Bakeology: On Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Welcome to the first post in the Bakeology series!

Since pie season is upon us, and the holidays are right around the corner, I figured my first Bakeology post, very fittingly, would focus on the star of my holiday meals:  Pie!  More specifically, pie crust.  And gluten.  And what is all that about?  I just recently tried a pie crust recipe with vodka in it, and had great success.  The crust was buttery, flakey, and delicious.  But why?  What does the vodka do that makes this recipe better than one with 100% water?  Let’s explore…

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First, what is gluten? 

Gluten is a strong, sticky, stretchy protein found in foods made from wheat and similar grains that helps give dough its elasticity.  When you add water to flour, the two wheat proteins, glutenin and gliadin, combine and form gluten.

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Happy 19th Birthday Noobs – The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

I can FINALLY post this because both my brothers FINALLY received their packages!  This post has been seriously delayed because the United States Postal Service failed to deliver my packages to my brothers in any sort of timely fashion.  (I sent it 2-day priority, by the way, last Monday.)  Christopher just got his package today and Patrick just picked his up today (even though it had been waiting in his mailbox since Thursday!  Noob!).  Anyway, there is no more secret to hide so I can post about my cookie adventure.  Enjoy.

In case you do not constantly read my blog, or you do and are just very forgetful (I know, Grampie, it’s hard to remember all the little kiddos with your senility*), I have twin brothers who just went off to college this fall.  Patrick is nice and close at Catholic in D.C., and Christopher is far away at Brandeis in Boston.  And last Thursday, the 26th, was their 19th birthday.  While college is a huge adjustment, and they are very busy between a college course load, soccer, and (ahem) partying, I know they will have the time of their lives once they settle in!  Also, they are finally realizing how awesome their family is and (gasp!) they miss us!  Funny how college suddenly changes your whole perspective on your family and home…And again, they just turned 19!!!

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Pesto Swirl Bread Rolls

Pesto Swirl Bread Roll

This past weekend, I decided to go with a savory baking adventure instead of the usual something sweet.  I was inspired after devotedly watching Bread Week on “The American Baking Competition“.  I told you all I was going to make my first attempt at free-form bread this weekend, and I wasn’t about to let you down.  (I’m only three posts in, after all – a little early to be making false promises, don’t ya think?)  Pesto Swirl Bread Rolls were the challenge, and I brought my A-game to the kitchen to tackle it.

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