Pan Dulce

I was just thinking that this morning was one of those mornings where I feel like I’ve been struck by a train for no reason at all.

I was just thinking that this morning was one of those mornings that can only be healed with two things, sweet bread and milky, sugared coffee.

I seem to have a vague memory of a bottle of champagne last night. Although I certainly didn’t drink the whole bottle (I checked, it’s in the fridge), champagne is one of those buggers that sneaks up on you in the middle of the night, scrambles your brain around and then makes you demand sweets and coffee just a little harder than usual the next morning.

Today I have a funeral to go to and then a birthday party. Very funny God. Veeeery funny. These are the kinds of days where I have to throw up my hands and say ‘Ok! You got me!’. These are the kinds of days when I mentally search my closet trying to find a dress that goes from somber to celebratory. These are the kinds of days that demand a touch of sweetness first thing in the morning. Thank goodness for Pan Dulce.

By the way, have you entered the Martha Stewart Blog Contest!?  Thanks for the heads up Ev!

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Sourdough Pancakes

Praise the heavens! These pancakes were two weeks in the making. And it all started with.. well.. forgive me.. a starter.

It turns out that a sourdough starter, a mixture of flour, water, bacteria and yeast, makes some pretty stellar pancakes. The cakes came out slightly thin, nicely browned and light as air. The starter and baking soda combination created insanely porous and light pancakes. The flavor? Combine sourdough bread and pancakes. Delicious. Super delicious. The slightly sour pancakes are perfectly complimented with maple syrup and sweet strawberries.

If you’ve followed along with me on my starter adventure, I hope you’ll try these pancakes. Jump on over. There are a few things you should know about this wacky pancake mix.

If you have no idea what’s going on, here’s a link to a link to all the sourdough starter madness.

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Sourdough Pancakes Part One

This Sourdough Starter project is turning out to be an ordeal.  I don’t think it’s the starters fault.  It’s only a simple mixture of flour and water.  I think the ordeal came in when I became mostly obsessed with my starter.  See,  I took my starter out of the fridge yesterday to feed it, and hopefully make delicious sourdough pancakes in spite of my ridiculously busy schedule.

The starter sat on my counter untouched, and just as it came out of the fridge, the hooch had separated from the rest of the starter.  No big deal, right?  Well, it was no big deal until, at room temperature, my starter started to bubble!

AAAHHHHH!  Seriously!  I was totally not prepared for this!  I was not expecting little bubbles to come up from the bottom of my starter, reach the top and burst.  I am simultaneously horrified and fascinated.  I couldn’t tear myself away from my starter all night.  It was so creepy.  I think I would scream in excitement and disgust every time I took another peek.

Granted, I don’t have photo documentation of this.  You just have to be there to be totally freaked out by it.

Now, I have no idea if this is normal.  My starter smells sour but not totally icky and well…. I think it’s alive.

Are your starters marinating in the fridge?

Here is a sneak peak of the sourdough pancake recipe I’m using.  It’s another overnight deal.  I suppose that this whole process isn’t for the faint of heart.  It requires a serious love for pancakes.  And after all this, would you believe that I’m too lazy to make cinnamon rolls!?  That just doesn’t make any sense at all.

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Joy the Baker Classic

Let’s turn the clocks back to the beginning of Joy the Baker. This extra dreamy lemon pound cake was one of my very first Joy the Baker posts. I nabbed a friend’s fancy camera and after a 15 minute crash course, started baking and shooting my favorite pound cake recipe. Those were the humble beginnings of Joy the Baker. Let’s face it, this is still a humble sight, but I’m dreaming big. Hopefully some of those dreams will bring some fun changes to this sight in the coming months.

I’m bringing you a repeat today because I’m still in the weeds with Joy the Baker life. Want to know what’s going on? Let’s just say it involves learning (and tasting) about 90 international cheeses and memorizing their flavor profiles. Don’t even get me started on the insane wine… that’s a whole other beast.

Sourdough starters? Have I let you down on the starters?

Here’s what I did with my starter- After 7 days of dumping and feeding at room temperature, I fed my starter one last time and put it in the fridge. I plan on using my starter for pancakes on Sunday morning, so I’m going to take my starter out of the fridge Saturday morning, feed it and leave it ajar at room temperature until Sunday morning when I’m ready for my pancakes. I sure hope you’re still playing along!

Want to know more about this incredible pound cake!? Lemon Pound Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce.

Joy the Baker is Digging Deep

Joy the Baker has gone off the deep end a bit.  My schedule for the next week is simply beyond what I can even comprehend.  I need a body/baking double.

Right now I’m dealing with the stress by madly pacing my house and shoving handfuls of Reese’s Pieces into my face.  I wish one of you were here to stop me.

I know we’re in the middle of our sourdough starter madness.  Tomorrow is the seventh day of my starter.  It’s bubbly and smelly (in a good way), so I’m going to feed it, cover it and toss it in the fridge until I have a moment to bake up some bread and pancakes.  How are your starters going?  Have any questions?

While I’m away, take a moment to revisit this Joy the Baker Classic-  Blackberry Jam Cake.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Just the thought of cinnamon rolls-  warm, gooey, soft, sweet- makes me literally swoon.  I love them.  If I were a baking superhero (I’m working on it) my weakness would be cinnamon rolls.

As much as I love the little devils (and I hate to say this) I hate to bake them.  The problem is not the sweet yeast dough or the rolling or the slicing.  I simply have no patience for the waiting that is required of me during the proofing, rolling, slicing and proofing again process.  I realize this is totally unreasonable, but it’s just the truth.

Nicole at Baking Bites seems the understand my need for instant, yet stubbornly homemade cinnamon roll goodness.

I’d like to introduce you to Cinnamon Roll Muffins-  add the yeast, subtract the long rising.

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Sourdough Starter Day 2 and Day 3

Now we’re cookin’!  

Above is Day 2 of the sourdough starter.  You can see a layer of yellowish liquid running through the starter.  That’s the hooch.  I just stirred the starter well before its feeding.  

Below is Day 3 of the “situation starter”.  Now it’s starting to get going.  I’m totally excited!  It smells slightly sour but still mostly floury.  I can see the bread at the end of the tunnel!


Sourdough Starter Day 1

After a swift 24 hours of sitting on my counter with the lid ajar, here are the (less than exciting) photographic results of my sourdough starter.  

This is the starter just before it’s first feeding.  

I know this isn’t terribly exciting.  

I promise I’ve got some lovely recipes in store for you. I won’t make you suffer through watching bacteria grow for too much longer.

How are your starters coming?


Start Your Starters!

I’m off on a baking adventure and I want you to come along.

All you’ll need is a cup of flour and a cup of water.

Want to play?

We’re making sourdough starters.  All they need is a little attention and feeding and we’ve got starter enough for loaves, pancakes and rolls week after week.

I already have dreams of Saturday morning Sourdough Pancakes trotting through my head.  While the endless possibilities of loaves and rolls is enticing, we all know that I’m really just doing this for the pancakes.

Jump on over and we’ll get started!

But wait!

If you’re not interested in making a sourdough starter (gasp!) or you already happen to have one in your fridge (applause!), then check out my musings on Mocha Pots de Creme over at FoodProof.  What are these Pots de Creme I speak of?  Only like the most deliciously rich and flavorful chocolate pudding you’ll ever have.  Go on… I know you’re curious!

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Learn To Love Your Cast Iron Skillet

I mentioned last week how dear my cast iron skillet is to me.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I’m not eating the ridiculous baked goods that come out of my oven, I’m eating eggs. Eggs inside of fried corn tortillas. I eat eggs because, as a baker, I always have eggs in the fridge and they’re super easy to fry up and call dinner. Eggs, always eggs, with salt, pepper and tortillas. There, now you know.

I cook my eggs and fry my tortillas in the same cast iron skillet day after day. This skillet is always riddled with the evidence of some sort of cooked egg. But with a little hot oil, some salt and a paper towel, it’s as good as clean.

If you have a cast iron skillet that could use some love, here’s how to season and care for that bad boy. Cast iron skillets are too bad ass to waste away in your cupboard. Get to it!

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Surfas Restaurant Supply,Gourmet Food and Commercial Kitchen Design

Just like heaven.

I love Surfas Restaurant Supply and Gourmet Food Market.  With their seemingly endless shelves of sprinkles, funky Italian pasta, and variety of fancy rolling pins,  I could easily spend 4 hours and $4,000 dollars here. Luckily, Surfas is across a treacherous amount of Los Angeles traffic, so my urge to bust out the American Express is often squelched by my disdain for bumper to bumper traffic.

Sometime last week I was bitten by the shopping bug.  This bug convinces me that I simply can’t live without things like colored sprinkles (you’re all probably tired of the blue sprinkles) and giant waffle irons.  The shopping bug also somehow convinces me that I actually have money to spend of these items.  Dangerous combination.

With thoughts of colored sprinkles and new shiny kitchen appliances wafting through my head, I headed down to Surfas for some expensive browsing and a light lunch.

I wanted to share.

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Honey Roasted Plums with Fresh Thyme and Greek Yogurt

Delicious!  Delicious!  Delicious!

I was lucky enough to have a holiday weekend free from hurricane winds and rain.  My prayers go out to those of you who had to put up with that madness from Mother Nature.

I spent a lovely amount of time in a bathing suit and miraculously managed to make an absolutely stellar late summer dessert.

In making these gorgeous roasted plums I also developed a deep love for my cast iron skillets.  I realized this weekend that I use my cast iron skillets for everything, short of boiling pasta.  From pancakes to grits to scrambled eggs to sweet roasted plums.  It’s in and out of the oven.  It’s heavy enough to clobber any would be robbers.  It holds heat like a champion, and it’s just all around reassuring to have in the kitchen.  I have two.  I’m thinking about naming them… that’s how far my love goes.

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