Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baking with Julia challenge

Well, I said I wanted to learn how to bake better (especially yeast doughs), and it seems the universe has given me an opportunity to do that. I will be participating not only in the on-going Dark Days challenge, but also in the newest challenge over at Tuesdays with Dorie in which we will work our way through the book, Baking with Julia starting next month.

I was hesitant to sign up, telling myself I was getting in over my head, it would be too much to take on, etc etc. However, we will be doing only 2 recipes a month (one every other week)... if I can't handle cooking 2 recipes a month, then I've got bigger issues to deal with :P Also, I had the same hesitations for the Dark Days challenge and I've been doing just fine with it so far. Plus, the rules are very minimal, and it will be a great opportunity to improve my baking skills!

That being said, I'm still a little intimidated... I remember watching PBS when I was younger, and whenever Julia Child was on, she would always make a fantastic mess (but have a hell of a good time) in the kitchen and end up with some ridiculously elaborate end result. I particularly remember her making a Buche de Noel in which she flings sugar syrup around to make 'moss' to drape over her finished buche:

The messy bit is around the 23:00 mark, it's worth a watch. As an aside, in re-watching this snippet to post it here (I probably haven't seen this video since my early teens), I realized where I get something I say constantly when cooking: "It's better to have too much than too little". :D And I never realized how unappetizing food is in black and white... yish.

Anyway, the first set of recipes will be White Loaves (yay, bread!) and Chocolate Truffle Tartlets. My mantra for this challenge shall be "Quality, not quantity"... I want to improve my skills and learn new ones, not just make a ton of fattening foods ;) Perhaps B will help remind me of that, and drag me out for the occasional evening walk so I don't end up weighing 300 pounds by the end of all this. Very anxious/excited to get started on this...!

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