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Grilled Pizza and a Recipe for Same-Day Dough

I always want to forget about same-day pizza dough–that is until the moment I need it. I prefer the idea of a slow-risen dough crafted from my sourdough starter. The key word there being “idea.” At a certain point, I need to be real with myself, and with the reality that I probably throw together a same-day pizza dough nearly as often as I make my sourdough version. Or, that there are days like this past holiday weekend, when I spend two days lovingly coaxing my refrigerated levain back to life, I mix the dough for pizza, and then promptly forget about it. Oops. Needless to say once I did...

Blueberry Scones and a Vacation

We’ve been gone. For the last week and a half, we’ve been sipping tea (and Guiness), eating soda bread (and scones) in Ireland. Our first vacation in far too many years. After traipsing through a rainy Dublin for two days we headed west, to County Clare, where we stayed four days in a cottage on a hill. It was an incredible and cathartic nine days, a little respite from the grind of daily life here at home. Though, of course, we were also happy to return to normalcy in Virginia. But, as the dust settles on our luggage and passports–I can’t help but long for the green hills. Discovery: irish...

Basic Sourdough Bread

Here it is. The product of much study. Bread from the sourdough starter, with which, successful results took me a journey of much failure to produce. I can happily say that today I produce consistently good loaves with my sourdough starter and the method below, though it did take some trial and error. This recipe (and method) originates from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread book. The original recipe was printed in the New York Times, though, I’d say, as with any recipe, that the secrets lie between the recipe lines. This is my take, commentary, and experience on the country loaf: I will say, that for any serious baker, a scale...

Sourdough Starter: A Memoir

It goes by many names: starter, levain, traditional sourdough. Whatever you call it, it’s having a moment. A major MAJOR moment. It’s all too familiar, the conversation with the cashier at the bakery, the attendant at the grocery store. I ask “Do you have real sourdough?” “Of course we do!” “OK, great. Does it have actual levain or sourdough starter in it?” Blank stare. Increasingly though, I’m starting to feel a little less insane. There are now two bakeries in my hometown that specialize in natural levain and traditional sourdough baking. For me, however, sourdough baking represents a multi-year effort. Fermentation holds a special fascination for me. What is a sourdough...