Monday, January 25

Clean - {Orange Cupcakes with Candied Orange Garnish}

Cleaning my desk today caused me a bit of frustration.

I sighed audibly as I scraped and scooped piles upon piles of eraser shavings into my cupped palm, fighting them as they defiantly recoiled and stuck to the desktop. Reminders of second guessing and my own defining of mistakes over a roughened sheet of paper. I'm quite used to the insubordinate behavior the stubborn buggers express, although it's been awhile since I've dealt with it. I do most of my homework on my laptop now, and the little composition I do on paper is completed in ink.

It's strange how things have changed.

But the reason behind this irritating mess has nothing to do with homework and everything to do with relaxation; after a half year hiatus, I've picked up drawing again. And although I may find the mess a little tiresome, drawing is not something I'll do in pen! Much like I swoon for good coffee and go weak in the knees over cute serveware, I am absolutely addicted to erasers.


I was always the kid ripping holes in her homework because she used up the entire eraser and apparently insisted that the sharp metal casing worked just as well. Teachers were constantly over my shoulder to kindly remind me that scratching out words was acceptable. "You don't need to erase everything," they would say politely.

But I wanted my papers to be neat. As close to perfect as my childish penmanship would allow. If I'm permitted the luxury of erasing something and starting over, why not take advantage of the opportunity? It's not something that happens very often, right?

So I erased and tried again.

The first time I made the candied orange slices for these cupcakes, I absentmindedly wandered away from the saucepan. Moments later, the gravity of my mistake became apparent as the acrid stink of burning sugar spread into the farthest rooms of our house. As I hopelessly stirred the pan with a wooden spoon, the sugar began to seize. It was ruined. Another mess to clean.

But I looked at it optimistically; I would simply try again, and this time I would be more careful. After thoroughly cleaning and reloading the pan, the process went very smoothly the second time. The orange slices weren't perfect, but the results were more than acceptable.

I've learned to appreciate my messes because it means that I tried, and that I can always try again. I may be covered in graphite, I may have a huge mess to clean and I might just be sneezing eraser shavings for a week, but I'm happy.


And that's enough for me!

Orange Cupcakes
I'm still trying to find an orange cake recipe that I really really like. This one is good, but not as orange-y as I hoped it would be! I found it in one of my recipe books (I'll get the title next time I go home!), but I made a few alterations.
Printable Recipe

6 Tbls (85 g) butter, at room temp
3/8 c (75 g) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Juice and zest of one orange
5/8 c (78 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c (24 g) almond meal
1/4 c (58 g) sour cream

Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a cupcake tin with 8 liners.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add in the egg and vanilla. Beat until very well combined, then add the orange zest and juice.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and almond meal. Sift half into the creamed mixture, stir just until combined, then add the sour cream. Stir briefly, then add the remaining dry ingredients. Being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, make sure the batter is fully mixed, then pour into liners. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Cool on a rack.

While the cupcakes are baking, combine:

Juice and zest of one orange
1/4 c (50 g) sugar

In a small saucepan and simmer for five minutes. While the cupcakes are still warm, poke holes in them with a toothpick and pour the orange syrup over them.

Italian Meringue Buttercream For step-by-step directions for making Italian Meringue Buttercream, please click here!

1/4 c (63 ml) water
1 c (210 g) sugar
5 egg whites
1/4 c (53 g) sugar
1 c (237 g) butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla, more if desired

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Heat the 1 c sugar and water on the stove to 245F stirring occasionally only after the sugar has been dissolved. When it is within the range of 230F to 235F, begin whipping the egg whites. When they get to soft peaks, begin adding the remaining 1/4 c sugar and continue whipping to medium peaks, being careful not to overbeat. When the syrup is the correct temperature, slowly pour it into the eggs with the mixer on high. After fully incorporated, beat the frosting 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temp (I usually go a little longer than this; often times the bowl is not room temp when I begin adding butter. If the mix seems to soupy, put it in the fridge for a few moments or try briefly chilling some of the butter in the freezer before adding). Begin adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating until fully incorporated. The frosting will deflate a little, but it's ok. Keep whipping until the frosting comes together (you may not need to add all of the butter), add the vanilla and continue whipping until it's light and fluffy.

Candied Orange Slices via Use Real Butter
Mine were a little chewier than I would have liked, but I think these would turn out perfectly if the sugar syrup was cooked to the hard crack stage!

1 orange, washed
water for boiling
ice water
2 (397 g) cups sugar
1 (237 ml) cup water

Cut the orange into thin slices (Thinner is better, but be careful not to slice them so thinly that they fall apart!). Remove the seeds and discard the ends. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and blanch the orange slices for about a minute. Drain and plunge into a bath of ice water. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved without stirring. Swirl the pan gently if it's not heating evenly. Bring to a simmer and add the orange slices. Let simmer (don’t boil) for an hour (you can simmer as much as 2 hours). Remove slices from hot sugar syrup and set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet until completely dry, up to 24 hours.

Tuesday, January 19

Contrast - {Pistachio Biscotti and Coffee Pots De Creme}

While the night sky of the summer has equal merit, there's nothing quite like winter's.

Hidden under snow, the landscape quiets and slumbers; deserving of the rest it's been allotted. Without the distraction of greenery, slightly dimmed and deathly hollowed in response to the sun's absence, the night palette is limited to a harmonious and complimentary pair of colors.

Black and gold.


In a perfect ratio.

Without the black, the distant lights would be blinding (not to mention hardly conducive to the sleeping habits of modern man!) and distracting. Night time would cease to be a time of relaxation and reflection and instead add to the hours of daylight. Wonderful and necessary hours, but hours that can needlessly guide your head down complexly coiled paths.

It's only natural for a mind to wind, after all.

But we find solace as we drift through the night because, glimmer by glimmer, those perfect golden sparks in the distance instill us with hope. The sun is gone for now, but only long enough to miss it. Long enough to make you appreciate it. Long enough to make you realize that even in the darkest nights, there is light.


If keep your head up, I promise you won't miss it.

Mocha Pots De Creme via Tyler Florence
I found this recipe in Florence's book, Real Kitchen, however, the recipe in the book doesn't call for chocolate and is titled "Espresso Pots De Creme." The photo that accompanied the recipe does not resemble mine in color and I think that the chocolate was left out on accident. While these are great, I would definitely include the chocolate!
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 c (355 ml) heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 c whole black coffee beans
3 egg yolks
1/4 c (50 g) sugar
1 1/2 Tbls brewed espresso coffee, cold
1 oz (28 g) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).

Bring the heavy cream, vanilla and coffee beans to a brief simmer in a small saucepan. Be careful not to boil or it will overflow. Remove from heat and strain to remove the beans.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar in a medium-sized bowl until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Temper the yolks by gradually whisking the hot cream into the yolk and sugar mixture. Go slowly, and don't stop whisking or the mixture may curdle! Stir in the brewed coffee and melted chocolate.

Pour the egg-cream mixture into 3 (8-ounce) ramekins and place them in a large, shallow baking pan with 1/2-inch of warm water. Bake the ramekins in the water bath for about 35 minutes. The center will still jiggle slightly when they're done. Remove the pan from the oven and let the ramekins cool in the water for 10 minutes, then pop them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

Pistachio Biscotti via Tyler Florence
I love these cookies, and this recipe is so simple!
Printable Recipe

3/4 c (92 g) pistachios, shelled
1/4 c (59 g) unsalted butter, room temp
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
1/2 c (100 g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c (219 g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).

Lay the pistachios on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until the nuts are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven.

In an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, gradually add the egg and egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla; mix until creamed. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dough until nearly smooth, then add the pistachios, mixing just until the dough comes together well.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a log, about 12 inches long by 1-inch high. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then place on a cutting board. Slice each log on a diagonal into 12 1-inch thick pieces. Put the cookies back on the cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake the other side for another 5 minutes. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 13

The Glass - {Apple Tart}

Grey slush is everywhere.


Allowing carefully planned steps to deceive and sending you quickly and easily to the ground, it's a hazard to your daily life in its most basic elements. As your feet cycle, struggling to gain ground - to get ahead -- to stabilize - they give birth to more grey, until your feet are completely lost and consumed within.

Hopeless and burdened with damp shoes and sloshing pant legs, the endless onslaught of despair brought forth by an unfortunate change in seasons casts my eyes skyward, fiercely searching for a single lightened patch; any sign that the monotonous grey will soon come to an end.

On those days when the sun fails to free itself from the unforgiving grasp of the powerful darkness that has lain claim of the sky in recent weeks, I, as you may have guessed, greet the conditions with great distaste. But I keep my head up. There are many ways in which the sky is able to present itself, and the fact that it has chosen this very particular shade of gloom from the very vast and varied palette of colors visible to the human eye is nothing short of miraculous. Unintentionally sliding three or four inches forward on the heel of my Doc's at the thought, I reevaluate my path, shuffling my feet awkwardly forward into grey.

But, of course, patience is rewarded. I've been fortunate this week, as temperatures have risen to waltz about the freezing point and the sun has made itself known to orchestrate the glorious event. In this light, I see the snow through rose-colored glasses.

Ok, I'm lying. I see it through my embarrassingly-scratched-slightly-bent-and-therefore-a-little-crooked-but-still-very-much-wearable mirrored aviators.

Which is infinitely better, in case there was any doubt in your mind.

In the heart of winter, when summer, the thing I want most, is farthest from me, I remain positive.

Especially on the rare days like today, when it's again acceptable to be wearing my sunglasses.

To be gazing skyward appreciatively and then rewarded with nothing but blue.

To be, although quite heavily clothed, comfortable, again, under the sun.

To be.

Apple Tarts
I really encourage you to check out this delicious post on The Adventurous Eater because it's honestly the best apple dessert I've ever had! Otherwise, if you're feeling a bit short on time, go with this simple rendition. The pate sucree is slightly adapted from the above link. Makes enough for three 8 or 9 inch tarts.
Printable Recipe

3/4 c + 1 tbls (125 g) confectionery sugar
1 c (250 g) butter
1 vanilla bean, seeded
3 eggs
3 1/2 c (438 g) cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Apples, however many are needed to fill your desired pan. Just eat the leftovers. I used 1 1/2 Golden Delicious apples (they're my favorite!) to make four very small tarts
Sugar, for dusting
Flour, for dusting
Apricot jam
Water

Cream the butter sugar and vanilla bean seeds until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Sift in the cake flour and baking powder and mix just to combine. Form into three small discs, wrap each in plastic and store in fridge for at least a half an hour.
Roll out the desired amount of dough to line either individual tart rings, a tart pan, or a pie dish and dock with a fork to prevent the dough from rising. Sprinkle with a little sugar and flour then place in fridge.

Peel and core the apples, then slice very thinly. Use a mandoline if you have access to one. You want them so thin that that they can bend easily and conform to the circular shape of the pastry ring. Work quickly so the apples do not brown - I've heard that storing the cut slices in water laced with lemon can prevent the reaction for occurring. After the apples have been sliced, arrange by overlapping each slice and forming concentric circles. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake at 350F (175C) for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.

After you pull them from the oven, heat a little apricot jam with a few splashes of water to make a thin apricot glaze. Gently brush over the tarts for an extra kick of sweetness.

Thursday, January 7

Lazy - {Lemon Meringue Tart}

A mildly curious glance toward the living room warrants a small smile permission to bridge my cheeks. Casually collecting the simple details of the scene lain before me, I admire the soft ambient light of the snow as I briefly and purposefully study the room's clock. Proudly dictated by the hands over the pristine white face is 5:30 - concrete evidence that the day is winding down to a close.

And I'm still wearing my pajamas.


I slept in this morning, but I think that goes without saying. It's not something I enjoy doing very often, but it was all I wanted this morning.

Well, that and a bowl of Cheerios.

Sure, I did a load of laundry, cleaned a bit and baked some meringue for an upcoming project, but I've really been very lazy. My to-do list has been crumpled and burned for warmth, and I'm greedily savoring this slow and unproductive day like a typical 18-year-old by lounging on my bed and cuddling with my dog. Guzzling numerous mugs of coffee and chatting with friends are the day's crowning achievements!

I'll be useful tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'd like to share these Lemon Meringue Tarts with you. There's nothing quite like biting into a tart citrus dessert in the winter. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and take a quick peek at the snow on the ground as you bite into one of these, then close your eyes and let their sour bite refresh and clear your senses.


You won't regret it!

Lemon Meringue Pie via Alton Brown
Printable Recipe

Pie Crust
I didn't follow Alton's method for making the crust, although I do know it works very well. Click here for his directions. This makes enough for one 9 inch pie or four four inch tarts.

6 Tbls (85 g) butter, chilled
2 Tbls (28 g) lard, chilled (I used Crisco)
1 c (142 g) flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c (59 ml) ice water, in spritz bottle
Dried beans or rice for blind baking

Chop the butter into small pieces and put it and the crisco in the freezer for fifteen minutes.

In another bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the fat with a fork or a pastry blender until the mixture is very coarse. Add just enough ice water to bring it all together and gather the dough into a ball. Press into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap, then set it in the fridge for 30 minutes. After it has been chilled, roll out the dough and line your pans. Preheat the oven to 425F and place the crust in the freezer until the oven has come to temp. When you are ready to bake, line the crust with parchment paper and fill with beans or rice. Bake 10 minutes, remove the parchment paper and weights and bake until golden - 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meringue

4 egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling.

Lemon Custard Filling
4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/3 c (39 g) cornstarch
1 1/2 c (355 ml) water
1 1/3 c (264 g) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbls (43 g) butter, softened and cubed
1/2 c (118 ml) lemon juice
1 Tbls lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).

Whisk egg yolks in medium size heat-proof mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Over medium heat, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually add hot mixture to egg yolks, whisking constantly, until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Tuesday, January 5

Late-Night Cupcakes - {Cream Liqueur Cupcakes}

A thick but gentle fog of snow welcomed cold winds a few nights ago as I sat, sleepy, in my grandparent's dining room. Time has a different meaning at their house; I think absolutely nothing of glancing at the digital clock on the stove and reading off 2:47 while furiously whisking a pot on the stove. I was always allowed to stay up late when I visited, and it was so exciting to watch the hour hand swivel round and round the clock's face.

I felt so cool back then... Staying up until one and eating ice cream at midnight gave me such a high. It was so special.

Those memories will be with me forever.

But then; as the hour hand lazily wound its way around to three and I remembered those nights spent forcing my poor grandparents to watch Speed Racer, Wacky Races and Hong Kong Phooey; my body hungered for sleep. Slowly guiding a steady stream of ink over an empty page, I thoughtfully penned a headline and date in my baking notebook as I tried to ignore the chill creeping at my arms - one of the few things keeping me awake. I was taking notes on the tarts I had been working on for a few hours, but my eyelids were growing heavy under the pounds of flour, sugar, eggs and butter that fill my mind. But a sudden realization stirred my thoughts, opening my eyes; as my pen left the page, it hit me.


It's 2010.

I know that this is truly nothing mind-blowing, and I'm aware that it's been 2010 for a week. I know the ball dropped (hell - I watched it! I even drank a glass of sparkling apple cider after it was all over!), and I know that New Year's has come and gone, as most things do.

But what I really hadn't realized was that it's already time to get used to writing '10 as the year instead of '09.

I just got used to '09!

Where has the year gone?

But! I've done enough reflecting in this space to last for quite some time, so I will spare you a rehash of everything I've typed in the past few weeks! Just know that this year has been good to me, and a big part of it has to do with you guys - thanks so much for reading! You rock :)

What I will offer you, however, in place of a trip down memory lane, is a way to use up any leftover Cream Liqueur you may have hiding out in your fridge from the holidays.

Oh - who am I kidding? I don't honestly think anyone really needs to be told how to finish off a bottle of the stuff, but humor me, ok? Make some Irish Cream Cupcakes. Enjoy them with your Grandparents late at night. Make them to celebrate the new year and the new decade.


Even if you're celebrating a week late.

Happy New Year, guys! I hope you've had a great holiday!

Cream Liqueur Cupcake via Too Many Chefs
I used small souffle cups from GFS for these instead of traditional cupcake liners. If you do opt for the cups, be sure to cut a small slit in the upper lip so that it's easy to remove them from the cake! Also, I found these cupcakes to be a little dry, but everyone else seemed to disagree. I'm beginning to think I just don't care too much for intense chocolate flavors. Anyway - they are very crumbly, so they're a little messy to eat!
Printable Recipe

2 oz (57 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 c (36 g) light brown sugar
4 Tbls cream liqueur (Like Bailey's)
1 c (125 g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c (59 g) butter, room temp
1/2 c (99 g) sugar
1 egg (I used extra large)
1/3 c (78 ml) milk, warmed in microwave for 15 seconds

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and line a cupcake tin.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, brown sugar and cream liqueur in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat, whisking occasionally. Meanwhile, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until lightened, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat briefly to combine. Add the milk, beat again, and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Before the last half of the flour is completely combined, add the chocolate mixture and beat just until incorporated. Spoon into liners and bake 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan about 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Italian Meringue Buttercream For step-by-step directions for making Italian Meringue Buttercream, please click here!

1/4 c (63 ml) water
1 c (210 g) sugar
5 egg whites
1/4 c (53 g) sugar
1 c (237 g) butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1-2 Tbls cream liqueur

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Heat the 2 c sugar and water on the stove to 245F stirring occasionally only after the sugar has been dissolved. When it is within the range of 230F to 235F (110C to 113C), begin whipping the egg whites. When they get to soft peaks, begin adding the sugar and continue whipping to medium peaks, being careful not to overbeat. When the syrup is the correct temperature, slowly pour it into the eggs with the mixer on high. After fully incorporated, beat the frosting 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temp (I usually go a little longer than this; often times the bowl is not room temp when I begin adding butter. If the mix seems to soupy, put it in the fridge for a few moments or try briefly chilling some of the butter in the freezer before adding). Begin adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating until fully incorporated. The frosting will deflate a little, but it's ok. Keep whipping until the frosting comes together (you may not need to add all of the butter), add the cream liqueur and continue whipping until it's light and fluffy.

Sunday, January 3

Crave - {Basil, Garlic and Feta Bread}

In the weeks before the 18th of December, the first day of winter break, I grew antsy and excitable as I scoured the internet for recipes I simply had to make while I had easy access to an oven. As the weeks turned into days, I began taking inventory of the fridge at home, texting my mom frequently to get a feel for the ingredients available in the fridge and pantry. I was so ready to bake.

But I haven't done nearly as much baking as I planned.


I had a brief Christmas cookie stint, however, because I absentmindedly left my camera battery charger at school, I've was unable to photograph anything. It was quite a bummer for me because I enjoy photographing the final dishes just as much as I enjoy creating them in the first place!

But I'm surviving. Mostly because I've been baking vicariously through P. He's made pizza three times since he's been home, and twice I've been lucky enough to be present and observing. Watching him handle the dough with such confidence and finesse has not only been inspiring, but also highly educational! I've been using an improper technique for bread making, and what I've learned from P has enabled me to create a far superior product - and I even got some fantastic meals out of the experience!


Standing by as he skilfully kneaded the mass into a soft and well-behaved ball was very entertaining. P explained the careful and practiced tandem movement of his hands as he energetically bobbed to Ray Charles and Van Morrison - part of a playlist blasting from his Zune. He learned to make bread from two Italian men while studying abroad, and now, in his kitchen with "I've Got A Woman" swinging in his feet and making us laugh, he was passing the well-traveled knowledge along to me.

I'm a lucky kid.

I'm still no bread-making master, but I've come a long way in these past few weeks just from watching and asking questions. After making pizza last night, I had some roasted garlic and basil leftover which I couldn't let go to waste. Since I felt like making more bread anyway, I thought that would probably be the best way to use it up.

I think I was right!


And now that I think about it, I'm completely content with the fact that I haven't done much baking over break. My time has been so well spent with family and friends that I wouldn't have it any other way!

Basil, Garlic and Feta Bread adapted from Cooking Bread
As soon as you put a piece of this soft bread in your mouth, the intense smell and flavor of the basil will envelop your senses - it's fantastic! Feel free to omit the feta if leaving it at room temp for the rise period makes you uneasy.
Printable Recipe

Handful fresh basil
One head of roasted garlic
1/4 c (38 g) feta
1/4 c (59 ml) olive oil
1 1/4 c (296 ml) water at 100F-115F (43C to 46C)
2 tsps sugar
2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 c (438 g) bread flour

Egg Wash
1 egg white
1 Tbls water

Chop the basil finely and mash the roasted garlic into a paste. Combine the two in a large bowl and add the feta and olive oil. The mixture will not be homogeneous, but that's ok! Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 c water and sugar, then add the yeast. Let set about five minutes so the yeast can activate, then pour into the bowl with the basil, garlic, feta and oil. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is smooth and just barely sticky. Don't add all the flour if you don't need to, and definitely don't add all 3 1/2 c at once! You will need more or less depending on the humidity of the day.

When the dough becomes to difficult to mix in the bowl, pour onto a table dusted with flour and knead until smooth an elastic, adding more flour as needed. This step takes awhile, but it is very important that you work the dough well enough for the gluten to develop a strong and organized structure. This recipe states 8-10 minutes, but it may take longer depending on technique. To test if it's ready to be risen, pinch off a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Pull the edges down over the ball to the bottom to form a smooth and taught surface, then begin working the dough out very thinly in a circle with your hands, like a pizza crust. When you can see light clearly through the dough (it won't be completely even; you just want a largeish and connected space through which you can see light), you've worked it enough. Pull the edges of the dough down and under, tucking and turning the mass as you work to create a tight ball (great video of the technique here!). Place into a greased bowl, grease the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (I put it in a cold oven with a pan of water I boiled on the stove) until it doubles in size or until it springs back in about 15 seconds when poked. Pour dough onto a lightly floured work surface again, and gently flatten it out with curled fingers. Fold in thirds, flatten again, then gently form it into a tight ball using the same process as before. Clean and re-oil the bowl, place the dough in it, and oil the dough again before covering with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 400F. Punch down the dough once more, and form into a tight ball for the last time on a pizza peel or cookie sheet dusted with corn meal. Shake to ensure that the loaf is loose and that you'll be able to slip it off into the oven when it's fully risen. After it doubles in size or springs back in about fifteen seconds after being pressed with a finger, gently rub the loaf with the egg white mixed with 1 Tbls water. Slit an "x" over the top quickly with a sharp knife or razor blade, then slip onto the pizza stone. Bake at 400F (205C) for 20 minutes, then lower the temp to 300F (150C). Bake 25-30 minutes or until the internal temp registers between 200F and 210F (93C and 99C) degrees. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing into the loaf.