Friday, February 22, 2013


Pumpernickel bread in America means something different to everyone. To me, it was my childhood bane-the bagel that was DEFINITELY NOT CHOCOLATE. To someone with more sophisticated taste, it is a dark dark rye bread with a slightly sweet taste. But to many Americans, it is the dark bread in a plastic bag with food coloring, and extra goodies like coffee, cocoa powder and molasses for palatability.

Originally from Germany, traditional pumpernickel is a 100% rye bread, and is baked for up to 24 hours in a steam oven at a very low temperature. This long bake gives the bread its characteristic coloring. The low gluten content of rye is responsible for the bread's density. The digestibility of the bread is questionable, hence the name, which translates to "devil's farts."

Bread SRSLY pumpernickel uses no rye, but does use a traditional long fermentation process. The dough is flavored with caraway and coriander seeds, and colored with freshly milled teff, an Ethiopian grain. The flavor is what I recall from my first bite into a pumpernickel bagel as a kid. While I couldn't stand the stuff, it became one of my favorites when I was a teenager. Expect a slightly drier loaf, with a tangy flavor and a strong fragrance of old world bread.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


To me, nothing feels like home more than a bowl filled with fruit. Back in New York, our fruit bowl contained whatever we craved - apples, mango, kiwifruit, plums - whenever we craved it. But living so close to so many fruit growers has taught me about the many wonders of eating locally, and in season.

Peel a satsuma straight from the farmer's market and you'll find it both sweeter and more tart than any from the grocery store. The meyer lemons are fragrant even from a distance, and the many types of oranges available at the stands are all heavy with juice. 

Try them all. Cara cara oranges from Lone Oak Ranch, page mandarins from Tory Farms, temple oranges from Flying Disc Ranch, oro blanco from Ferry Farms, satsumas from Everything Under the Sun, buddha's hand and etrog from Hamada Farms...

Simple Marmalade

Citrus and its peel are both full of natural pectin, the ingredient that causes jams to gel. Boil your lemons, limes and oranges with your sweetener of choice in a bit of water, and keep cooking and tasting for a few hours. 

Process in jars, or refrigerate containers of it. Once the jam has cooled, it should have gelled nicely. (If not, try again with less water, or continue to cook it. Gel or no, it will be delicious!)

Try it with a bowl of plain yogurt, or spread on sourdough toast. Meyer lemon marmalade is my favorite sandwich spread, and pairs well with savory fillings.

Candied Citrus Peel

Cut the peel of several pieces of citrus. Boil in water for a few minutes and drain. This will help alleviate the bitterness of the pith. Repeat as necessary. In the final boil, add your sweetener of choice to taste. A little salt might help bring out the sweetness without adding more sugar. 

Continue to boil in the sweet water until all the water has evaporated. You should be left with a translucent pile of candied peel, slightly sticky to the touch. Let it dry and store it in an airtight container. 

Candied citrus peel is delicious cut up in cookies, as a topping for a cake, cooked down with a savory entree as a sweet garnish, or straight from the jar.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Stuffing!

If you're anything like me, you know that a good stuffing, like a good potato latke, is made of whatever you can round up. Bread crusts, dried fruit, kale from the garden, leftover soup, all of it will make your stuffing a memorable addition to your Thanksgiving table. 

This recipe was made using a loaf of this week's pumpernickel sourdough bread, toasted until it was almost completely dried out, about 20 minutes in the oven.

Please substitute liberally. This is a vegan recipe, but works great if you are stuffing a bird, or if you have some homemade stock on hand.

Serves 4-6

Preheat the oven to 375.
Saute in a hot skillet for 10 minutes or until parsnips are cooked through:

3-4T olive oil (coconut oil and butter will both work here)
2 large carrots, diced
1 large or 2 small parsnips, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 T chopped fresh ginger
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 t salt (add immediately)
pinch (not even an eighth of a teaspoon) celery seed
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 t dried thyme

Add 1 granny smith apple, diced, and cook for a minute more.

Remove from heat and add: 

1-1 1/2 c red wine or homemade stock
3 c gluten-free stuffing croutons
1/2 c chopped dried figs or other fruit
2-3 T sunflower seeds (or chestnuts if you can eat them!)
pepper to taste
salt to taste

Stir and let sit until the bread has softened.

Cover and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and bake 10 minutes more.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spotlight on the pantry

This is my pantry. I've been stocking it for years now, with spices coming and going as I learn new things and forget old ones. When I moved away from home to start school, it was a shock to be pantryless, and ever since, I've strived to keep my shelves fully loaded! With a full arsenal of ingredients, you can make anything taste delicious. Here's a list of my pantry staples.

Flours and baking aids
The big 3! I use these flours in almost everything.
-sorghum flour
-millet flour
-arrowroot starch

brown rice flour, sweet rice flour (makes the best tortillas for burritos!), corn masa (tacos and tamales), baking powder, xanthan and guar gums, kosher salt

Oils and Sweet things (pick your favorites)
coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut oil, olive oil, non-GMO canola oil

for baking:
cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper, cardamom

for cooking:
turmeric, fenugreek, paprika, sumac, whole coriander, cumin, mexican oregano, chipotle pepper

Seeds and Miscellany
black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats, gluten-free oats, quinoa flakes, cacao nibs, whole millet

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spotlight on shishito peppers

Sweet shishito peppers are here! Find them from Happy Boy Farms 
for a few short weeks. Shishito peppers are often sold green, alongside 
padrons in the summer. Both padrons and shishitos, when green, can be 
sauteed in olive oil with a touch of salt for a snack or appetizer. 

Once matured, both peppers will turn red, but beware of the padrons! 
They pick up a good amount of heat as they grow. While the red shishitos 
look almost identical, they are sugary like a young bell pepper. Try them raw 
in salads, sauteed like their green counterparts, or whole as a snack.

You can find Happy Boy Farms at the following markets:

Castro (Wednesday)
Mission Community Market (Thursday)
North Berkeley (Thursday)
College of San Mateo (Saturday)
Temescal (Sunday)
Ft. Mason (Sunday)
Jack London Square (Sunday)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spotlight on Apple Picking

Many of you are from or have been to the East coast, and have experienced the wonderful New England autumn. The leaves are bright red and orange as you head north out of the city, and the air smells dry and cool and sweet.

Every year, my family picked apples for a day, and had apples through the winter. We kept bushels of them (literally) in our unheated back porch room, where they stayed crisp and fresh. We'd make pies, butters and applesauce, apple cakes and apple tarts, raw apples on toast and dried apples in oatmeal.

While I haven't had a chance to pick apples out here, I have been kept well-stocked by Devoto Gardens and Rainbow Orchards at the farmers market. Head to Devoto ($3/lb.) if you're jonesing for a tart, obscenely crunchy apple, the kind that was picked a few hours before market. Head to Rainbow for your baking apples ($1-2/lb), and gallons of fresh, unpasteurized cider ($10/gal). 

And if you're headed north, look for a hand-painted, side-of-the-road sign: fresh apples, or u-pick here. Stop. You won't regret it.

Try some apple cider muffins (the donut alternative) this week, featuring Rainbow Orchards cider. Order yours here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spotlight on early girl tomatoes

A happy, warm October 1st to you all! I hope you got to spend some time outdoors yesterday, now that it is finally summer. 

To me, nothing tastes more like summer than dry-farmed early girl tomatoes. Dry farming is a tried and true technique, used often for growing olives and grapes. Once a plant is established but before it starts to fruit, the farmer will cut off all irrigation (including sheltering it from the rains). The lack of water stresses the plant, and causes it to focus on bearing fruit. 

The resulting fruit is smaller and more concentrated than normal. In the case of tomatoes, this means a tiny, crunchy, and incredibly sweet treat. Dry farmed early girls are great raw as a snack, served slice with sea salt, made into a gazpacho, or roasted. We tried them on a pizza! (recipe below) You can also try them in this week's herbed tomato sourdough.

You can find organic dry-farmed early girls at most markets and some grocery stores from the following farms: Happy Boy Farm, Blue House Farm, Tomatero Farm, Fifth Crow Farm.

This recipe is what we used during our demo at the Eat Real Festival's community bread oven. Please substitute liberally, and feel free to send questions, or photos of your successes!

Early Girl Pizza

The dough:

1 c sorghum flour
3/4 c millet flour
1/2 c arrowroot starch
1/4 c white rice flour
2 t xanthan gum
1 1/2 t salt
3/4 t active dry yeast

Mix all dry ingredients except yeast. Add yeast to a cup of water in a separate bowl, and wait until it is dissolved. Add that mixture to the dry, and mix. The dough should resemble a very wet but still "kneadable" bread dough. Add more water if needed. Once the dough is mixed, let it rise for as long as you can stand. (this means at least 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours. If you make it more than 4 hours in advance, store it in the fridge).

The toppings:

6-8 dry farmed early girl tomatoes, sliced
fresh mozzarella or ricotta, if desired
fresh garlic, minced
olive oil
herbs if desired

Preheat your oven to 500 if it goes that high. Spread some cornmeal or other coarse flour on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scrape out your dough onto the sheet and spread it to your desired size. You may need to wet your hands and the dough to avoid sticking. Rub some olive oil over the dough and bake for 5-10 minutes.

Pull out the dough, which should feel bread-like now, and top with olive oil, garlic, salt, tomatoes, and cheese and herbs if using. Pop it back in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned (easier to see if using cheese). Enjoy hot, preferably outdoors with friends.

If you have any questions about the recipe, or would like to share photos of your pizzas, send them my way! You can reach me at sadie at breadsrsly dot com.