The Red Bandana will be at the Bethesda Central Farm Market starting January 4th! Come meet us from 10 am — 1:30 pm every Sunday at the corner of Arlington and Wilson Boulevards for fresh pastries!
Home-made no more! The bakery is moving out of my apartment and into a commercial kitchen space. Doug is pretty pleased to not have to share his precious little counter space with our bustling little business, and best of all, we’re now health-department legit!
We are officially licensed as a limited liability corporation in the state of Maryland, moving one step closer to opening a storefront!
Well, mostly because it helps keep my hair out of the food.
But also, a little background:
My greatest aspirations are to be like this:
But my current experience is more like this:
- Being enthralled at getting to wear a bandana instead of a skullcap at my internship at Founding Farmers
- When at Just Cakes I professed my aspiration to be a hippie and Nick announced he’d always known I was a commie because of the red bandana
- When Sara visited me at home after Just Cakes closed and brought me three dollar store bandanas because I would obviously want them
The Grandma Bread Recipe (August 14, 2013):
- 3 cups water (120 degrees F)
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 packets dry yeast
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T salt
until combined. Add:
- 4 c bread flour (either Robinhood or Gold Medal) until it’s all absorbed, and then another:
- 4 c bread flour, and continue to mix, probably with your hands, until that’s all absorbed.
Cover that with a towel and let it rise at room temp for 10 minutes, then punch it down with your knuckles, kind of punching your hands together. Let it rise under a towel for 10 minutes, then;
- Punch it down 4 more times, every 10 minutes.
- Punch it down one last time (so you punch it down a total of six times–every 10 minutes for an hour), lightly flour the counter, and then roll the whole batch of dough out into a giant flat like a pizza, about 4×4 feet.
- Cut that flat into quarters.
- Shape and roll each quarter into a tight loaf that’s about 18 inches long, and tighten it on the ends. Score three or four lines across the top of each loaf.
- Cover them with a towel and let them rise for an hour and a half in a warm, draft-free area.
Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and transfer loaves to sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from the sheet when they come out of the oven and brush with melted butter (if you like the crust soft. Grandad likes it crustier and crispier, the only problem with that is that when you slice it the crust sometimes falls off).
So this is the recipe we know works. Because we can’t help ourselves and we always want to play, we’ve also considered trying different things with this recipe, like:
- cooking with convection
- scoring after proofing instead of before
- brushing with egg white before baking
But for now, we recommend just doing it the way Grandma always has 🙂
Note: One thing we did try playing with was refrigerating and freezing the dough. If you really want fresh bread on a Wednesday, by any chance, but you only have time to make and punch down and shape all this dough on Sunday, we tried refrigerating and freezing some of the dough after we shaped it but before it had risen at all. We found that if you put the dough in the refrigerator the night before you want to bake it, you can take it out and let it rise for an hour and bake it off the day you want to eat it, and it comes out just as fresh. You can also put it in the freezer until the night before you want it, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before, and do the same. The freshness seems to have the most to do with the day you bake it, and very little to do with the day you mix it. That being said, I probably wouldn’t recommend freezing it for any more than a week.
I’ve finalized the gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe and that’ll be up for order soon.
Tonight or tomorrow I’m working on Italian bread with Grandma Mertz. Would you guys want homemade bread most as:
- Slices for sandwiches that I could bring to your meetings/parties
- Fresh loaves you could get from me at farmers markets on weekends
- Frozen dough you could proof and bake off at home for yourselves whenever you want it?
Here we go!
I’m going to keep updates about developments with the shop and our upcoming plans here. For example: I’m currently working on a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe. My last attempt had mixed reviews–you rarely hear this, but I think it needed less sugar and butter. If you eat gluten-free, which baked goods do you miss the most?