Artisan Breads Every Day

Artisan Breads Every Day

I started baking bread about 10 years ago using Carol Field’s The Italian Baker as my reference. That is where I learned about using a starter or biga to improve the flavor of my bread. The next important book in my bread baking education was The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. An essential volume for anybody serious about baking bread, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, taught me much more about the science of bread baking and introduced me to different types of starters and other pre-fermenting methods that help extract maximum flavor from the combination of flour, water and yeast. Bread baking can be a time consuming task. Mixing, rising, shaping, and baking bread can take hours depending on the type of bread. In recent years an answer to this problem for home bakers has appeared in the person of no-knead bread recipes, like the techniques in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. These recipes cut down on the active time required to bake bread, the principle being that you make a large batch of very wet dough with minimal kneading, place it in the refrigerator to ferment, take the dough out the day you want to bake, shape, proof for forty minutes or so and bake. While the results can be very good, especially considering the amount of time and effort put in, I find the breads are not quite as good as the ones I make when I use Reinhart and Field’s formulas. In his latest book, Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, America’s bread guru comes through with a solution. In this book Reinhart takes...
Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a classic Roman pasta dish, that has become a standard on menus in Italian restaurants around the world. As with any dish that becomes this ubiquitous, many variations tend to crop up, with people adding different ingredients along the way. One addition that pops up frequently is cream. While I am not typically a staunch traditionalist, and our recipe even demonstrates this with ingredients that some may argue with, I do believe strongly, as all Romans would agree, that cream has no place in a real carbonara sauce. The ingredients that most agree are contained in a traditional carbonara sauce are guanciale(cured pork jowel), eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. Since, guanciale is an ingredient that is not that easy to get your hands on, pancetta is often substituted. This recipe is how my father served carbonara in his restaurant for years, and it includes shallots, white wine and chicken broth. Those ingredients may not be considered traditional, but they really do work in this dish because they enhance the dish by subtly complementing rather than taking away from the main ingredients. Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipe Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 25 min Serves 4-6 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 2 shallots, chopped fine 8 ounces pancetta, chopped coarsely 1/4 cup white wine 1/4 cup chicken broth 1 pound spaghetti 4 large egg yolks 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese freshly ground black pepper to taste Heat olive oil and butter in a large sautè pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots...