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Web recipes – due diligence

DSC02943Decided to try another kichel recipe, this time Marcy Goldman’s, from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.  Being the cheapo that I am, I didn’t rush out and actually buy the book (like I’d love for you to do by clicking the links!), I just looked up the recipe I wanted online.image

I found two almost-identical copies of the recipe here and here.

Why two recipes?

When using web recipes, I ALWAYS do due diligence and cross-check at least two versions for discrepancies.  It’s just too easy for a well-meaning blogger to make a mistake typing in a recipe, and it’s also easy for somebody to change around a couple of ingredients when posting their version of so-and-so’s winning recipe (and not say it’s been modified).

So I did that – I double-checked every single ingredient, then went ahead and made the cookies, and after great effort to roll and cut them (sticky!), popped them in the oven for 25-30 minutes as directed in this version.

Okay… I’ll admit it, I didn’t notice the lower number and put 30 minutes on the timer.  So there it was, and then I sat down to do parsha with the kiddies.

Thirty minutes later, the timer beeped, I leaped up, pulled out the cookies… and they were pretty much blackened husks of erstwhile deliciousness.

(Looking at the picture above, they actually look kind of palatable, but that’s an effect of the flash.  I assure you that they are indeed black as coal.)

When I sat down, indignant, to check the baking time (I thought it was too long!), I noticed that this version  of the recipe actually specifies “bake until lightly browned - this will take anywhere from 18-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Check for doneness after 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake - kichel will firm up once cooled.”

Indeed.  “Check for doneness after 18 minutes.”  Not “pull out incinerated husks after 30 minutes,” potentially 12 minutes longer than necessary.


Fortunately, there is still Batch #2.  Unfortunately, Batch #2, if it does turn out marvellously delicious, will not be enough to go around.  Fortunately, I’m still planning on making chocolate-chip banana cake.  Unfortunately, it’s very late on a Friday afternoon and I should probably get around to making the challah. 

Fortunately, I love making challah, and it’s easy, and I’m good at it.  So there may be a happy ending to this story after all.

DSC02944(postscript – I just pulled out Batch  #2 after 18 minutes, lightly golden-brown and ready to firm up once cooled… HOWEVER, I am also nibbling gingerly on a not-entirely-unpleasant refuge from Batch #1, which is indeed baked beyond its prime but still has a modicum of love and goodness stored deep in its crumbly heart… so maybe not a total write-off!)

First bread!

DSC02886Always a milestone after Pesach! 

This was just my basic no-knead “Ryelicious” Loaf.  It was super-easy, but left me thinking, “hmm… not enough rye!”  Maybe it’s because my rye flour is a little old, but it just left the impression of a slightly-more-flavourful white bread.  Delicious nevertheless!

I kashered my new cast-iron loaf pans in the self-cleaning oven cycle so I could use them for Pesach, and I have spent the last two weeks worrying about how long it will take to get them back in working order again. 

They worked SO perfectly from the get-go: loaves released like a charm – amazing.  Just tip them upside-down and they pop right out.  I have used cheap loaf pans for so long, I was amazed that I didn’t have to use parchment and STILL didn’t have to dig the bread out when it was finished.  Even my sister seemed a bit jealous – in a commercial setting, it simply isn’t viable to be tossing around pans that weigh this much even when they’re empty – not to mention costing quite a bit more than cheap commercial bake pans.

Anyway, my heart broke when I saw the pans (along with two cast-iron frying pans) after the self-clean – bare, almost rusty-looking… iron.   I thought they would never release cleanly again.  I mean, Lodge touts that pre-seasoning pretty heavily on the packaging, and now it was all GONE. 

So it was with trepidation that I lightly greased (with canola) one of the pans and tossed in one of the 1.5-lb rye loaves to rise for an hour.  Then I baked it, about 40 minutes at 450… opened the oven, tipped the loaf pan over the rack (thanks to my amazing Kevlar oven-gloves!) and – WAH-la!!!  It released!

So I am much relieved and excited to have my pans back – for Pesach and year-round.

Next up – first challah!

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