Sarabeth Levine - Goddess of Bakedom
 
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CATEGORY: Breads

 

GRISSINI-ITALIAN BREADSTICKS

 

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Breadsticks can be found in most supermarkets and specialty food stores. Most are very dry and have little or no taste— none can compare to the flavor and texture of hand-made grissini. When I discovered how easy they were to make, these "beauties" became the sought after treasure in the dinner bread basket at Sarabeth's. Unfortunately, keeping up with production became impossible and sadly, I had to say goodbye. I still make them at the bakery when the mood strikes—and I guess that moment is right now. 


The narrow section of these grissini are crispy-crunchy and the ends are slightly chewy—you can actually break the slightly soft ends off and dip them in a little olive oil, or poke the crispy part into a sun-dried tomato pesto. Impressive with their rosemary and sea salt flavor, these grissini will spark praises at your dinner table and I guarantee there won't be any leftovers. I have to confess that three of them made their way into my mouth before they had cooled— via a quick dip in our softened butter pan in the bakery. 


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WATER MILL BISCUITS

 

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Having returned from Cancun with a wet, ruined camera, a lost cell phone, a busy week of work, and another snowfall, Bill suggested we go out to the cottage and chill out for the weekend. I didn't need much convincing and off we went the next morning. It was a beautiful day, and as we were driving, I began thinking about dinner. Roast beef seemed like a great idea. Yes, a nice boneless rib eye would be perfect, and with that settled, we went straight to the market right after we arrived. Buttermilk biscuits and a toasty fire, that would to be the extra treat. I added buttermilk and firewood to my list, and as my luck would have it, the market was out of buttermilk. I was not going to be railroaded. I could still make the biscuits by using a simple substitution, a legal one. What you do is simply, place a small amount of lemon juice in whole milk and let it stand for about 20 minutes. It will sour and is a good alternative for buttermilk. Buttermilk is nothing more than milk that has been soured by adding a culture (lactic acid bacteria). Sour cream and yogurt fall into this same category. 


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CHRISTMAS IS COMING...

 

 Stollen IMG_2514.jpgand what better time than now, to enjoy Stollen. If you asked most people about Stollen, they would say " Oh no, I don't  like fruit cake, not for me". That is because they have never tasted a good one or should I say an authentic one. You see, it is really a holiday German bread with a cake-like texture, which is due to the prodigious amount of butter in the dough. I vividly remember the first time I ate a real stollen; the dried fruits had been perfectly plumped before incorporating them into the yeasted dough, and the nuts had been lightly toasted to bring out their true flavor. My friend and fellow baker Michael London carefully taught me how to form the traditional shape. As you can see in Quentin Bacon's photo, the folded edge is prominent on the top of the stollen. That is the classic look which you rarely see anymore; anyone who really knows stollen will agree. You will see the photo I took of myself making this fold in the recipe below.


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