Friday, January 29, 2010


A word of wisdom: do not attempt a bread recipe on a weeknight, unless you're a night owl and don't intend on getting much sleep.

My husband adores brioche (which is hard to find here and no, Challah isn't brioche) so I wanted to try Julia Child's recipe for the buttery bread.  All was going well until the first rise...."what?!? it's 7 hours long?" were my thoughts after I placed the dough in the bowl and turned the page in the recipe book. Since I started around 6:00 pm this would mean that I would need to let it rise until 1:00 a.m. and then prepare it for a second rise.  So, I decided to let it rise and rise and rise until I awoke the next day at 6:45.  Apparently between the 7th and 12th hour the dough gave up and began deflating. 

I attempted to save it but it was no use. It just left the oven and although it smells lovely and tastes fine, the texture is a bit like a dense cake instead of a buttery bread.

Lessons learned?
1) Read the entire recipe FIRST.
2) Don't start a bread recipe on a weeknight.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chèvre Bretagne

This is a great recipe to use up failed goat yogurt attempts, or regular goat milk. It's also a nice alternative to the traditional "Far Bretagne."
  • 6 oz prunes
  • 6 oz raisins
  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Soak the prunes and raisins in warm water for 1 hour. After prunes/raisins have soaked in the water, drain and put them in a small bowl with the cognac.
  2. Butter a 10" baking dish (at least 2" deep), line the bottom of the pan with wax or parchment paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Heat the goat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat but DO NOT let it boil.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
  6. Whisk in the flour.
  7. Slowly add the milk to the egg/flour mixture. Mix well.
  8. Pour prunes, raisins and cognac into the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange prunes so that they are evenly distributed.
  9. Pour batter mixture over the prunes.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.
  11. Let the tart cool slightly and turn it out onto a plate and remove the wax/parchment paper.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.

First: The Basics

They say that the best introduction into cheesemaking is to try your skills with yogurt. Of course, my first attempt was a complete, okay maybe not complete disaster. I dove head first, with unbridled enthusiasm, toward the first recipe I found. I forgot all the recipes I had read over the years, forgot all the comments I heard from fellow foodies and instead latched onto a single recipe I stumbled upon during a google search. First mistake, do not blindly jump into a recipe without consulting other resources. Second mistake, trust your cooking abilities and instincts.

My yogurt (if you could call it anything other than ridiculously-thick-and-creamy goat milk) had great cultures as a starter but I only allowed it to sit for 3 hours. Hey, that's what the recipe said. I know now that 3 hours isn't even long enough for the milky mixture to get comfortable. Next time I will exercise patience and not disturb the little jars for at least 6-8 hours. I will also check it and make sure that enough time has passed and, if not, I'll give it more.

The Quest

I've always loved animals. I've also always loved cheese. This is my quest to find meaning in my world through dairy goat farming and cheesemaking. I am not deterred by the fact that I'm an attorney who usually works long hours, has never owned a goat, and has never made cheese. All minor details in this little scheme of mine.