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Friday Bread Basket 2/18/22
Charred not burned edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain.
The pleasure of a well-made kouign-amann — a French pastry from the town of Douarnenez, perfected in bakeries across Brittany — is in that tickle of salty butter layered throughout the laminated roll, set against the sweetness of the yeasted dough and the dark caramel that covers it.
At Gusto Bread, in Long Beach, the savoriness is intensified by sourdough and a dose of nixtamalized corn. The combination is enough to completely recalibrate the flavor and texture, to shift the pastry’s fealty away from France and to reposition it as a Mexican sweet bread, a pan dulce. This calls for a new name, no?
The Nixtamal Queen is delicious, both as a pastry that leaves you satisfied and sticky-fingered, and as a challenge to the idea of Eurocentric authority in the bread and pastry world.
Not only do all of the breads they make sound amazing, they also have one of the greatest illustrations ever gracing their menu (one that I desperately want on a t-shirt):
Apparently an image included on a blog post that I wrote for King Arthur last year about how to turn your oven into a pizza oven—a photo I neither took nor chose for the story—started something of a conflagration over on Facebook:
You may have caught a recent Facebook post of ours that featured an article by Andrew Janjigian on how to turn any home oven into a pizza oven. While the article itself was praised by many as helpful (thanks, Andrew!), the image we used roused some rather — how can we put this lightly? — passionate responses.
Our comments section rang out with critical declarations of “That's burnt!” and “I’d send it back!” as well as supportive retorts like “That's how it should look!”
The charred vs. burned dust-up also inspired another blog post, all about the wonders of the Maillard reaction and why it is essential to the flavor and appearance of most of our favorite baked goods.
Dennis Lee, pizza-slinger and professional food-ruiner, is back at it again, this time making mischief with our favorite fermented food for a Superb Owl party last weekend:
Now, on the internet, telling everyone you know how to bake bread is a sort of social currency. If you would like to feel good about yourself, all you have to do is bake a loaf of bread and show pictures of it on social media. Make sure you show everyone its interior as well, so they can say things to you like, “Nice crumb!” Then you can open your own bakery and watch it immediately fail in front of your very eyes.
For this week’s newsletter, I decided to make my own version of no-knead bread by replacing a key ingredient, water, with a classic electrolyte-replenishing, thirst-quenching beverage: Gatorade.
The results are both surprising and exactly what you might expect…
A good bread quote
I like the heat the tenderness the edible the lusciousness the song of a single person the bathtub full of water to bathe myself beneath the water...I like the wheatfields the plough the apricots those flirts of the sun. But bread above all.
- Arshile Gorky
(h/t Night Moves Bread)
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. I wish you all a peaceful weekend, and will see you next week!