Cooking with Gilman

Experiments with Pretzels

I learned about the purpose of salt in bread: it reduces the activity of yeast. I was wondering how this works into the big picture of bread so I did a batch of pretzels with no salt in the initial mix. The dough puffed up quite a bit (as expected) and doubled in size in about an hour. The resulting pretzels still had a tasty crumb whose consistency was fine (small bubbles, fluffy, bordering on dense, very tasty) but they smelled very strongly of yeast. The takeaway here is salt is the counter to yeasty smelling bread. Tomorrow I'm going to take a stab at some real bread.

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Pretzels

Absolutely amazing. I'm writing this while waiting for my second batch to ferment. They came out so incredibly well that I couldn't stop thinking about them all day.

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Herb Cheese Bread

Another recipe from the lovely Dutch Oven Madness. I saw she was interviewed for a podcast by another blogger, I'll have to check that out later.

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French Bread, part II

Today I have made yet another loaf of French bread. I've followed the recipe from Mark's Black Pot pretty faithfully. I would have pictures for this blog of the preparation but it appears the mystery camera decided to not save them.

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This dessert was once again taken from the excellent Dutch Oven Madness. The only variations of note were usage of a 12 incher instead of a 10 and an extra quarter cup of sour cream. I think both were detrimental to the result: the larger size meant a harder to cut cake (each slice was about 2/3 cream filling 1/3 cake mix) and the extra sour cream gave the impression the batter was moist to the point of being undercooked. Both fixes would lead to a neater, more easily served snack.

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Shepherd's Bread

Another recipe from the excellent Dutch Oven Madness. This recipe uses yeast aggressively and doesn't sit out for too long. My end result was a fluffy, dense and slightly moist crumb and a pale and slightly tough crust (probably not enough coals on top). The technical aspects of the bread were easily enough achieved but I was not a fan of the taste. The combination of the bland taste and density reminded me of dumplings. My mother was a fan.

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Oatmeal Carmelitas

My first recipe from the excellent blog Dutch Oven Madness. This woman has turned into the primary inspiration for this blog and the primary supplier of new and exciting recipes. Her goal is to blog a year's worth of dutch oven food cooked for her family. I am so very, very grateful for her blog.

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The New York Times' No-Knead Bread

One of my noble goals for dutch oven productions is a loaf of fluffy, tasty bread. I plan on eating it warm with butter. This New York Times article was highly recommended by both the Intertubes and family. My results were not very successful.

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Aunt Lorraine's Lasagna

Here was my second Dutch Oven recipe and a stab at filling my desire to make something filling. My family wound up eating it for dinner right before my little brother Pico left for college so it was not a failure, however the success I had was brought on by the quality of the recipe. This could be easily reproduced in a camp setting with a few hours of work. I certainly would lobby for it at a future campout. It produced 9 servings and with it not being unreasonable for a hungry camper to eat two servings (we certainly did) these proportions would be better matched for a small patrol.

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Kit Fox Cake

This is the Camp Cedars Kit Fox classic and my first stab at my new dutch oven.  In Kit Fox a gentleman by the name of Geoff would direct the construction of the cake every Friday for his classes of first year scouts.  It is by far my favorite dutch oven dessert and I had plenty of practice making it pretty much once every week this summer.  You can drop in pie filling or frost it for additional deliciousness.  I recommend cherry filling the best because at the cost of sweeter cake the cherries retain a delicious bitterness.

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