Baking


In little over a month, my sourdough starter turns one year old. For much of the past year, it has slept in the back of my refrigerator. I don’t eat bread often. When I make it, I usually expects dinner guests.  Having mastered the famous No-Knead Bread, which I first started making about five or more years ago, I grew bored with making it and found it sometimes boring to eat.

In the past few months, every two weeks or so, I wake up my starter and feed it for a few days until it’s fully woke, as those who support taking a knee try to be. Anticipating a 3-day process, I begin by making the leaven and then putting 200 grams of it through the grueling process of becoming the bread that the Tartine owner-baker, Chad Robertson, makes. The Basic Country Bread recipe in Tartine Bread take practice, but it is well worth it. In all the times I’ve made the bread, I’ve learned that the quality of the flour, good spring water, and a healthy leaven count just as much as the technique.

Fortunately, Robertson gives a very detailed explanation of the process. He offers options for immediate or deferred baking. Now that I’ve tried both ways a few times, I am now resigned to the Deferred Method. It’s nearly a three-day process. A tricky part was calculating when I’ll actually get to bake. But once it’s out of the pan, the crust is hard, the crumb is moist and full of air holes, and the taste is decidedly but pleasantly sour. This bread is definitely superior to the No-Knead version.

In making the bread, I introduced one key innovation. I bake the bread on my Weber gas grill. I live in northern California, where heating an oven to the max is not comfortable. What’s more, I have a small (24″ wide) wall oven. Manipulating scorching hot cast iron within such small space is hard and dangerous. So, to make bread, I had to take it out to my little patio, where the propane and the charcoal grills live. I have one more challenge to perfect the process. Baking the bread in the cast-iron pot had resulted in the bottom of the bread charring, as you can see below.

I have tried many different ways — adjusting the heat, turning down or off the middle of the three burners, moving the loaf to a cooler tile once it’s jumped, not preheating the base of the cast-iron pot — no matter what I do there is always some char. It’s never enough that it ruins the loaf (I cut off the char, slice up the loaf, and either save it for toast or shred it for croutons). But it’s annoying.

IMG_1004   IMG_0999

I’m still not sure what other options I have. However, the crumb is consistently excellent. I use Anson Mills Mediterranean White Bread Flour and mix in a modest amount of King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Flour. I know, the carbon foot print. But it makes a difference.

IMG_1001

This is just a sampler of an experiment I will explore in the next post, which will be a breakdown of Robertson’s rustic bread recipe. I also plan to experiment with my new Instant Pot. Two experiments have already pleased me. Stay tuned. Feedback appreciated.

from Southern Biscuits, pp. 56-57.

IMG_1098When Nathalie Dupree and Cynathia Graubart come to town, suddenly good food pops up everywhere. My friend and neighbor, Elaine Corn, a NPR food reporter, threw a book launch party for Dupree and Graubart’s magisterial new volume, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, across the street from me. The hostess was Allison Coudert, who put the ladies in her two spare bedrooms, hired Roxanne O’Brien and her students to cater, stocked the house with wine and champagne, and opened the doors to nearly fifty food lovers here in Sacramento. Lots of restaurant folk turned out. As usual, Roxanne’s food nearly stole the show. A book launch party from 4 to 7 pm turned into a lively, flat-out party until midnight. No one wanted to leave. Nathalie and Cynthia were gracious, good sports, who must have been far more tired than they looked. Their energy did not flag.

Next day, after the ladies flew off to another city on their book tour, I started to think about biscuits. I wondered if I had ever had a light biscuit. I couldn’t be sure. I’ve choked on so many. So, I plopped on the couch and read Southern Biscuits. The tricks, I learned, involve using self-rising flour (light, low-protein), a wooden bowl wider than it was deep, flavorful fat, and a willingness to get my hands sticky, messy, and busy. The results were worth it. Now I now what a light biscuit tastes like. And I also learned that biscuits should be as easy and fast as no-knead bread. You should be able to throw biscuits together in a snap. However, this is a deep book. Lots to work on. The variety of biscuit recipes and uses is astonishing. But this is a well-written recipe. What I experienced fell right in line with their directions.

So, here we go. Let’s make a batch of biscuits…

2 1/4 cups commercial or homemade self-rising flour, divided

Shadowcook: King Arthur makes an organic self-rising flour that has less protein (the key to lightness) than the White Lily brand most commonly used in the south.

1/4 cup chilled shortening, lard, and/or butter, roughly cut into 1/4 inch pieces

AND

1/4 cup chilled shortening, lard, and/or butter, roughly cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Shadowcook: I used 1/4 cup of lard and a 1/4 cup of butter. The fat ratio is one feature of this recipe that demands experimentation.

1 cup milk or buttermilk, divided

Butter, softened or melted, for finishing

Preheat oven to 425.

Select the baking pan by determining if a soft or crisp exterior is desired. For a soft exterior, use an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, pizza pan, or ovenproof skillet where the biscuits will nestle together snugly, creating the soft exterior while baking. for a crisp exterior, select a baking sheet or other baking pan where the biscuits can be placed wider apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisper exterior, and brush the pan with butter.

Fork sift or whisk 2 cups of flour in a large bowl, preferably wider than it is deep, and set aside the remaining 1/4 cup. Scatter the 1/4-inch-size pieces of chilled fat over the flour and work in by rubbing fingers with the fat and flour as if snapping thumb and fingers together (or use two forks or knives, or a pastry cutter) until the mixture looks like well-crumbled feta cheese.

Shadowcook: Oh, go on. Get your hands doughy. You know you want to. Work quickly, so just stick your hands in there.

Scatter the 1/2-inch-size pieces of chilled fat over the flour mixture and continue snapping thumb and fingers together until no pieces remain larger than a pea. Shake the bowl occasionally to allow the larger pieces of fat to bounce to the top of the flour, revealing the largest lumps that still need rubbing. If this method took longer than 5 minutes [Shadowcook: and it will…], place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to rechill the fat.

Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with the back of your hand. Pour 3/4 cup of the milk into the hollow, reserving 1/4 cup milk, and stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the milk. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If there is some flour remaining on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in 1 to 4 tablespoons of reserved milk, just enough to incorporate the remaining flour into the shaggy wettish dough. If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.

Shadowcook: At this point, I noticed that the dough looked very shaggy, pretty wet, and rather on the unincorporated side. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and wrap up the gathering process quickly. Glad I trusted them.

Lightly sprinkle a board or other clean surface using some of the reserved flour. turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half, and pat dough out into a 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick round, using a little additional flour only if needed. Flour again if necessary, and fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time. Pat dough out into a 1/2-inch thick round for a normal biscuit, 3/4-inch thick for a tall biscuit, and 1-inch thick for a giant biscuit. Brush off any visible flour from the top. for each biscuit, dip a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter.

Shadowcook: I used a 1 3/4-inch round cutter and cut out nearly 24 biscuits.

The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although these scraps make tougher biscuits. [Shadowcook: not that I noticed!]

Using a metal spatula if necessary, move the biscuits to the pan or baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for a total of 10 to 14 minutes until light golden brown.

Shadowcook: My oven required a total of 16 mins. You have to know your oven. Watch the biscuits carefully the first time.

After 6 minutes, rotate the pan in the oven so that the front of the pan is now turned to the back, and check to see if the bottoms are browning too quickly. If so, slide another baking pan underneath the add insulation and retard browning. Continue baking another 4 to 8 minutes until the biscuits are light golden brown. When the biscuits are done, remove from the oevn and lightly brush the tops with butter. Turn the biscuits out upside down on a plate to cool slightly. Serve hot, right side up.

IMG_1099I decided to use my first batch of biscuits as the base of a savory hors d’oeuvres. I bought really really good fig jam and a chunk of blue d’Avergne, split the biscuits open, and slathered on the jam and cheese. When I get to the party, I intend to ask Roxanne what I could have added to give it a little cool crunch. Candied pecan? Something green? Got any ideas?

from Cupcake Heaven, p. 21.

Lately, I’ve been looking for cupcake recipe books that range outside the parameters of children’s bake sales and birthday parties. Was there, I wondered, an adult cupcake cookbook? It didn’t take me long to find a few that have interesting cupcakes, including savory ones. This book, in particular, looked promising. It contains recipes for Lavender cupcakes, Orange and Poppyseed Cupcakes, Rosewater Cupcakes, Maple and Pecan Cupcakes, as well as the usual holiday sorts of confections.

This carrot and cardamom version appealed to me. It had all the appeal of carrot cake plus the promise of cardamom. However, I had to make a significant change to the recipe. I refused to buy self-rising flour. So, I substituted all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder for it. I couldn’t detect a difference. All in all, the cupcake tasted a little bland. Next time, more cardamom, a pinch of sea salt? The mascarpone worked very well.

Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes or 24 or more mini cupcakes

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup sunflower oil

2 eggs

grated peel of 1 unwaxed orange

seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed

Shadowcook: Next time, I’m going to increase the cardamom to 6 or 7 pods. And once again I used the Kohn Rikon ratchet mill to excellent effect.

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Shadowcook: I used instead 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

2 carrots, grated

Shadowcook: Use the small-holed side of the grater.

1/2 cup shelled walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

to decorate:

2/3 cup mascarpone

finely grated peel of 1 unwaxed orange

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup confestioners’ sugar, sifted

a 12-cup cupcake pan, lined with paper liners

Preheat oven to 350.

Put the sugar in a bowl and break up using the back of a fork, then beat in the oil and eggs. Stir in the orange peel, crushed caradmom seeds, and ginger, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in, followed by the carrot and nuts.

Spoon the mixture into the paper liners or silicone molds and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To decorate, beat the mascarpone, orange peel, lemon juice, and sugar together in a bowl spread over the cupcakes.

From Marvellous Mini Cakes, pp. 10-11.

I recently came across quite by chance a series called Les Petites Plats Français (Small French Plates), published by Simon & Schuster. The measurement are all metric, so I imagine this series was intended for a British audience. Because they were so cheap, I picked up this one, Sensational Cupcakes, and Meringue Magic — the kind of marketing that makes me want to retch — to draw upon for my contributions to the monthly drinks-and-nibbles party I attend. Of course, my new cookbooks provided me with the opportunity to acquire more cooking equipment (just what I need!). For the second time recently, Sur La Table has come through brilliantly for me. Not only did they have exactly the mini loaf pans I needed at an exceptionally reasonable price, I also found silicon molds for mini cupcakes, my preferred size for cocktail parties (but I couldn’t find a link to them on Sur La Table’s website).

Although the recipes produced only six mini loaves, those six go a long ways. Sliced, they are a good vehicle for cheese, bits of prosciutto, or a slice of fig. And from start to finish it took me about forty-five minutes to make them. Not bad, when you have to rush out the door for a party…

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes 4-6 mini cakes

2 eggs

70 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) olive oil

70 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) milk

140g (5 oz) plain flour, sifted

70g (2 1/2 oz) grated Gruyère cheese

1 teaspoon baking powder

50 g (scant 2 oz) Parmesan cheese, crumbled into large chunks

70 g (2 1/2 oz) grated Parmesan

6 peppercorns (black or Szechuan), ground to a rough powder

Shadowcook: Another reason to get the Kuhn Rikon ratchet mill at Sur La Table.

a handful of walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F.

Grease your cake molds and dust with flour.

Shadowcook: I used olive oil.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the oil and milk. Add the flour, Gruyère cheese, both lots of Parmesan cheese, the ground peppercorns and the walnuts. Season with salt and stir togethewr. Add the baking powder.

As soon as you have stirred in the baking powder, divide the mixture between the molds and put in the oven straight away.

Cook for around 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, keep an eye on the cakes and prick with a skewer if they seem ready. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done.

Leave in tins to cool slightly before turning out.

Tip: You can also keep aside a quarter of the crumbled Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on the mini cakes just before cooking.

from Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, p. 45.

Who doesn’t like cookies? My sister, for one, but practically everyone else does. They make a wonderful gift to bring to a party instead of or in addition to a bottle of wine. The friends at the monthly circulating cocktail party I belong to enjoyed these Italian almond cookies. Several people tried to pocket a few to take home at the end of the evening. A good sign.

My favorite cookie book is Martha Stewart’s. But, in this case, if the rest of the collection turns out as well as this first attempt, then Mona Talbott’s Biscotti is going to run a close second, a tie with Carol Field’s Italian cookies. Talbott’s recipes hint at how underrated Italian cookies are. My own impression, at any rate, had been that they tend to be bland. And in all the  years I visited Italy I ate nothing that dissuaded me of that impression. Good bakers are hard to find in Italy. Yet, when you find them, good Italian cookies are satisfying in a minimalist way.

I doubled the recipe proportions, because 1 1/2 egg whites seems a bit too fussy and I knew I’d find enough people to eat a double batch. So, the amounts below represent double proportions.

I have a couple of suggestions to supplement the simple and clear instructions…

For about 50 cookies

500g / 18 0z blanched almonds

400g / 2 cups granulated sugar

6 g / 2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 g / 1 tsp lemon zest

3 egg whites, lightly beaten

50 or a few more whole blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.

Pulse the almonds and sugar in a food processor until the almonds are chopped medium fine.

Shadowcook: It’s okay if there are big bits of nuts. The pulsing took longer than I expected.

Transfer the nut-sugar mixture to a medium-size mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon and lemon zest and mix well. Gently fold in the lightly beaten egg whites until well incorporated.

Shadowcook: I put the egg whites in the Kitchenaid mixer with the whisk attachment. I turned the mixer on to medium and whisked the whites until they were frothy but not solid white, about 1 minute.

Roll the dough into 28 small balls (18 g / 3/4 oz) and top each cookie with a blanced almond.

Shadowcook: Rolling the balls is a lot easier if your hands are wet.

Transfer the cookies to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing them 2 cm / 3/4 inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. the cookies will be light in color and will form a nice crust as they cool.

Shadowcook: Be prepared to leave them in a oven longer than 10 minutes. You won’t be able to tell if the cookies are done cooking by touching them. If you want to be sure that you cook them the proper amount of time for them to finish cooking, try baking one ball on its own for 10-15 mins. My oven’s temperature is such that I wound up baking the cookies for 15 minutes.

And it’s true that cooling cookies on a rack is where the crust forms. Cooling is almost as important a step as baking in bringing a cookie to perfection.

These cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.

Recipe from my aunt, perhaps available somewhere here.

Cheesecake. I know, so eighties. This one, however, knocked my socks off. I recently visited my beloved aged aunt in New Jersey. Age has not diminished her cooking. She’s the kind of relative whose food turns out to be as good in your adulthood as you remember it being in your childhood. I probably acquired my love of cooking from her.

If anything is responsible for the cheesecake’s fall from favor, I attribute it to the graham cracker crust. A shortbread bottom crust sets this cheesecake apart from all others I’ve eaten. The cake is creamy and light. The shortbread base stays firm to the cut of a fork. This recipe will make you nostalgic for the luscious sort of cheesecake that we all used to make in the ’80s.

Make this recipe the day before you plan on eating it:

Equipment:

1 (3-inch deep) 9-inch springform pan

a 10×15-inch jellyroll pan

Cheesecake base:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measure cup and level off)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake batter:

1 pound (16 oz) cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 (16 oz) sour cream

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of the springform pan and line with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.

Shadowcook: I took this to mean: cut a circle of parchment or wax paper and place over the round buttered bottom of the springform pan.

To make the base, beat together the butter and sugar by hand until light and fluffy. Beat in the yolk until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a rubber spatula, gently fold into the butter mixture. The mixture will be crumbly.

Shadowcook: You’ll probably have to gather it into a ball of dough with your hands. It will easily fall apart. Don’t overwork it. Remember, this is a crust that does not go up the sides of the cake.

Place the dough in the pan and use your hands to pat it down evenly and firmly over the bottom. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and baked through. Transfer to a rack and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

To make the batter: In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on the lowest speed just until smooth, no more than 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Add the sugar in a stream, mixing for no more than 30 seconds. Stop and scrape again. Add 1 cup of sour cream and mix only until it is absorbed, no more than 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining sour cream. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing only until each is absorbed; stop and scrape after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Shadowcook: I suspect the reason for Malgieri’s insistance on underbeating rather than overbeating is that the cake is less likely to set firm during the baking the more you beat the batter. So, even if there are lumps, err on the side of underbeating the batter.

Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom of the springform pan so it comes at least one inch up the sides. Pour the batter into the pan. Place the pan in a jellyroll pan or roasting pan and pour warm water into the pan to a depth of 1/2-inch.

Shadowcook: I used my big rectangular pyres baking dish and I poured in boiling water around the cake pan higher than 1/2-inch.

Bake the cheesecake for about 55 minutes, or until it is lightly colored and firm except for the very center. Remove from the oven and lift the cheesecake out of the hot water. Remove the foil and let cool completely on a rack. Wrap the cheesecake and chill overnight.

Shadowcook: Expect some condensation to form under the surface of the wrap.

To unmold the cheesecake, run a knife or thin spatula around the inside of the pan pressing the knife against the pan, not the cake. Unbuckle the pan side and lift off. Leave the cake on the base, or run a spatula under the cake base and slide the cake onto a platter.

Shadowcook: A few hours before serving, I roasted about 2 cups of hazelnuts in a 350 F oven. While they were still warm, I put the nuts in a tea towel and rubbed them vigorously to get the skins off the nuts. Then I took a kitchen mallet and crushed them into pieces. Using a long, thin spatula, I applied the crushed nuts around the side of the cake. Then I put the cake back in the refrigerator to set.

from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, pp. 77-75.

Forgive this cookbook’s subtitle that promises no work. I’m sure Lahey had nothing to do with it. Revolutionary, yes. No-knead, yes. No work? Not quite. Nevertheless, Lahey’s new book has taken up permanent occupancy on the shelf where I keep the cookbooks I use constantly. Now that I have made three breads from the book, I have come to appreciate the recipes and the specific advice the author gives. For instance, he cooks his breads in a very hot oven (475 F). But he also says that home ovens can vary so much that those who use his book have to decide for themselves where their oven works best for the bread. The acceptable range runs from 425 F all the way to 500 F. My oven, I’ve decided, works best for bread at either 425 F or 450 F, but not higher.

Even if you’re devoted to the version of Lahey’s No-Knead Bread offered by Mark Bittman in his column a couple of years ago, your technique will improve and your options will double if you use this book.  The recipes, however, differ subtly from Bittman’s and Cook’s Illustrated adaptations of the Slow-Rise Bread. I find the doughs in Lahey’s book wetter than the imitators, which is no bad thing. That’s partly what makes the crust hard. It means you have been handle the dough more carefully. The crust on all three of the breads turned out hard. When I pushed my thumbs into the bottom of a roll to break it open, the crumb displayed a beautiful constellation of air holes. My only quibble about this particular recipe concerns amounts. Lahey recommends doubling the Pancetta Bread recipe and cutting the twice-risen dough into twenty balls. I made half the Pancetta Bread amounts and cut the dough into 5 balls. They seemed a little small to me. Plus, I found the pancetta amounts a little on the skimpy side. But don’t err in overcompensating!

So, in what follows I combine Lahey’s instructions an for  Pancetta Bread with the Pancetta Rolls variation that comes at the end:

For 10 pancetta rolls:

300 grams, or about 2 1/3 cups, pancetta, sliced 1/4-inch thick (by the deli) and cut into 1/4-inch dice, or slab bacon, diced

3 cups, or 400 grams, bread flour (strong flour, in the UK)

1/2 teaspoon, or 3 grams, table salt

Shadowcook: I used a scant teaspoon of kosher salt.

1/4 teaspoon, or 1 gram, instant or other active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon or to taste, or 1/2 gram, hot red pepper flakes (optional)

1 1/2 cups, or 350 grams, cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water

wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting

1. Cook the pancetta or bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat. Drain the pancetta on paper towels and let cool.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, pancetta, salt, yeast, and red pepper flakes, if you’re using them. Add the water and reserved rendered fat, and using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

Shadowcook: Remember, it’s likely to be a wet dough, so don’t worry. If it isn’t wet, you’re still okay.

3. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, life the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

4. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gentle poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Shadowcook: Because this dough has the potential of being wetter than the Slow-Rise Bread dough, make sure you do generously flour both the work surface and the tea towel. The first time I made bread from this book, the dough stuck to the tea towel when I tried to flip it into the heated Dutch oven. In this recipe, it is a problem, since you’ll be making balls and placing them on a baking sheet.

5. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third. Oil a baking pan. Transfer the dough onto a generously floured work surface. Cut the dough mound into two strips and break each strip into five equal pieces. Each piece should weigh 80 grams. Round each piece into a roll-shaped ball. Place the balls on the pan in even rows. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the rolls are dark brown. Place them on a rack and allow them to cool thoroughly.

Shadowcook: If your oven runs hot, place the rack in the middle. Weigh the dough. It helps to make the balls of equal weight. 40 minutes was too long for my oven. And 475 degrees is too hot. Next time, I’ll try 450 for 40 minutes. If that doesn’t work, then 425. Last word of caution: keep your hands off of them for a full hour after they come out of the oven! It makes a difference to the texture of the crumb.

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