The Quartern Loaf Seminar, Thursday, March 25, 2021

“Just bread.”  That is how to think of the Quartern Loaf. It was “just bread.” A workaday loaf. Nothing to write home about. Nothing special. Like the American peanut butter and jelly sandwich, its importance cannot be found by surveying cookbooks. The Quarern is defined by its size. It weighed 4 1/4 pounds. In its…

More fruit trees

More fruit trees in bloom along California Interstate 5 that runs up the state’s Central Valley. On one side of the valley is the Pacific Range — the low mountains that hug the Pacific Ocean from Mexico up into Canada — and on the other, the Sierra Nevada, rising beyond 4,000 meters and marking the…

Fruit trees in bloom

California. I passed mile upon mile upon mile of fruit trees in bloom driving back to Santa Cruz from Los Angeles. I had gone to LA to be part of a TV program. This is the first time I have seen the orchards in bloom. This is orchards on a vast scale. This bloom is…

Gluten!

Gluten! Gluten, the protein structure in wheat flour that makes it possible for a pizzaiolo to toss pizza dough into the air in order to stretch it; the fine balloon-like network of bubbles that makes white wheat bread the bread with the biggest potential air bubbles baked into a finished loaf. Gluten can be developed…

References for Mrs. Malinda Russell

This is a developing reference sheet for the Malinda Russell cookbook project. If you are working on the project, then add references to the comments, below, and Tayleigh and I will get them incorporated into this page. Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery, 1851, is a good reference for methods. At the beginning of the chapter…

Stencil on Bread

I am interested in the surfaces of breads. When we think back on the history of bread, how often is surface decoration part of one’s vision? I bought this stencil at a stationary store. This is an experiment I made when writing an article for Mother Earth News about stencilling breads. Shouldn’t we imagine stencilled…

Join us for Malinda Russell Recipe Testing

Become a Recipe Tester for the First African American Cookbook written and published by Mrs. Malinda Russell in 1866. In 1866, Malinda Russell published her “A Domestic Cook Book: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen.” Born free, probably around 1812, Malinda Russell escaped the lawless south for Paw Paw Michigan. Unfortunately,…

Malinda Russell Recipe Testing: Conversion Table

Teaspoons 1 tsp 5g 2 tsp 10g 3 tsp 15g 4 tsp 20g 5 tsp 25g 6 tsp 30g Tablespoons 1 tbsp 15g 2 tbsp 30g 3 tbsp 45g 4 tbsp 60g 5 tbsp 75g 6 tbsp 90g Pounds 1⁄4 pound 113g 1⁄2 pound 227g 3⁄4 pound 340g 1 pound 453g Water, Milk, Alcohol, Buttermilk*,…