Category

Inspiration

Favorite Bakeries, Featured, Food, Inspiration

The List – Southern Bakery Tour 2024

In the spirit of resolutions in the new year, I have set my sights on a list of bakeries that I wish to visit in 2024. Think of it as a reverse resolution to…eat more? This past year has been one of research and full immersion in all things baking-related, for me. I am coming up on one year since reestablishing this website, and throughout 2023, I poured myself in to learning and cultivating skills related to the art of baking at a very steady pace. My appetite has been voracious, and can only be attributed to pure passion.

I am what you might refer to as a “Bake-a-Saurus Rex.” Ok, maybe that is only how I refer to myself. My fella will enter the kitchen in the morning to find every inch of the countertops covered in baking ingredients and parchment lined baking pans as far as the eye can see. I am somewhere lurching in the distance in my apron, dusted in flour and furiously thumbing through the pages of one cookbook or another. He will pause and cautiously say…”Hmmm. What are we making today?!” God love him and his patience for my predilection towards all things baking.

I can’t tell you what has driven it, but I have grown to simply LOVE the act of baking. I wake up thinking about what I want to make each day, and I fall asleep scanning recipes online. I read cookbooks, I scour Instagram, I watch tutorial videos galore, and I have been experimenting in the kitchen more than ever. I am a woman possessed. And with all of the inevitable trials and errors that come from learning to bake (believe me there is a LOT to learn) I find myself having an incredibly healthy appreciation for the pros that do this day in and day out, churning out ungodly amounts of pastries for the masses.

Read more
Leave a comment
Favorite Bakeries, Food, Inspiration

Kouign Amann – The Queen of Pastries

I have been taking a deep dive into baking and pastry making lately. As I have mentioned before, I consider myself to be somewhat of a novice when it comes to baking, thought I am slowly getting more skilled with lots of practice.

I grew up in a very accomplished baking family, but shockingly, I never took an interest or considered myself to have any talent in this department. I wasn’t super into sweets growing up, and all of my attempts to bake were half-hearted and lackluster, particularly in comparison to that of my more talented family members.

Skip to the current moment. I couldn’t tell you what changed, but I have what could be described as an insatiable appetite for all things baking. As soon as I begin to research one recipe, I fall into a rabbit hole of 10 more, along with the techniques that accompany them, and before you know it hours have passed. I find this whole new world of baking to be so incredibly interesting and it satisfies my thirst for continual growth and knowledge. I am teaching myself the ropes, one recipe and technique at a time.

I think we all have the ability to psych ourselves out and let fear get the best of us, particularly as we get older. We may convince ourselves that once we have defined ourselves as unskilled at something, we can never change it, particularly as we grow in age. I say bullocks to that. If there is something that you want to do, move past the fears and try it.

This has been my goal with baking. To stop telling myself I can’t, because I am finding as I go and have the courage to try, that I really CAN bake, and bake pretty darned well! It also brings me immense joy, so here I am doing the work and sharing in the hopes of inspiring others to reach their goals of baking too.

Read more
Leave a comment
Food, Inspiration, Recipes

Demystifying Sourdough Starter

Due to the Covid years, I think by now we have all tried our hand at making a loaf of sourdough bread, whether it was a successful attempt or not. I was a little later to the game. My Mom was the first to join this worldwide elite club of bread artisans, and I was dually impressed that she had ventured to make her own starter as well.

I remember speaking to my Mom in one of our long-winded phone conversations where she regaled me with details on her latest loaf of this crunchy, pillowy variety of bread.

She informed me of the nuances of working the dough, allowing it to rise, kneading it with proper form, baking techniques and the tools needed to properly form a loaf worthy of a boulangerie window or San Francisco soup shop.

I like to think that perhaps it is in our DNA somehow to craft bread. Poilâne Bakery in Paris, France is a third generation boulangerie renowned for creating the best sourdough in the world by hand, since 1932.

Aside from being at the top of my destination wish list, the foodie nerd in me likes to dream and wish that our strikingly similar last names means that the owner, Apollonia, and I are somehow cousins removed somewhere back in the recesses of our lineage. I have no proof or facts to justify any connection whatsoever, but hey…a girl is allowed to dream, right?

But, I digress. Back to the breadmaking process. The one factor that I couldn’t wrap my head around that my Mom kept referencing when we spoke was “feeding the starter” every couple of weeks to “keep it strong.”

What did this mean?! Was this a living entity that resided in her refrigerator, and why was it so hungry?! I was intrigued, to say the least. I kept picturing that plant from Little Shop of Horrors and wondering if her starter would shout “feed me” in Steve Martin’s voice from the back of the refrigerator every time she opened it to grab the butter or pour a glass of iced tea. While that sounds pretty cool, it is not that dramatic. So, let me explain the science behind it.

Read more
Leave a comment