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The Dishes Will Get Cleaned Up Eventually: Cottage Baking Beyond the Instagram Grid
A guest post (and two recipes!) by Annie Clapper, of The Family Crumb
Today we have a guest post from my (bread) friend Annie Clapper, who runs the cottage bakery The Family Crumb in Bentonville, Arkansas. In it, she muses on the challenges of running a bakery and a family at the same time, and in the same space, which requires a special form of letting go without letting chaos get the better of her.
She’s also shared two recipes from her upcoming book, Vegan Whole Grain Baking, due out any day now. Here’s her description of the book:
Baking and milling whole grains has become increasingly prevalent in the baking community and for good reason. Freshly milled grains are not only nutritious but really delicious. While there are a vast amount of resources for baking with whole grains now, there are very few that are vegan. For those of us who have food allergies or just simply prefer to eat a plant based diet, it can be difficult to try to substitute ingredients in these recipes, and the results can vary significantly. This book aims to walk you through a handful of delicious recipes that will give you adaptable skills for both whole grain and vegan baking.
Keep an eye out for it on her website, or follow her on Instagram for announcements.
Thank you, Annie, so glad to have you here on Wordloaf.
There’s an image I have of what other cottage bakers do. They come to the kitchen with organized lists of ingredients and plans for the day. Whittling their tasks down one by one and deliberately moving through each recipe with patience and ease. A sea of beautiful food and checklists with excellent penmanship. One can dream, right?
I’m about 99% positive that literally no one is as organized as I think I should be. But if you add children, partners, pets, or humanity in general into the mix of anyone’s life, trying to stay organized can feel like vacuuming a beach.
The real lesson I’m learning is that in the midst of imperfection (and sometimes, chaos) I can still create something delicious. And while I would love to serve my children cookies on a beautiful platter in a spotless kitchen, the cost of that would too often be a stressed out parent who is not really present.
The bane of my existence as a baker, and likely as a parent, is that I need to be constantly letting go of the false aspiration of perfection and I need to be digging joyfully into the messy delicious things in life.
These two recipes are family staples at this point. I’ve baked some variation of these chocolate chip cookies hundreds of times, having sold them in my bakery for years. I added the kamut to the dough shortly after getting my hands on a stone mill and some kamut, eventually loving the velvety, luscious texture that scalding the kamut provided.
The spelt banana muffins are a weekly bake for our family breakfast, and I often bake big batches and freeze them so that we can have them on hand. These muffins are forgiving and fit my ongoing resolution to be less of a perfectionist. I can easily sub in a different sugar if I’m out of maple syrup, and I’ve made them with many variations of whole grains depending on what I have on hand.
While my husband will find something kind to say about any and all things I create, I find my children to be the most candid in their feedback of my baking. My son will not go near a muffin that has walnuts in it, but the chocolate chips are mandatory. My daughter enjoys the chocolate chips, but she loves the walnuts enough to sneak a few that I’ve roasted before I can even chop them and put them in the muffins.
My goal in baking for my family is to stay present while I make them, and not to worry too much about the mess in the kitchen. The dishes will get cleaned up eventually. And then they’ll pile up again. And so on.
Spelt Banana Walnut Muffins
Muffins are the ultimate quick breakfast–even better when they’re whole grain and stick with you through the morning. These are quick and easy to put together and are a family favorite. The high protein content in spelt works beautifully with the moisture from the bananas, and the earthy, nutty flavor complements the walnuts and bananas perfectly.
Makes 12 standard muffins
Active Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Tools Needed: Digital scale, blender or food processor, small mixing bowl, large mixing bowls, scale, whisk, silicone spatula, quarter or half sheet pan for toasting walnuts, knife and cutting board.
280g spelt flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
½ teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
3 medium ripe bananas (should be about 300g unpeeled)
160g maple syrup
90g plain vegan yogurt (my favorite is Silk Almond Milk Plain)
80g vegetable oil
12g apple cider vinegar
10g vanilla extract
50g walnuts, toasted and chopped
170g vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Set an oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Place muffin liners in a standard-sized muffin tin and spray each liner with nonstick spray. (This is crucial so that the muffins don’t stick to the liners.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a blender or food processor, process the bananas, maple syrup, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla until smooth, about 15 seconds.
Add the wet ingredients from the blender/processor into the dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated. Gently fold the walnuts (and chocolate chips, if using) into the batter.
Fill the muffin liners evenly (the batter should fill each liner about ⅔ of the way full.)
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 mins, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes.
Let cool for at least 30 mins before digging in.
Scalded Kamut Choc Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are my very favorite dessert and this is my current favorite iteration. I love the flavor of kamut flour in chocolate chip cookies–slightly nutty and sweet–but it can leave the texture a little gritty for my liking. After reading the Tartine Bread Book, I began playing with scalded grains in sourdough loaves. I loved how the kamut flavor was present without the gritty texture, and I decided to apply that to these cookies. I adore the texture of these cookies. They’re crispy on the outside and velvety on the inside, and very rich in flavor.
This recipe makes a lot of cookies, but part of the recipe is freezing the dough. So if you don’t need this many cookies right away, don’t bake them all right away. You can save the dough in tupperware, or in plastic bags, and bake as needed. This is super handy when you’re heading to a party where you know there won’t be a vegan dessert option.
Active Time: 40 mins
Total Time Needed: 2 ½ hrs
Makes: 42 cookies
Tools needed: Digital scale, tea kettle or pot, medium mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, whisk, spatula, parchment paper, two half sheet pans, freezer space
450g all-purpose flour
4g (¾ teaspoon) baking soda
12g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
10g (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
200g boiling water
50g kamut flour
200g coconut oil (solid or liquid)
500g brown sugar
180g Wow Butter (soy nut butter) or nut butter of your choosing
15g vanilla extract
400g vegan chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.
Boil more water than is needed for this recipe (at least 300g). Set a large heatproof bowl on your scale and very carefully weigh out 200g boiling water into the bowl. Take the bowl off of the scale, set it on a steady surface, and grab a whisk. Add a small amount of the kamut flour and whisk vigorously. Add a little more kamut flour and whisk. Continue this process until all the kamut is mixed in and no lumps remain. Adding a little at a time ensures no large lumps of unmixed flour remain.
Add the coconut oil to the kamut porridge and whisk until combined and (if it was solid) no solid coconut oil remains. Add the brown sugar, WowButter or nut butter, and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined. At this point, the mixture should look a bit like caramel. If it is still hot, let it cool until it has reached room temperature, whisking every few minutes to ensure even cooling.
Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
Add the chocolate chips and gently fold them into the dough. Cover and let rest for at least one hour.
Line sheet pan with parchment, and begin shaping the cookies into approximately 2 tablespoon balls–you can use a 1 ounce cookie scoop or eyeball it using a large spoon. Place the dough balls on the pan, close together but not touching. Once finished, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for at least an hour or overnight.
When you are ready to bake, set oven racks to central two positions and heat the oven to 375˚F. Line a second baking sheet with parchment, divide the dough balls between the two baking sheets, and transfer the extra cookie dough to a plastic bag or container to save for later.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and turning 180 degrees halfway through.
Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, sprinkle the tops with flaked salt. Let the cookies cool for at least ten minutes on the baking sheets. Then enjoy!
Annie Clapper has been the owner and operator of the Family Crumb for the last five years. The bakery has taken many different shapes and forms over the years, and is currently cranking out between 20-40 loaves a week. Most days, Annie vacillates between spending time with her family, making and eating bread, working her corporate day job at a B corp, and reading piles of books of varying degrees of seriousness (but a high percentage of rom coms).