not to daydream of, when my small house is trashed with stuffed animals and legos and it's 4 o'clock and I haven't thought about what supper will emerge from my hands.

The folks at PRiMO preserves reached out to me again this fall and asked if I'd like to host a giveaway of one of their beautifully packaged gift boxes. I felt really guilty because I really love their preserves and felt like their preserves deserved a more prominent place in the food blog world than on my all but neglected site.  My metrics are a sorry state since I've taken to one post a month, and as far as "career" bloggers go, I am just plain terrible at updating social media.  Even so, I am so flattered that they like my little corner of the Internet, and I'm pledging my best to get the word out about their line of preserves.  

thanksgiving cheese plate w/ PRiMO

I hesitate, and rightfully so, to describe their preserves as "product".  They aren't a product but rather something so homemade that you can be proud to have it sent out as a gift, or even to enhance your entertaining at this end of the year time.  I opened my gift set at Thanksgiving when I hosted my parents and we all agreed that these little jars taste like we made them ourselves.  That might be another reason why PRiMO appeals to me so much: from a DIY standpoint, their entire line not only tastes like you made it, but is packaged so well you can go on reusing the heavy glass jars for just about ever.  And don't get me started on the box it's packed in.  As a quality design fanatic, it's just plain nice to have something that feels so good in the hands... and can be repacked and sent on for a new life with someone else instead of sheepishly getting chucked into the recycle bin...

image from PRiMO

image from PRiMO

So I'll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment on this post before midnight on December 10th (that's next Thursday) and I'll assign a number to each commenter in the order they appear and select a winner at random.  You'll receive a gift box of 4 jars of PRiMO's signature preserves, one jar each of limited release Holiday Pumpkin Spread, Spiced Cherry Preserves, Berry Pasilla Preserves and Raspberry Habanero Preserves. You can read more about PRiMO and their preserves line on their website. I know you'll enjoy all of the flavors for yourself, but it would also make the best host/hostess gift or "secret Santa" type gift.  You could also separate the jars, I'd imagine one would fit nicely in the foot of a stocking!

I hope you are happy happy during this Christmas season, even in spite of all the terrible news accosting us every single day.  Even in the midst of that I think it's more important to concentrate on what good things come each day, what blessings we have to be thankful for.  Sweet things that come in the mail, and genuine artists that create!

It's Giveaway Time!

Crackers & Dips: Ivy Manning's Latest Book (And Giveaway!)

Ivy's Skinny Mints

When I think about Ivy Manning's new book, I can't believe that I've been looking forward to seeing the final result since October of 2011.  Time seems both to linger and fly in waves, and looking back over the amount of time that has passed since I first became acquainted with Ivy and was welcomed into cookbook testing with vigor seems oddly surreal.  

Ivy and I have never met; we were introduced online by another online friend who I have actually met in person, Deena Prichep.  Last Thanksgiving, I looked forward to an evening dinner with Ivy as she visited her homeland of Wisconsin, but an unfortunate flu plagued her (and I was iffy about eating, being newly pregnant) and the opportunity slipped by, drowned under the weight of even more passing time.  The good thing about this passing time is that I know Ivy and I will one day finally sit down to supper together, and when dark days hit, I think about this with great anticipation.

I read a lot of cookbooks.  Some year, I should actually keep track and write them all down.  I've talked about this before, how my library was my greatest resource when I was somewhat economically challeged this past year. Kind souls have somehow graced me with copies of books found in thrift shops or book sales, even the occasional author sent me a review copy of a new work I really wanted, when even those $13 meager dollars sent to Amazon were going to be a stretch.  Good things have a way of making themselves available to those who really appreciate it I think...
Amaranth Crackers with Cheddar and Pepitas served with Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Dip
 (Photo courtesy of Chronicle books.)
While things on the personal finance front are finally looking up, my bookshelves could quickly grow heavy with new titles that are worth owning, and Ivy's newest book is definitely among them.  Crackers & Dips:  More than 50 Handmade Snacks is a DIY foodist's dream: and I should know, because I got to make and taste firsthand quite a lot of the contents.  The books that usually find permanent residence in my house are the ones that I grab not only for inspiration, but because I know that the recipe will work on the first go - if I'm making it for the 20th time, or just last minute for company.  The other necessary criteria for cookbook ownership is beautiful design, and this book is also beautifully photographed and illustrated, a unique combination of photography (by Jenifer Altman) and chalk drawings (by Kristina Urquhart).  There might not be a better book suited for both gift-giving and practical use!  Every recipe in this book is going to work for you, for snacking, appeasing the kiddos, gift giving, or party-going.

A School of Fish Crackers (Gluten-Free!)
(Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books)

I decided that to celebrate the release of this book, I'd make one of the crackers that I didn't get a chance to test: the Skinny Mint Chocolate Grahams.  Billed as a dessert cracker, these would remind you of a much tastier version of the classic Girl Scout classic.  And after reading this article on the suspect ingredients in them, I feel all that much better to have a really good DIY version!

I love baking by weight, since it is much faster than measuring all the ingredients traditionally, and is more consistent.  This book has metric weights for all of the ingredients listed. I know that when doing my portion of the testing, I double checked the volume to metric ratio, so even if you bake by volume, you can be assured of a good result.
Skinny Mint Chocolate Grahams (Ivy Manning, Crackers & Dips: More Than 50 Handmade Snacks)
  • 14 T. (200 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. (100 g.) sugar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 1/2 t. peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 c. (185 g.) all purpose flour
  • 1 c. (130 g.) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. (30 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. fine sea salt
  • 1 c. (170 g.) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 t. canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 f. (180 c.).

Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar, honey, and peppermint extract together until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Sift both flours, the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture forms moist crumbs; do not overmix.  Gather up the dough with your hands (it will come together when squeezed), and divide the dough into two equal-size pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a rectangle measuring 4x6 inches, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly dust it with all-purpose flour.  Place a portion of dough on the paper, dust it with flour and place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough.  Roll the dough out until it is 1/8" thick, picking up the plastic once or twice to make sure there are no creases in the dough.

Cut the dough into the desired shapes using cookie cutters, and use a lightly floured spatula or bench scraper to transfer the crackers to one of the prepared baking sheets; reserve and chill the scraps.  Prick each cracker a few times with a fork or comb and bake until they are crisp and smell chocolaty, 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet once from front to back while baking.  Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack.

While the first batch of crackers is baking, repeat the rolling and cutting process with another ball of dough; the chilled scraps can be re-rolled once.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips until smooth.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the canola oil.  Using an offset spatula, spread about 1/2 t. of the melted chocolate mixture over each cracker and place them on a baking sheet.  Refrigerate the graham crackers until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes.  Once the glaze has set, store the crackers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Ivy's Skinny Mints
Ivy's Skinny Mints

In my whole foods kitchen, I successfully substituted sucanat for the sugar, and olive oil for the canola.  I also like to roll out the crackers directly on a silicone mat with a piece of plastic wrap over the top.  I found that I didn't need to use any additional flour that way.  I also cut the crackers into squares in part because I was a bit lazy, but also because there is less waste that way.  And besides, that way I get to nibble every ragged edge of chocolate mint graham cracker myself.

Ivy's Skinny Mints

So now for the fun part:  I was given a copy of this book to giveaway!  This is the first giveaway that I've had that didn't contain something that I made myself (Pomegranate Jelly or Candied Jalapenos), or something that I bought to giveaway (WMSE Rockabilly Chili Cookbook).  Historically, I am a small blog with a dedicated readership, so your chances to win this beautiful book are very good.  I wouldn't mind if you share the post and the word about Crackers & Dips with your friends however, because I know they would appreciate a homemade batch of crackers too.  To enter, just leave a comment below before midnight next Friday, May 17th.  I'll choose a winner using a Random Number Generator on Saturday the 18th, and post it here and on the CakeWalk facebook page.

I'll leave you with the image of my favorite recipe from the book:  another dessert cracker made with rich olive oil, orange blossom water and aniseed.

Spanish Olive Oil Tortas
(Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books)

This recipe is alone is worth the cover price, especially when you consider that a gourmet, wax papered bag of pretty Ines Rosales crisps costs quite a bit in specialty food markets... and isn't it so much better to make it yourself anyway?

Congratulations to Ivy Manning on a gorgeous accomplishment!

Disclaimer:  I did receive a copy of this book for review, and another to giveaway.  My opinions of this book are my own, well deserved, and are not embellished!

On Happiness (And... The Giveaway Winner!)

Are you happy? There are so many ways one could answer that short three word sentence. Generally speaking, I am not given to fits of depression and remain fairly constant in my state of genuine contentment and happiness. I would say especially since I "work in the private sector" (a.k.a. my home), much of the working world's stresses that I used to feel have been long gone - going on almost 5 years now. That is a luxury I never take lightly.

The funny thing about a generally contented person like myself is that sometimes I get almost overwhelmed by the world. I am sad that I no longer know cursive. I get frustrated at myself for taking too much time for the virtual world and not on my own real life world. My heart breaks that it seems everyone everywhere is angry at someone in government be it left or right. And in particular this week, the natural disaster that plagued Japan - the images are devastating, and make any true happiness I feel seem dim and guilty.

I think sometimes it could be easy for me to give in to the feeling of hopelessness. Take a look at this bread, for example:

It was one of two that I made from this recipe, desperately trying to nix the bad bread juju that I've been having lately. It looks lovely on the outside, but inside it was gummy and dense, no trace of airy sourdough holes. I ate some, but dried most of the loaves to use as bread crumbs, and all the while I tried not to feel sadness over bread of all things. But those crumbs will go on to make good things, even if the bread itself was lacking.

I am assured and reassured when I start to feel this way that God is in control of every situation even when I am not. Just when I start to feel like I can't see the silver linings of life, when even the things I thought I was good at - like bread - fail, little things pop up miraculously and make my days brighter.

I won't go to pieces. I promise.

One example is this mail I got from the Outpost this week. Actual mail, my name and address hand written in black ink. Even more than the fact that I got non-junk and non-bill mail, the content was exciting: several postcards with recipes on the back promoting a new magazine my co-op is publishing. I am excited about that, but even more that someone had the brilliant idea to wrap them up in butcher paper and create a UPC label for it. Little brushes of creativity that lightened my heart immediately.

The magazine is called Graze, and as you can see above, should be available for $1.99 starting at the end of the month at all three Milwaukee area locations.

Yesterday, I started yet another sourdough. I have been feeding my starter twice a day for the past several days, trying to coax those wild yeasts into better activity. I think all along, part of my problem has been allowing too many of them into my breads. Maybe, just like humans, they do their work a little better when they have to struggle a bit, when they are allowed as much time as they need to get the job done. This bread is based on the proportions of Lahey bread, using only 50 g. (about 1/4 cup) of starter and 250 g. water to 400 g. flour. (And, 1 generous teaspoon of salt if you are keeping track...) I let the first ferment go about 24 hours, and after shaping the second ferment went about 2 1/2 hours. I think because I had a phone call from E. and we were talking about Lahey bread, I lowered my oven temperature 25 degrees from normal, and the result was the bread that I dream about. The stuff that never fails to make me happy.

In a week where I felt saddened and virtually behind, I managed to catch up on my LIFEyear photos (which were taken and not posted). The haiku for day 290 came to me - I don't even remember how it popped into my mind. But it's true. And no matter if I never write another word into the virtual landscape, I am happy with these 17 syllables.

my heart’s beloved:
wild bread, formed into all things
lives and dies for me

That loaf puffed right up, crackly crisp exterior and creamy white nourishment within. Sustaining both to my mind as much as my self, and satisfying my desperate need to just make a good bread - one that meets my bread snobbery expectations. If that didn't make any trace of sadness melt away... It's a happy start to a new week.

When the bread was in the oven, I used the Random Number Generator to determine my Chili Cookbook winner. I thought it was was curious that I only had 4 comments to choose from, and each person I have met personally or virtually in a different way. These are all people that I haven't known for very long, and people that really do enrich my life - making little bright spots in their own unique ways.

I was first introduced to Neil at an Eat Local dinner. He's a like-minded, foodie type, who has a hand in all kinds of interesting things. He is a great writer and an adventurous soul, and I love learning a little bit more about him every time I run into him.

I met E. in Maine (not to be confused with my friend E. in Boston...) on flickr through her amazing fiber arts (this is just one example). She is also interested in lacto-fermentation, knitting and bread baking, so we have little chats from time to time, which I love.

Deena is a food blogger who writes Mostly Foodstuffs, one of my favorite things to read. She also writes for other publications and does public radio spots, and has a food sensibility that I admire to no end. I feel like I really know Deena through many of her dishes that I've made... most recently this awesome pizza.

And finally, we have my winner: Katie. Katie works at Loop Yarn Shop, and also writes the Loop Blog. She is one of those people that really light up when you talk to them, she just has a genuine kindness about her, and I always look forward to seeing her on the occasions that I'm at the yarn shop. I know you'll take up cooking someday, Katie... I'm sure of it! (Just like I know someday, I will knit a pair of socks.) I know where to find you, and I'll drop off your prize sometime soon!

It's shocking how easy it is to look on the bright side of life. The days are growing longer, and I can take a picture at 6 p.m. with decent lighting. I may not agree with you politically, but if I choose to feel glad that we all have our own opinions I feel instantly better. How terribly boring would life be if we all agreed? Disasters are the hardest things to find a bright side to, but if you look carefully, you can see them: little glimpses of humanity's bright side. Even the failure of bread can be chalked up to learning, and if not that - to the fact that I have so much to be thankful for if the worst of it is ruined carbohydrates. Of course, for me, it's always an immediate boost to happiness to have a proper bread around. There is just something about that Staff of Life, it's not something that is easily defined, but it is something that is always appreciated.

Chili Contests, Community Cookbooks, and a Giveaway...

It's Rockabilly Chili Sunday. Milwaukee is fortunate to have WMSE: an independent radio station that is really unlike any other radio format broadcast (I reckon) anywhere. If the wealth of our culture can be seen through food, I'd imagine it must go hand in hand with music. Our station does an amazing job of broadcasting a huge spectrum of both, when this year, the annual Rockabilly Chili Contest brought together more than 60 area restaurants. There were far too many samples for me to taste to declare an educated favorite, so I decided to be very selective in my tasting. But first, just a little about me + WMSE...

I first started listening to WMSE devotedly because of this guy: Johnny Z.

I often think of this quote - written to me in an email from a food blogger I admire, Deena Princhep (Mostly Foodstuffs). I hope she doesn't mind me sharing, but it so aptly describes exactly how I feel about things I really, really love:
I remember reading an article in Might Magazine forever ago by Mike Doughy (whom I actually just saw a few nights ago) detailing the kinds of fans in his show audience: there's the "Dude, you rock!" guy, and the girl who slips you painfully bad poetry. Then there are the people who remind you of your friends, who clearly get your jokes and like your songs and share your sensibilities, but of course they won't come up and talk to you because they are far too shy and don't think you should bug people you admire. I often fall into that category.
I don't actually know Johnny Z., but his show is one I rarely miss. In the late '90's, I had moved to Milwaukee, and had a second shift job. After that job morphed into first shift, I accidentally discovered the Chicken Shack (Friday mornings from 9-noon), and weekly planned any breaks and/or work-related running around during the show's time frame so I could listen to it. I kept a little notebook in the console of the car to scrawl down names like Dave Dudley and Red Simpson. Those were the days before I even had email, let alone a computer in my house... and today you don't have to be in Milwaukee to get in on our well known secret: you can stream live or archived at

I would be lying if I said this event didn't totally overwhelm me. I generally don't spend a lot of time in crowds, and it was wall-to-wall. Amazingly, I overheard more manners than any time in recent memory. People bumping into you is almost a nice thing when you receive a smile and an "I'm sorry", and it didn't just happen once or twice, but many times over. We Milwaukeeans are a polite folk.

Also contributing to my overwhelming state was the number of participating restaurants, and the staggering variety of chilis. Given the sorry breadth of my late winter appetite, I only had room for exactly 5 chili samples. It is depressing, I know.

The first one I tried was from the Outpost, my food co-op. I have NEVER tried Outpost chili! Believe it or not, all of the years I've shopped there, I have rarely bought soup. It's good, a respectable and healthy chili full of beans and textured up with TVP - something I've never cooked with.

These were hearty sample sizes if you ask me. Most places filled these cups right up to the top!

I moved along to Roots. I've been to Roots only a handful of times, and have yet to order a proper dinner - instead sharing snacks and drinks with friends in the less-formal Roots Cellar. I admire their commitment to sustainable eats, and nose-to-tail dining. Trendy as it may be becoming, it's the type of trend that I like hopping on the bandwagon for.

Their chili was a "Pig Head and Sweetbread Chili with Smoked Chicarones". It was green chili, fatty with a building heat. I really liked it a lot - especially when I got to the bottom of the cup and my eyes were hot. I like the building heat or accumulated heat in food, I think it's a little harder to achieve than full out hotness. The Rockabilly Chili Contests asks tasters to vote in 4 different categories, and I gave them my vote for best in the heat category.

Roots: Best Heat.

Brewed Cafe's veggie chili did not disappoint. I love sweet potatoes in chili, and this one was pleasantly sweet, and very substantial. They also had a colorful backdrop proclaiming it Voodoo Chili.

Brewed Cafe: Best Veggie.

I gave them my vote for best veggie chili, and saved the vote for best display for these guys:

Noble Provisions Catering: Best Display.

Noble Provisions Catering. I didn't try their Old-Timey Chili - but wished I did... and these Cumin Corn Cookies looked like the perfect side accompaniment. (I'll have more pics of their old-timey nuances up on flickr after a bit...)

The final best pick that I texted in was this meat chili from The Old German Beer Hall. They caught me by surprise when I stopped in my tracks at the vibrancy of the sliced multi-colored chiles scattered across the top of their vat of triple bratwurst chili. Yes. Bratwurst Chili. We are in Milwaukee, and this was amazing. Not really too meaty, and fortified with both sauerkraut and Jack cheese. This was the sample that put me over the top. I was just plain full.

Old German Beer Hall: Best Meat

I was inspired to keep on with the family cooking struggle this past week when I read a dated Gourmet magazine editorial from Ruth Reichl. Most memorable, was this excerpt which I found myself thinking about over and over as the week wore on:
The great anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss did groundbreaking work when he observed that in turning the raw into the cooked we transform nature into culture; in other words, cooking is one of the ways in which we define ourselves as civilized creatures. Through our cooking, and our eating habits, we tell ourselves who we are.
Transforming Nature into Culture. That is powerful stuff. And, if you have a minuscule bit of curiosity, and poke through some vintage cookbooks you can see it for yourself, a transformation of our culture through the years. If you happen to have a stash of food related magazines from as recent as 5 years ago, you can see the trends and the ebb and flow of our foodstuffs - slowly changing, but quite noticeable when retrospected. World-wide food trends differ considerably from our own, and because I am first and foremost an American, I take particular delight in regional American cooking and community cookbooks.

It's not really a secret that without my (Self Decreed) amazing modicum of self-control I would be a pack-rat of epic proportions. It can be argued that I still have a fair amount of clutter, but to my credit, I don't really buy a whole lot to add to the pile. (Sure, the list of things saved to make things out of can grow from time to time: scraps of paper deemed too valuable to toss lest I need them for mailing a package or embellishing some gift tag or something.) I think some of my favorite things are paper-based, including in no small way, vintage recipe leaflets and community cookbooks. On the occasion that I find stacks of them in antique stores, I set a reasonable limit (usually 5) that I'll purchase, and I try to keep in mind at least a dual use: not only do they have to have great font and illustration, they should be somewhat appealing food-wise, contain something that I'd actually make, or be of the ilk that I'd like to gift to someone else.

The chili contest this year featured the first ever Rockabilly Chili Cookbook, compiled of WMSE staff and listener chili recipes, and befitting of all of my aforementioned criteria. Because I love WMSE and because my belly was too full to eat lots of samples to help generate funds for listener-supported radio, I bought two copies so I could give one away to a lucky reader! If you like radio the way radio is supposed to be, and like chili, please leave a comment before midnight on Saturday March 12th, and I'll send you a copy of the first ever WMSE Community Powered Rockabilly Chili Cookbook. Random Number Generator will be my guide... Good Luck to you: with both Meat and Vegetarian/Vegan options, there is something for everyone.

One thing I certainly need to remember for next year is to skip breakfast. Fortunately, I now have 91.7 brand new recipes to inspire my chili cooking between now and then. Chili is one of those things that almost everyone makes, even those who don't really cook. It is endlessly adaptable and thoroughly enjoyable. The little things you add that I do not and vice versa are what continue to shape our culture, our Wisconsin-ness (take that, Texas...). I'd say it's the perfect unifying food: something we can all agree on in these trying times of disagreement.

Additional photos of this event will soon be posted on flickr.

The Lahey Project: Irish Brown Bread (and the Giveaway Winner!)

This morning, I assigned numbers to all of the commenters who desired to win the Blazing Hot Candied Jalapenos, and according to the Random Number Generator, the lucky winner was Neil F.! I met Neil at a dinner a few weeks ago at La Merenda in support of the Eat Local Milwaukee restaurant challenge. He is also an intern at Wellspring Farms, and blogs about his experiences at stream of consciousness, so hop over and check it out!

This giveaway had 18 entrants, which is vastly more than my first giveaway, and I'm very excited to see if these peppers are hot enough for Neil! I'm going to to prematurely say: yes they are!, after sampling the first of my newly canned batch last night.

I must confess that I'm really not a party girl. I enjoy get-togethers, but not feeling awkward and stranger-in-a-strange-landish. I don't attend many parties, preferring to have just one or two people over for dinner now and then. That works pretty well for me, and for my house which is on the smallish side.

I also have never thrown myself a party, which I kind of did last night, when I invited 8 friends to my house for a "Small Ferments Get-Together". We enjoyed an evening of sampling different kitchen experiments: Mr. Mork's Toungesplitter Ale (renamed The Bernadette Peters), Kir and "fermented" chocolate covered cherries (and kombucha) from Peef and Lo at Burp!, and of course an array of lacto-fermented veg and bread. (A particular highlight is that my Husband actually tried Kombucha for the first time! I was shocked! And, he didn't even hate it!)

I used the excuse of company to knock out another of my Lahey Project breads: the Irish Brown Bread. The recipe is actually exactly the same as the Pane Integral bread, but instead of including water, the liquids are Guinness and buttermilk (in my case, homemade whole milk buttermilk). The result was a tangy bread with a tighter crumb than the other breads in his book, and a peculiar rye flavor even though there was not even a trace of rye flour in it.

I must admit, it wasn't my favorite of the Lahey breads I've tried so far, but Peef was on to something when he suggested a grilled sandwich made with some kind of ruben-ish ingredients! I have only 1 piece of that bread left, so I may need an excuse to make it again to try that. I also think it is largely a matter of personal preference, since a few of my guests really loved it.

I feel like I stand on the cusp of bread season. All summer, I make bread here and there, but seldom get hungry for it until the coolness of September and October hit. Nearly two weeks ago, I embarked on a new bread project, a sourdough grown from wild yeast as suggested by Nancy Silverton. If all goes as planned, I should be able to knock out the first of the loaves of Wisconsin Sourdough on Monday - and a more detailed post will certainly follow.

No matter what, Lahey bread is still near and dear to me - a perfectly wonderful addition to any dinner or party, and a fairly labor-free endeavor as well. My rule of thumb is to mix up the dough(s) 24 hours before I plan to bake. I haven't had any trouble with that method yet, but still feel like I have volumes to learn about fermentation as it pertains to bread.

Stay tuned, since Nancy Silverton is probably the best guide on the subject for an obsessive type such as myself!