The best way to learn how to bake is to do it. And as odd as it may sound, sometimes I enjoy my failures. When I have bread that doesn’t come out the way I want it to it frees me up to look at it outside of the box.
Today’s heat in the oven was low when I arrived, but I decided to throw some loaves in anyhow to see what happens. The bread baked, but got almost no oven spring resulting in a comically low profile. Still, the interior was glossy and the crust was crisp.
When I get loaves with this kind of volume (Or rather, lack of ) I slice them along the axis of the bread, lengthwise down the middle, rather than a traditional slice cut. Then I’m left with a top and bottom, which I cut again into 4 chunks. I jokingly refer to these a “bread steaks,” giant hunks of carb bliss ready to be the gluten boat of your dreams.
Grease a skillet generously with bacon fat or butter, heat to a searing temperature. Throw the bread in the pan, crumb side down. Allow it to fry for a few minutes. You’re looking for a deep golden color and some crunchy dark spots. Remove from the skillet, top with a tick coat of jam* and sprinkle with course ground sea salt.
* You can really top this whatever you like! Yogurt / Maple Syrup/ Fruit/ Melted Chocolate/ Bacon & Eggs/ Lemon Curd / Powdered Sugar
The birds are singing too loudly to sleep in late anymore. These extra minutes add up. This morning there was time for pancakes. Blueberry pancakes.
I’ve been chasing the perfect pancake for about four years now. It started when I met my boyfriend. He was interning on a farm at the time and we’d play house in my downtown apartment early in the morning before he had to drive back to the country. We’d get up in the dark and pretend we were an old couple: radio, newspapers, lots of coffee, holding hands and, of course: pancakes. The stillness of 5 A.M. is a beautiful thing to share.
Now that we actually farm and bake for our own livelihood these kind of intimate and sacred moments are few and far in between. But we steal them when we can. And this morning, we took them all.
Fluffy Stack Pancakes
2 Cups Pastry flour
1 2/2 Cups Milk, with more on hand if needed
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of salt
Combine pastry flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and melted butter. Fold in the wet mixture into the dry. Careful not to over mix.
Warm your skillet, grease with butter. I like to use my 1/4 cup as a pancake batter scoop. Pour batter on the skillet. You will see bubbles form, flip the pancake once the bubbles start to pop. Remember, the first pancake is a sacrifice to the Gods. It always helps me to see how I need to adjust my heat.
I’m a firm believer that pancakes need to be eaten hot off the griddle. It’s a nice thought that everyone eat together, but nobody likes a cold cake. Let’s not be nice just for the sake of it.