Malto Mario


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The Lady & Sons


1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby's First Birthday!

No, I haven't been hiding any offspring from yous. =)

The title to this post refers to none other than our Daring Bakers group of the most talented bakers in the world! Today we are One Year Old!

Yep, one year ago, my beautiful partner in crime, Ivonne, and I were discussing recipes that we'd always wanted to try, but didn't really feel comfortable doing so. Basically, we were either kind of afraid to try these recipes or we'd always wanted to try them but they just never made it to the top of our baking list. So many recipes.. so little time. Yous know the feeling, right? =)

One day we were talking about our love of soft pretzels and how neither of us had attempted baking them ourselves. "How hard could it be?", we asked each other. "Well let's find out!" and that started the ball rolling. Initially we both found recipes we wanted to try, and again with more discussion, we decided that the way to go would be to bake the same exact recipe as written. This way, if we ran into problems, we could lean on each other for support as we would both be "on the same page", if you will. And lemme tell you.. it worked. We both did lean on each other at certain stages of the recipe and we walked each other through. After a few hours, we were both enjoying some nice warm and chewy pretzels.

We then decided to take it a step further and picked a day we'd blog about these pretzels of ours. And so we did.. each of us writing about our individual experience in baking them, as well as our "team effort" experience when having to lean on each other. Both posts were about the exact same recipe, but both posts were extremely different - both in the look of our final products, and with what we thought about the overall recipe.

The response was just amazing. We were immediately chastised for not asking a few friends who would have liked to bake pretzels with us. heee! So we invited them to join us in a new recipe the following month.. Biscotti! That went over quite well too - and we knew this because we were chastised from a couple other friends who wanted to bake with us. *grin* And then well.. I guess you can say, the chastising stopped but the interest in joining up with us continued.. and grew.. and continued.. and ga-rew.. Not including those new members who will join in on the fun in December, we've got OVER 300 members. I would not be surprised if we hit the FOUR HUNDRED mark in December either. =)

Now who would have thought that a simple recipe for soft pretzels, made by two friends in two different countries and then blogged about on two different blogs would amount to the Daring Bakers just a few short months later? Not I. Not Ivonne. But it did and here we are.. happy as could be and learning more and more with each passing day.

Wanna come have fun with us and learn all kinds of tips and tricks about baking? Ever been scared to play with hot caramel and puff pastry? Envision yourself building a 2 foot crepe cake? How about learning the fine art of achieving the correct ratio of cream cheese frosting to red velvet cake? Care to walk on the wild side and chance death by chocolate? Wait! Wait! I know! You'd much rather dip a toe into a warm and inviting pool of caramel and chocolate, wouldn't you?

We'd love to have you, that's for sure.. and all we ask is that you complete 8 out of 12 challenges during your calendar year and you can't miss 2 in a row, without a reasonable excuse. You must follow the recipe exactly, except for our 4 exclusions which are:


  1. If you, or anyone that will eat (or come into contact with) the challenge recipe is allergic to any of the ingredients, you may substitute those ingredients with something you aren't allergic to - but try to use something that's comparable to the original ingredient. This exclusion also goes for lactose intolerance, vegan lifestyles, gluten-free lifestyles and other health issues.
  2. If you can't find the ingredient easily where you live, you may substitute another ingredient, but try to use something that's comparable.
  3. If an ingredient is expensive - you do not have to use it. You can leave it out if it's not an integral part of the recipe, or you may substitute it with another ingredient as long as you stay within the spirit of the recipe.
  4. The hostess/host may allow as many or as few changes within the ingredients and technique of the recipe.

And finally.. you have to promise to keep the recipe and challenge date a secret from the rest of the blogosphere! That's right.. we love surprising all the wonderful people who enjoy reading these posts. And hey, it makes us feel like the spy agent bakers that our logo portrays us as! heeee!

Sound good? Then send both myself {lamiacucina67[@]gmail[.]com} and Ivonne {creampuffsinvenice[@]gmail[.]com} an e-mail with your name, blog name and blog address. Not a blogger? No problem! Send us an e-mail with your name and you're in! But! We still expect you to bake the challenge and join in on the fun like the rest of us.. this includes a write up, consisting of a couple paragraphs, of your experience and what you thought about the recipe.. and if at all possible, take a few digital photos.. then send it all in to us at least 48 hours before the post date. We'll get it posted on our new Daring Baker Non-Blogging Members Blog on the post date.

Okay so I need to get a lil mooshie.. ya'll knew I couldn't end this without the moosh, right?

Ivonne.. thank you for putting up with my ca-rasszzzyyyy over-thinking skilz, my OCD when it comes to organizing this group of gorgeous men and women, for listening to my shite and for talking me down - always for the talking of me down. ha! You are an inspiration to me and I am forever grateful that I worked up the nerve to e-mail you way back in April of 2006 hoping you'd have a calamari sauce recipe. hahahahaaaaa! Well you didn't, but I got something so much more important - our friendship, which I hope will continue until we are lil, wrinkly, old Italian women. ;)

Mary, Veronica and Helene- thank you for everything you all do to keep our group running and our blog in tip top shape! Your help and friendship are never over-looked nor under appreciated, always know that. :)

Okay enough with the moosh! heeee!

As a way to celebrate our 1 year birthday, Ivonne and I thought it'd be fun to revisit the pretzel.. only this time, we'd each pick a different recipe just for shites and giggles! Ivonne chose a mouth watering lil pistachio pretzel cookie that she makes each year and I chose to stick with the soft pretzels, baking a traditional pretzel and a stuffed pretzel! Yum!

Happy Birthday Daring Bakers!

xoxo

Pretzels a year later!
Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 TBS. brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. bread flour
3 c. all purpose flour
4 c. water
4 TBS. baking soda
coarse salt to sprinkle on pretzels
2 to 4 TBS. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450ยบ F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans.

Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and salt stirring to dissolve.

Into the bowl of a mixer, add flour. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix the flour and drizzle the yeast mixture into the bowl. Beat until the dough forms a ball, then change to the dough hook attachment and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Alternately, you can do this by hand, kneading for roughly 10 minutes.

Place dough into a greased bowl and allow to rise for at least 1/2 hour in a dry, warm place. (I either use the inside of my oven [TURNED OFF] with the light on, or I put the bowl on top of my dryer while I'm drying clothes.)

While the dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 4 cups warm water and 4 TBS. baking soda stirring often until baking soda is completely dissolved.

After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and twist into desired pretzel shape.

Once shaped, dip the pretzel in the soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Allow pretzels to rise again - I let mine go about 15 minutes or so.

Pretzels a year later!

Bake in the prepared oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle coarse salt over them or you can use any herb or topping of your choice on the buttered pretzels. Sesame seeds work well, as does cracked black pepper. A great sweet topping is cinnamon sugar.. chocolate doesn't hurt either. ;)

Variations:

Pretzels a year later!

For stuffed pretzels - prepare your choice of filling. In this recipe, I used:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

Beat well with wooden spoon until a thick frosting/filling forms.

Pinch off a hunk of the dough, and roughly shape into a short log. Using a rolling pin, roll the log flat and then pipe the filling down the middle. I left about an inch of dough on each side. Starting at the ends, fold dough over about 1/2 inch of the filling and pinch sides shut. Then fold one side of the dough over the filling and pinch together with other side - making sure no filling is peeking out, what you get is an eggroll shape. Place the logs, seam side down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in prepared oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Once they come out, brush with butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar.

Pretzels a year later!

xoxo

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Comments on "Baby's First Birthday!"

 

Blogger kellypea said ... (11/19/2007 3:00 PM) : 

OH. MY. GAWD. The mustard. And that cheese hole. I'm dying here, Lis. And can you run for president, please. Someone needs to take charge and clearly, you're good at it. Happy anniversary. OR birthday. Um. Cheers!

 

Blogger Tartelette said ... (11/19/2007 3:08 PM) : 

Happy Birthday DBs!!! Who would have thunk (oh yeah I am cool)that your little email "hey wanna make biscotti?" would have turned into this?!! I am havig a blast, baking and meeting new people with great personalities and blogs. Thank *you* for calming *me* down

 

Blogger Tartelette said ... (11/19/2007 3:12 PM) : 

Forgot: that fisrt pretzel is just too cute gorgeous! and the filled ones...well can I say ...: did you have to tempt me with these at midnight yesterday?!!!Sheesh!!

 

Blogger Baking Soda said ... (11/19/2007 5:43 PM) : 

Oh filled soft pretzelies! What was it again? "Be still my fluttering heart".
First things first (food)then congratulations and celebrations on the first anniversary!
Can't believe the two of you have never met!

 

Blogger Deborah said ... (11/19/2007 5:50 PM) : 

Yay!! Happy birthday to the DBs!!

 

Blogger Lydia said ... (11/19/2007 7:59 PM) : 

Happy birthday, DBers! Lis, you and Ivonne have created such a wonderful concept, and even for those of us who don't bake (but do read every month's posts), it's been loads of fun. Thank you!

 

Anonymous Ivonne said ... (11/19/2007 8:21 PM) : 

Oh. Wow. The pretzels. The stuffed pretzels! I want them all. Every single one!

Of course this year wouldn't have been possible without you ... my thanks my sweetie!

 

Blogger Tartelette said ... (11/19/2007 8:40 PM) : 

Allright,just made those and that are fantastic...soft, flavorfull....and so easy to come together! Bravo for chosing this recipe!!

 

Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (11/20/2007 12:09 AM) : 

Happy Birthday!

**SPANK SPANK**

Hey, when are ya (going to send me) bake (and then send me) some (send em quick) macarons (overnight em)?

 

Blogger Marie said ... (11/20/2007 2:42 AM) : 

Oh gosh, what yummy looking pretzels! And Happy first birthday to the DB'ers! I have always enjoyed seeing all the results of the challenges and am enjoying participating in them myself now! Methinks that you guys were inspired when you started the group!

 

Blogger Inne said ... (11/20/2007 8:03 AM) : 

happy birthday DB! Seems impossible it's been a year already...
Wonderful looking pretzels, especially the filled ones (it's lunchtime here and I'm starving).

 

Anonymous veron said ... (11/20/2007 8:05 AM) : 

Oh goodness...look at that filled pretzel...Happy birthday to us , sis and thanks to you and Ivonne for giving birth to the Daring Bakers! :)

 

Blogger Jes said ... (11/20/2007 12:51 PM) : 

It really is insane that there are 300 of us! Holy cow!

 

Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (11/20/2007 1:03 PM) : 

My how you've grown little one . . . 300 and counting!
Awesome Lisa . . . Awesome group . . . Awesome pretzels !!!
Awesome your & Ivonne!
Somethings just do right!

 

Blogger Cheryl said ... (11/20/2007 1:55 PM) : 

I love the DB's. Happy birthday to you all. thank you so much Lis for inviting me this group months ago. It has been an awesome experience.

Your pretzels are looooovely daaaaling!!

 

Blogger katiez said ... (11/20/2007 4:04 PM) : 

Happy Birthday, DB. I'd love to join...but then we'd have to eat all the goodness... I don't know if "me 'ips" could take it....
But I'll continue to be a voyeur!

 

Blogger Annemarie said ... (11/20/2007 6:12 PM) : 

Great pretzels, but even more importantly, happy birthday to you (and DB). Fantastic work you, Ivonne, and everyone else has done over just one short year - it's really something to be proud of, enabling so many people to enjoy themselves so much. Thanks.:)

 

Blogger Mila said ... (11/21/2007 8:10 AM) : 

Happy Birthday!! And thanks for the amazing group tha you and Ivonne created!!! and the pretzel!! looks so dellicus!

 

Blogger Brilynn said ... (11/21/2007 11:40 AM) : 

The pretzels are the only challenge I haven't made yet. Perhaps these should be the first thing I make when I move into my new digs... they look delicious!

 

Blogger Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita said ... (11/21/2007 7:26 PM) : 

Lis, I could really get into those stuffed pretzels. Thanks for the DBers. I've enjoyed being a member. Happy Birthday and a very Happy Thanksgiving :)

 

Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (11/23/2007 2:17 PM) : 

Happy Birthday DBs!!

Who'd have thought it would have grown so much in a year =)

KJxx

 

Blogger Cynthia said ... (11/23/2007 7:54 PM) : 

Happy Birthday DB!

 

Anonymous Kristen said ... (11/23/2007 11:31 PM) : 

I have really enjoyed watching this group grow every month. What an amazing thing you have going on!
Happy Birthday DB's!

 

Blogger Kalyn said ... (11/24/2007 11:36 AM) : 

Happy birthday to the Daring Bakers. What a fun thing you and Ivonne have created. Even though I'm not a baker (by any stretch of the imagination) I love seeing what people are making every month!

 

Blogger Barbara said ... (11/26/2007 4:42 AM) : 

Belated birthday greetings. I'm very behind in my blog reading. Well done on 12 months.

 

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