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Friday Bread Basket 12/11/20
Before I get into this week’s Bread Basket, I wanted to mention that the oatmeal-maple porridge bread recipe I mentioned on Wednesday is now live, if you want to try your hand at it. I still need to add a photo or three to the post, but the bones of the recipe are there. Let me know if you try it, or have any questions.
Who’s The Boss
Remember Devorah, the sourdough baker from my last post, who transformed my English muffin bread into something wonderfully new by adding her own twists to it? She also turned me onto the Pit Boss Cast Iron Roaster pot, which we’ve both found makes for an excellent low-cost alternative to the Challenger Bread pan.
I’ll forever stan my Challenger Pan, for its major oven spring-inducing mass, roomy internal dimensions, and ergonomic handles, but the Pit Boss is a fine substitute if you don’t have the scratch for a Challenger. It’s a bit narrower (7.5 inches vs 9.5 inches on the inside), but wide enough to accommodate a 1 kilo bâtard just fine. And it’s 2.5 inches longer than the Challenger, which means you could use it to make longer baguettes. (It’s still a tad short for my preferred baguette length of 15 inches.)
There are several drawbacks to the Pit Boss, though, relative to the Challenger. One is that it’s probably too narrow to fit the average 1 kilo round loaf, so if you want to make boules you’ll need to have a standard Dutch oven too. It also too long to fit into the average oven the short way (with the handles facing the front and the back), should you want to bake in more than one pot at a time or use my staggered baking approach. And it lacks the Challenger’s nice handles, which make taking the lid off mid-bake slightly less, well, challenging.
I paid $42 for mine, but the price seems to have gone up to $75 since then. Still a bargain at that price.
Artsakh, The Book
The war in Artsakh is over, for the time being, but not after great loss of life, displacement, and destruction of the region’s infrastructure and resources. In order to raise funds for displaced Artsakhi and to help preserve the cultural heritage of the region, my friends Ara Zada, Kate Leahy, and John Lee, authors of Lavash, have launched a new crowdfunding campaign. They are planning to produce a new coffee-table style book entitled Artsakh, The Book, featuring John’s beautiful photographs alongside recipes from the region, including jingalovhatz and other breads. It’s a worthy cause, and I know the book is going to be wonderful.
Please consider contributing if you can!
Food and Wine’s 10 Best Bakeries
I was so happy to see two of my favorite bakeries—Elmore Mountain Bread, in Walcott, Vermont, and Night Moves Bread, in Biddeford, Maine—make this year’s Food and Wine 10 Best Bakeries list (the article isn’t online yet, but you’ll find it in the December print issue).
I’m honored to know the bakers behind these two places—Blair Marvin and Andrew Heyn of Elmore, and Kerry Hanney of Night Moves—and to call them friends. And I love the fact that Kerry made the list alongside Blair and Andrew, because she trained with them and considered their bakery an inspiration for her own. All three of them have been a huge inspiration to my own baking and recipes. (My oatmeal-maple porridge bread is an homage to one of Kerry’s breads, in fact.)
I hope you get to taste their breads someday too, once traveling becomes a thing we do again.
That’s it for this week’s Bread Basket. Have a peaceful weekend, see you all next week.