Baking, Baking Biographies, Show and Tell

Singing Bread

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​I am beyond excited that the bread that I made actually sings!  You will have to turn your volume up all the way to hear it.  Listen carefully.  Did you hear it?  Oh, how I wish you could smell it!!

Let me tell you the story… a while back, when spending time studying about baking, I came across an article recommending great bread baking books.  I read the reviews and decided that this book was for me.   Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Authentic Jewish Rye and Other Breads by George Greenstein.  Immediately, I felt as if I was sitting in his bakery watching and learning.  Oh! the aroma!

Here’s what Master Baker Greenstein wrote to open his book,

The author of this book is a master baker who has spent his life working with his hands in pursuit of the perfect loaf.  What is the perfect Bread? How does one know when it has been found?  Who is qualified to judge?

One night, working alone while the others were asleep, a baker was standing in front of a huge oven.  Behind him was an wire rack containing more than 200 loaves, hot, just removed from the oven.  All was still in the bakery that very first time when he heard the rye bread sing.  He turned, stood listening, at first without comprehension, then he smiled, recognized the sound — for him, a melody!

Occasionally when making bread everything comes together in harmony.  The dough is flawless and the surrounding conditions are ideal.  When the rye bread is removed from the oven, the crust begins to crack in the cooler air and form a finely veined alligator-like appearance.  To the baker’s ear the almost imperceptible crackling, multiplied a hundredfold, is a song of praise for the perfect loaf.

So, yesterday, I made Mr. Greenstein’s Rye Sourdough bread.  The timer rang, and I took the loaves out of the oven and set them on the cooling rack.  I’ve made bread so many times, I really can’t even count.  (27 years worth)  And as I was preparing the next batch, I heard it!  The bread was singing!!  I ran and grabbed by phone to share with you. Never before had I even noticed.  Maybe, I’m paying more attention now or maybe as Mr. Greenstein wrote about.. finally… a perfect loaf.

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Baking, Show and Tell, thrifting

Thursday Thrifting

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It’s Thrifty Nifty Thursday!  This week has been a good week in general.  For that I should call today THANKFUL Thursday.  (the kitten is just for #CUTENESSOVERLOAD) 

It’s funny how we feel the need to categorize our stuff, maybe that helps us with a sense of order in this crazy world.  Or maybe it serves as a reminder to stop and smell the roses, as it were, to admonish ourselves to remember the good things, those thing that bring a smile to our face, and just be grateful.

There is an amazing Bible verse that helps to keep our mental stuff in its proper perspective.  Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

And with that, I’ll move on to something lovely and of good report!  It was the end of May,  my husband and I were out running errands and decided to make a quick stop at a thrift shop on the way home.  It was actually a shop we had not visited before and so it was exciting .. treasure hunting, you know.

Most of the time, I have a running mental list of things I may be interested in, if the price is right and IF I have the funds.  We usually start looking at the kitchen things.  New, kitchen things are expensive and always worth the investment…but if you can find it for a fraction of the price .. SCORE!

So I’m looking at baking pans and my eye catches the outline of something that I’ve been dreaming about.  I walk quickly, but not too quickly as to draw attention to myself and the excitement whelling up in my heart. It’s a KitchenAid mixer! At the thrift shop?  Those are well sought after and hard to find second-hand.  Just the week before, while at a yard sale, I found a little KitchenAid mixer in working order and the owner wanted $300! at a yard sale?! It was the smallest one KitchenAid makes and came with a pasta maker attachment, but still .. $300? at a yard sale? I come from the era of yard sales that people still charged less than $20 for big items and nickles and dimes for the small stuff.

Anywhooo… back to my story… I look at the mixer skeptically as I search for the price.  Some thrift shops are getting mighty proud of the donations they receive…I find the tag .. I ask my husband to look at the tag to make sure I read it correctly.

32D0EA6D-8F46-4EEF-A800-2AEA05D3AEED

Yes, you read that correctly.  $34.99!  Well, did it have all the pieces? Check.  Does it work? We hefted it into the cart and went over to ask the clerk if we could plug it in and make sure it worked ok.  IT WORKS!  Calm down, Cristina, calm down...I kept telling myself as we were checking out.  By the time we reached the car, I was doing the dance of joy!!  This Kitchen Aid mixer is my preferred color of white, it has all the pieces, it is the ‘professional’ model, and it WORKS!!  AND I had the funds to purchase it!  My birthday was the week before and our sweet children (who know how much I like to treasure hunt) had given me birthday money.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning

-James 1:17

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that little scuff on the front is the only blemish .. there are no dings nor nicks.  I am beyond thankful to the LORD God who set this mixer aside for me to find.  He gave me a lovely birthday present!!

I have since used it to make my cookie dough and royal icing.  Beautiful.

What treasures have you found this summer?  Talk to the LORD, he knows what you have need of, and he loves us to walk with him and delight in his ways.  He will direct your steps if you let him.

By the way, I have my favorite tools and resources linked to Amazon.  So if you need something quickly or you haven’t found it at your local thrift shop or yard sale, you can get it on Amazon.  By purchasing your supplies via this page you are supporting my blog and little bakery .. Thank you!

 

You deserve some sweetness in your day!

~Cristina

Baking, Baking Biographies, Show and Tell, thrifting

the Adventure Begins

the adventure begins

Hello Dear Reader! and thank you for joining me on my little bakery adventure as I have officially opened my online neighborhood bakery.

This blog has a two-fold purpose: first, to share with you my adventures in baking and life and second to encourage in the daily stuff.  We all need a little joy and encouragement to help us get through the mundane, stressful, or unsure days; as well as sharing the hopeful, cheerful, and good days. I hope my little blog can help you.

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homemade pretzels! gone in a flash!

 

I think I have a plan.  They say you should have a plan.  I grew up making lists, my dad is the king of list making.  So, I suppose that my plan can be like my list for the the blog.  It should keep me on track, right?

MONDAYS:  I’ll share a preview of the week .. upcoming bakes .. maybe a vlog .. something to get the week started right.

TUESDAYS:  Show and Tell! I love show and tell! PHOTOS! recipes .. links .. and some DIY

WEDNESDAYS:  The WORD on Bread :  seeking for and finding the substance and nourishment of God’s written Word.

THURSDAYS:  Thrify Nifty Reviews :  treasure finds, bakery tools, cookbook reviews, and dressing your mealtime table.

FRIDAYS:  Baker’s Biographies : I love to hear about and read stories of those who have paved the way for the next generation.  We’ll discover together the history of baked goods, stories from Grandmothers and Grandfathers, and even meet some of today’s sweetest bakers.

Along the way, you may have to humor me as I share bits about quilting or knitting, or posts about how much I love our children,  our grandchildren, and sheep.  There might even be a mention or two of my moto-adventures with my best friend, my handsome husband. 🙂

There will be affiliate links to Amazon in order for you to have easy access to some of the treasures we share here.

Baking, Show and Tell

Beautiful Weddings

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Our family has celebrated another wedding and that is the reason for my lack of posting lately… ya know .. wedding stuff ..

Our youngest daughter got to have her outside wedding.. she did a beautiful job in planning and execution of her vision.  A small wedding in our oldest son’s backyard was the perfect setting for the celebration.

You know how the day before the ceremony, everyone is bustling and decorating and there’s commotion at every turn .. now .. add to that a very unusual snow in the morning followed by sunshine and then a dose of hail in the afternoon for good measure … it was a day full of weather surprises, for sure! Despite all that ‘raining down’ on an otherwise beautiful outdoor wedding, everything went off without a hitch… well, except for the ‘hitch’ at the I Do’s — hahaha!  (sorry, I had to say it)

I was honored to make the wedding cake.  It was so much fun to learn how to make fondant (or sugar paste as is known outside the USA) flowers.  My husband’s niece helped me to bake all the cake layer and was such a blessing!!  We made 4 -14″ squares and 4-14″ rounds to create one giant heart!

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Our second son’s girlfriend was my assistant decorator — another blessing!! Thanks, Noelle!  I definitely learned so much during that whole process!!  I suppose that’s a good thing.. to always be willing to learn and grow and improve..right?  We still have an abundance of Strawberry Cream cheese Filling!  In my endeavor to have enough, I made a gallon too much!  Into the freezer that went, I’ll let you know of future baking that may or may not have some extra Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling in it.

Our daughter and son-in-law loved the cake and that is what’s most important!
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Here is the inspiration for the cake .

Would you like the recipes?  First let me explain .. no let me sum-up .. After several practice cakes, I discovered that our daughter is Goldie Locks .. and not just for her blonde hair .. but that she wanted her cake to be just right.  She wanted a lemon cake. Simple. or so I thought.  The first cake was a lemon pound cake made with cream cheese in the batter .. that was too dense.  For the second cake, I used a different recipe that omitted the cream cheese and used sour cream instead.  Beautiful.  Perfect sponge, perfect fresh lemon flavor.. but no .. not quiet right, said she.  I was resolved to make everything from scratch.  Our daughter’s wedding is a big deal and I wanted the cake to be superb.  In desperation for the perfect wedding lemon cake, I asked my niece for suggestions.  She had a recipe that used as it’s base boxed white cake.  She explained that the science of the boxed cake helped in the overall sponge of the cake.  OK.. At this point, okay, it just needed to be more light in texture.

We used her ‘doctored’ box cake recipe with lemon emulsion and Voila! Success!!

stay tuned for the recipe … I have to go find it …

 

you deserve some sweetness today,

~Cristina