It feels good to be back in action and in the kitchen after some time off. After some failed experiments over the past couple weeks (trying really hard to remember that part of being a lab is you have to fail some times), I’m back to making some classics and trying out some new things. The summer is coming to an end - Magnus is headed back to school and I’m also starting a new job - and I’m actually excited for it to be a little less hot in the kitchen. Look out for some heartier bread as the season changes. We’re hoping everyone has an awesome weekend!
This Week’s Loaf: Øland Levain (and Mini Miche)
A couple of weeks ago I got to attend the awesome Kneading Conference in Maine. Not only did I make a ton of new baker and farmer friends, I also walked away with a couple bags of flour and grain. One of those, Øland wheat, from Maine Grains - I immediately fell in love with. It has an amazing flavor that reminds me of creamy breakfast cereal or bread pudding. The grain is originally from Southern Sweden/Denmark and is now being cultivated in Maine. I’m hoping to get my hands on a bigger shipment in the not so distant future, but for now, this will probably be it for a while (as I had a pretty limited supply).
I’m also baking a number of extra loaves (with hopes of filling out my supply for Sunday’s sale) including what I’m calling a Mini Miche. Miche is the traditional whole wheat country bread of France, that’s defined by its natural leaven, a large quantity of whole grain and its typically large round and flat shape. I’ve heard of 5lb Miche’s that could feed a village. This bread is inspired by that ideal, with a large proportion of NY grown and milled whole wheat but in a much more manageable size.
Recipe: Sourdough French Toast
It probably shouldn’t be too surprising, but good sourdough bread makes amazing french toast. Day old and a little sturdier, possibly even better. This recipe has been a frequent use of less fresh bread in our house since I started baking constantly (there's only so much bread we can eat fresh). This can easily be scaled up or down. The ratio is basically 1 slice of bread to 1 egg.
- 6 Thick slices of Kingston Bread
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional, definitely makes it richer)
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- Grated Zest of an Orange
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Lots of butter
- Copious Maple syrup
In a large bowl, crack the eggs and combine with the rest of the ingredients (minus the bread). Whip with a fork until combined and uniform.
Dump the egg mixture into a casserole dish or something that the bread can soak in. The trick is to soak the bread for as long as possible before cooking it. I like to stack the pieces in a dish and make sure the next two slices to be cooked are soaking the whole time the previous are cooking.
Heat a 10–12" cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt 2 tbsp of butter. Place 2 soaked pieces of bread at a time in the skillet and cook for about 2–4 minutes per side, turning twice so that the pieces are well browned. Repeat with the remaining slices.
Serve with hot coffee and the most expensive maple syrup you can find (you’re worth it).
Now Playing: 75 Dollar Bill - Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock Spotify
I’ve been obsessed with this album since last year, but it's come up again in my rotation as for some reason it sounds like the end of summer to me. It's long and droney, evoking west African guitar melodies as much as Celtic and folk rhythms. Put it on when you’re working, you won't regret it.