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How To: A Lesson in Bread Making

September 2, 2009

It wasn’t so many years ago that the mere thought of making my own bread seemed unimaginable and unappealing.  [Come to think of it, I don't actually think I ever thought about it.  Follow me?]  But after a rash change in career paths – accountant to baker – bread baking had not only quickly become something I thought about but also a job requirement.

As the sole baker (slave), I was not only responsible for satisfying each guest’s sweet tooth but also for helping those Atkins shy meet their daily carb max.  Which usually came in the form of a beautifully handmade, fresh baked loaf of bread.

But there was a learning curve involved in getting from never having thought of making bread to making 35-40 loaves a day.  Thankfully, in said environment, the learning happens rather fast and furiously.  Crash and burns are inevitable.  And there were many.

My boss, who now looking back could have been Anthony Bourdain’s twin minus the whole celeb chef/tv personality thing, handed me a worn and tattered bread book from the 70’s and said, “start here”.  So with this Zen priest as my guide, I got to work.  Spending the entire summer working my way through the Tassajara Bread Book.  It was a fantastic place to begin and gain confidence, while always being rewarded with a most delicious piece of bread.

When I returned the following summer, I came armed with more books and more knowledge.  During the winter and spring, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible became a permanent fixture on my bedside table.  Each night I would read a little, highlight, dog-ear and make notes, as if I was cramming for a final exam.

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What to do with that Zucchini?

July 24, 2009

If you’ve been blessed with an overabundance of zucchini from your garden, farmers market or otherwise green-thumbed friend, put it to good use and bake it up into something sweet! The idea of zucchini invading my sweet treats never seemed to do much for me, that is until I actually tried it. Because really, no matter what vegetable it is – carrot, zucchini, beet (ok, a stretch), sweet potato – once you add lots of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of fat, how could it not be delicious?

So, go ahead. Take your ordinary zucchini…
The Big One

and turn it into extraordinarily sweet bread!
Zuchinni Bread

Recipe pictorial follows.  It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3!

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Socialism? No, this is a Dictatorship!

July 3, 2009

SugarBomb.com

You dropped a bomb on me, baby.
You dropped a bomb on me.

A SugarBomb that is.  And that’s exactly what happened this week when I was asked by the TopTooth at CitySearch to contribute to their site and carry the title of Dictator.  Who was I to  say ‘no’?

After a couple of years of plugging away at this blog and trying to decide recently which path it should take…it was a welcomed surprise to hear someone say (other than my family and friends) that they actually liked what I have been doing.

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From the Old World – pt. 1

June 30, 2009

Pizzelles

A brief history lesson:

Pizzelles (pronounced pit-sells) are Italian waffle-like cookies, originating  in the Abruzzo region of South-Central Italy (just east of Rome).  The word itself translates loosely to “small, flat, and round.”  Made from the most basic ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, oil or butter, and flavored with anise.  They could be found at most Italian celebrations/feasts and are believed to be the oldest known cookie dating back to the 8th century.  Originally, they were made using irons over an open fire.  Many of the which were embossed with family crests and passed down from generation to generation.

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Not just a cookie-cutter job

April 14, 2009

Packaged Lemongrass & Ginger

My inbox delivered some sad news to me this morning.  My lovely friends and former colleagues at Amai Tea & Bake House (also known as Lovescool) have decided to close up shop…this weekend.   It is with a heavy heart that I write that.

This came as a heartbreaking surprise, leaving me to feel a bit dazed and confused.  If the effects of this economic disaster hadn’t been evident enough, then this just made it crystal clear.  What else does a small business owner have to do to survive?  In it’s young life, Kelli and Andrew have managed to make quite a name for Amai, with loads of adorers, followers and regulars from all over the world to solidify their efforts.  Add to that many awards and accolades from their peers that they have accumulated.  It just doesn’t make sense, except for the fact that we are living in uncertain times. 

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Mamma Mia!

April 6, 2009

Sliced

Mamma Mia!  My grandfather likes to say when something excites him.  And tonight was one of those nights.  Because it was pizza night around here.  Which has pretty much become a weekly tradition.

After several years of experimenting, I think I have managed to come as close to perfection as possible.  As I have let my pickiest critic be the judge – my father.  And now my grandfather, as well.  Which for me are the hardest people to please, having come from an Italian background.

Yet, even though I make this almost every week, I just realized that I have never bothered to take any pictures of this process or even the finished product.  So, today was the day I finally remembered.  And thought I would share.

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…is now on twitter

April 3, 2009

One Sweet World can now be found on twitter under the name larasweetworld, since the obvious was already taken. 

I created an account many, many months ago at the urging of my friend clicktyclack.  But like most, once I did I had absolutely no idea what to do next.  And until yesterday, I hadn’t even bothered to get back on.  Actually had to reset my username and password because I had already forgotten them.  After doing so, I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon/evening familiarizing myself with this phenomena. 

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