Book Blog: A Cheesemonger’s History of The British Isles by Ned Palmer

Posted by on Oct 1, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

A Cheesemonger’s History of The British Isles by Ned Palmer

out now in print and ebook; BookShop, B&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

A fun frolic of a book for those, like me, who love cheese and history! Palmer is a cheesemonger and he knows his subject well, having not only sold the cheese but interacted with and even made cheese with the small-operation makers. There’s no snobbery here, though–the mood of the book is enthusiastic for cheese. That’s something I can totally get behind.

There is mild overlap with some other books on cheese, notably Kinstedt’s Cheese and Culture, but not that much, as Palmer goes much deeper into historical British cheese than any other book I have read. He hones in on some specific cheeses like Wensleydale, Cheshire (new life goal: become a cheese pirate), and Lanark Blue to explore the revolution of cheese as a food and as an industry, bringing the narrative right up to the present day. The book is fascinating throughout, a breezy read that is also informative. I felt the need to share factoids with my husband as I read in the evening.

I highly recommend this book to other cheese lovers, but be warned–if you’re not in the UK, it will torment you to read about so many cheeses that are not readily found abroad! Oh, how I yearn to find that Stonebeck cheese…

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Bready or Not: Shortcut Overnight Sourdough Starter and Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

Posted by on Sep 29, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s easy to make sourdough bread even if you don’t maintain a sourdough starter thanks to the shortcut on Bready or Not today. Use this Shortcut Overnight Sourdough Starter with any recipe, or to make the accompanying recipe for Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter!

Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

A lot of people maintained a sourdough ‘mother’ during 2020. A lot of people no longer do. Maintaining a starter takes effort, and it’s easy to forget to feed or discard as necessary.

Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

That’s why these recipes today are so great. With a day of planning, you can whip up 1 cup of starter. Use it to make rolls, or anything else that requires 1 cup of starter.

Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

Then, ta-da! You get delicious bread, and without the fuss of a starter.

Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

These rolls are fantastic, too. My husband declared them to be about the best homemade bread ever, which is really saying something.

Bready or Not: Shortcut Overnight Sourdough Starter

If you don’t keep a sourdough starter and need 1 cup of starter for a recipe, this is the perfect shortcut recipe for you! Modified from Sift Magazine Spring 2016.
Course: Bread
Keyword: yeast bread
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • large jar or medium bowl
  • plastic wrap or towel

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients in a jar or bowl; make sure the starter has room to grow, as it will double in size! Cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let sit at room temperature overnight. Use in baking the next day.

OM NOM NOM!

    Bready or Not: Soft White Dinner Rolls using Sourdough Starter

    These Sourdough Soft White Dinner Rolls can be made using a cup of sourdough starter, or with my Shortcut Sourdough Start recipe. The rolls bake up light and airy with a refreshing sourdough tang. Be sure to eat them hot!
    Course: Bread
    Keyword: yeast bread
    Servings: 16 rolls
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • kitchen scale
    • basting brush
    • 2 cake pans or rimmed baking sheet

    Ingredients

    Dough

    • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
    • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
    • 2/3 cup milk or half & half warmed (no higher than 110-degrees)
    • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (half stick) melted and cooled
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 cup sourdough discard about 8 oz
    • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more if needed

    Top

    • olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter melted

    Instructions

    • In a large bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and warm milk and let sit for a few minutes to activate. Add the cooled-down melted butter followed by the sourdough discard, salt, and cornstarch. If using a stand mixer, switch to a bread hook as the flour is added, a cup at a time, adding more as necessary to reach a soft, workable consistency. The dough should no longer be super-sticky and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead for another 5 minutes using a mixer, or up to 10 minutes by hand.
    • Add some olive oil to the bowl. Rolls the dough to coat it completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel to let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours; this will take longer if the starter was cold.
    • Cut parchment to fit in two 9-inch cake pans or for a rimmed baking rim. Apply nonstick spray on pan and paper.
    • Turn out the dough onto the counter and punch it down. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough, then divide it into 16 equal portions. Keep a saucer with some water in it nearby to dab in fingers to smooth the dough into a round–the dough may be sticky! Set in prepared pans, giving each roll some space to rise again.
    • Cover rolls and set in a warm place for the 2nd rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
    • Preheat at 350-degrees. Bake for 11 minutes, rotate pans, then bake for another 11 to 15 minutes. The tops should be golden; a digital thermometer discreetly plunged into a middle roll should be over 190-degrees.
    • Immediately brush melted butter over the tops. Let cool at least 10 minutes before eating. Leftover rolls keep well sealed at room temperature or in the freezer, but they must be eaten hot.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Book Blog: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

      Posted by on Sep 24, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

      I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

      Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

      out now in print and ebook; BookShopB&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

      I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

      The skin around my eyes remains stiff from tears because this book made me SOB, but in the best of ways. This is a beautiful, extraordinary book that will crush your heart and put it back together, too.

      Wallace is a jerk. He’s like Scrooge brought into the modern-day–a high-powered lawyer who is callous, cold, and not the slightest bit loved. When he keels over dead, he attends his own funeral and rages, unseen, at the way his ex-wife and law firm partners disrespect him. A reaper arrives–a young woman, Mei, who can see and hear him, and takes him to a strange tea house in the middle of nowhere. It’s a waypoint for the recently dead to come to grips with their new state of being before they move on through a door set in the fourth-floor ceiling. The purveyor is Hugo, a man with a knack to choose the right tea for anyone–and also, a ferryman, a person with a genuine, empathetic heart. He helps the recently-dead move on.

      But Wallace doesn’t want to move on. He stays. He rages, he grieves, and slowly, he starts to change. And fall in love.

      I fell in love, too, with every character. The deep feels of this book remind me of Becky Chambers’s novels–stories that truly capture the complexity and the goodness of people and somehow manage to reaffirm your belief in humanity. I like that this took the Scrooge trope and made it more realistic–there’s no overnight change. It’s gradual, it’s painful, it’s full of regret. Ultimately, it’s a queer love story, too, and again, one that feels realistic (because honestly, anyone and everyone can and will fall in love with Hugo).

      This will be one of the best books I’ve read this year, and probably an all-time favorite.

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      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      Posted by on Sep 22, 2021 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, cake, chocolate, mint | 0 comments

      Oh hey, it’s time for cake. A Thin Mint Cake that is neither too big or too small, something that keeps well stashed in the fridge, and looks as amazing as it tastes.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      If you love chocolate and mint, this is the cake for you. The cake is loaded with chocolate flavor, and a ganache adds a shiny finishing touch.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      The middle layer of the cake is essentially a peppermint or mint-flavored buttercream. Sweet but not too sweet, it gives good contrast to balance the prevalent chocolate flavor.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      I used this cake to try out a technique I’ve only read about and seen on TV before–I used four toothpicks to measure the halfway point on the sides of the cake, then tugged a piece of floss to cut the cake evenly in half! It worked out well.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      Of course, you can still use a knife to cut through. The toothpicks will still be a helpful guide.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      This is an ideal birthday or special occasion cake for a small group!

      Greatly modified from Eating Well Magazine May 2020.

      Bready or Not Original: Thin Mint Cake

      This Thin Mint Cake is a glorious, not-too-big-or-small layer cake loaded with chocolate and mint goodness. It’s not hard to make, either. Cutting the cake in half is the trickiest bit, and a piece of floss makes that easy!
      Course: Dessert
      Keyword: cake, chocolate, layer cake, mint
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • 9-inch cake pan
      • ruler
      • toothpicks
      • unwaxed floss
      • parchment paper

      Ingredients

      Cake

      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
      • 3/4 cup white sugar
      • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup water
      • 1/3 cup canola oil
      • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or other cider vinegar
      • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

      Mint Filling

      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
      • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted, more as needed for consistency
      • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract
      • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1-2 drops green food coloring
      • 2 Tablespoons half and half or milk

      Glaze

      • 1/2 cup half and half
      • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
      • pinch salt

      Instructions

      To prepare the cake

      • Preheat an oven at 350-degrees. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside a 9-inch cake pan. Apply nonstick spray inside pan, place parchment inside, and spray it again.
      • Stir together all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
      • In another bowl, whisk together water, oil, vinegar, and both extracts. Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry until the batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Tap and thump it gently on the counter to knock out as many bubbles as possible.
      • Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick in the middle emerges with few crumbs attached. Let the pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto the rack to cool completely.

      Make the filling

      • Beat the butter until it is creamy and light. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, to fully incorporate; if the mixture is still too soft and loose, add more sugar. Add mint and vanilla extract, followed by the salt. Add a few drops of food coloring to achieve the desired tint. Add the half and half and beat to make the filling fluffy and light.

      Slice the cake and fill

      • Stick a toothpick into the halfway point at each side of the cake; four toothpick markers work well. Use a knife to barely slice into the cake above each toothpick. Continue to use a long-bladed knife to slice all the way through, or use a long piece of unwaxed floss with the toothpicks as a guide to divide the cake evenly in half.
      • Place the base of the cake on a serving plate. Spread the filling over the cake. Place the top of the cake over it, cut side down.

      Make the glaze

      • Microwave the half & half in a microwave-safe bowl for about a minute, until hot. Stir in the chocolate chips and salt. Stir, stir, stir until the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Let cool about 5 minutes to thicken, then slowly pour and spread glaze over the cake. Let sit at room temperature or in fridge to set, then slice in and enjoy!
      • Store cake in fridge. Exposed sides of the cake will dry out more, but it will still be tasty. Keeps for at least 4 days.

      OM NOM NOM!

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