January 9, 2013


After my sourdough starter failed to "start" this attempt at a sourdough rye boule, I yearn to return to the assuredness of packaged yeast for my bread making. The little rye that couldn't was such a disappointment. It smelled (rye, wheat, and all-purpose flours with a touch of blackstrap molasses) and handled wonderfully, but just wouldn't proof. It could be that I didn't refresh my neglected starter sufficiently. It could be that my slapdash combination of half a dozen recipes from my cookbook collection and online just wasn't good enough. Could it be changes in temperature killed the yeast? I have all sorts of warming tricks to proof yeast in my slightly chilly winter house, but maybe this batch of dough caught a cold?

This failed experiment at cobbling together a reasonable seeming recipe from a handful of dissatisfactory recipes led me to consider my sources for baking recipes. With the exception of a few tried and true recipes in my handful of baking books, I inevitably scour the internet any time I need a recipe for a particular baked good. Nine times out of ten this results in a handful of disparate recipes that leave me more confused than before I turned to the interwebs. Ugh!

And then it was like the clouds parted and the sun dazzled my eyes. I stumbled across a $1.00 cook book at Goodwill. Farm Journal's Complete Home Baking Book, published in 1979. Despite the sexist overtones of the introduction and the occasional horrifying ingredient, these recipes are just what I was searching for without even knowing it. Simple. Essential. Short ingredient lists. Quick and easy to prepare. (True test: every one of these recipes would easily fit on a 5x7 or 4x6 recipe card.) Because, gosh darnit, if you're running a farm you don't have a spare 8 hours to dedicate to a fussy bread recipe that is doomed to fail.

I am super excited to try at least a dozen recipes in here already. Swiss Cheese Mustard Bread, anyone? How about Pumpkin Oat Muffins, Bohemian Kolaches, Sweet Squash Buns, Spicy Applesauce Bread, Sour Cream Pear Coffee Cake, Swedish Tea Ring, Danish Kringle, Golden Parmesan Rolls, Christmas Morning Brioche, Maple Butter Twist, Rye Sandwich Bread? And that doesn't even get to the cakes, cookies, or pies!

Declutterfication Update:
The reason for being at Goodwill was to donate the bulky television the Hubbers recently replaced with a flat screen. I also had a pile of non-working electronics to take to the e-recycling location a few miles away. But the man taking the television inside told me that Goodwill recycles broken electronics. One stop drop-off left me time to do a little browsing which led to the discovery of the Home Baking Book

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