Monday Mix 1/30/23
Happy Mondays, all. I hope your weekend was a pizzaful one (mine definitely was). There are only a couple of days left in Pie January, which means we are saying goodbye to wall-to-wall pizza coverage for 2023 soon. But we do have one straggler recipe to come on Wednesday, a sneak preview of which can be seen above, and one that has been in the works for a long time.
In preparation for our return to mostly-bread content, I have a few items to share. First, you should definitely read this interview with Kitchen Project’s Nicola Lamb about how she found her audience here on Substack, a trajectory that is not unlike my own:
There were no great breakthrough moments. No secret sauce or nifty hack of how she built an audience—just hard work, consistent recipe testing, and lots of conversations with an audience who, it turned out, cared deeply about the hydration levels of pastry.
Eighteen months later, Nicola is tending to that dream, one that is in full swing. That is to say, she now makes her main income from Kitchen Projects. She has tens of thousands of free subscribers, as well as thousands who pay for her recipes, chats, and community get-togethers. She hosts days out with her subscribers, many of whom travel from every corner of the country to meet her, as well as trade tales with one another about failed baked Alaskas and the perfect jam.
She has also just signed on the dotted line for her first book deal, which she was inspired to write after Substack helped her build a community of loyal readers—including an eagle-eyed commissioning editor who was among her subscribers and who approached her to write the book.
Nicola is a major inspiration to me here at Wordloaf, and the interview is a must-read for anyone interested in baking and/or considering starting a Substack newsletter focused on their passions:
Also, here’s a passage from ‘Bees Bees Bees,’ from Joanna Scott’s collection of stories Various Antidotes, a tale about François Huber, the 18th-Century Swiss entomologist who first revealed the secret life of bees, despite having lost his eyesight at the age of 15. Here’s how Scott introduces the woman who would eventually become Huber’s wife:
She was ordinary—neither uncommonly witty nor stupid, neither plump nor thin. Like the other girls, she pinned up her braids, persistently slapped her cheeks to make them pink, longed to be noticed. But because she was the daughter of the local baker, the bread she sold was apt to take priority, even to influence perception of her, so in the eyes of her father’s customers she’d been compared to a soft, round white loaf when she was just a tot and later to a firm rye, always with a streak of flour in her red hair and dried dough under her fingernails. And just as the various breads had their place on the bakery shelf, she had her place in the village. Someone would want her. One day, someone would single her out, marry her, sire her children, beat her when the supper wasn’t to his liking, use her and then neglect her until there was another but a stale crust, food for the geese.
From that, it should come as no surprise that Huber had more affection for his bees than the humans in his life.
See you all in a few days.
So last night, in honor of the end of pizza month, I made King Arthur's cheese cast iron pan pizza (a HUGE family favorite!). The final recipe was a bit of a mash-up, as I used a few bits from the cooking method from CI’s pan pizza (mont. jack cheese pressed up the edge of the pan for crispiness, after top of pizza was browned the bottom was browned and crisped on the stovetop to finish).
The resulting pizza has such an amazingly light and airy crust, thick but with a crispy bottom, not really like any commercial product that I’ve ever had. Is there something like this in New England? I’ve never had Slab from Portland but the crust description sounds somewhat similar.