I've always looked at February 1 as a turning point. There's plenty of wet, grey, cold, windy weather ahead to be sure, but in February the days start becoming quite a bit longer and the really cold weather is likely gone. So I always feel a sense of accomplishment this time of year.
If you want to feel even more accomplished, let me recommend you discard that flimsy old bread knife you have been using to hack away mercilessly at my beautiful bread. Reader, is this you I am describing? Are you really still using that thing?
My friend and customer M. received one of these J. A. Henklels knives as a birthday gift last year, and because he was one of my official taste-testers, I ended up using it once when visiting him. I already had a very good bread knife, but over the years it had grown dull, and I was due for a new one. I got the one he had. For a good knife, it's quite inexpensive.
I picked up some walnuts, so this week l will have cranberry-walnut sourdough, as well as some form of rye sandwich loaf, Country French, and a sourdough multi-grain that I will probably make in a sandwich style. The multi-grain will be a tiny bit heavier on the rye than most multigrains you have probably had, and will also incorporate a bit of barley flour, which lends a subtle flavor that balances the rye. It also won't have nearly as much sugar in it as most commercial multigrain breads do. In fact, it won't have any.
My long experiments with a small, cookie-sized version of pain de genes have still not succeeded to my satisfaction, so I may not have any new varieties of cookies this week. I had hoped to find a way to scale these delightful little French almond cakes into a cookie-sized morsel, but I feel I have not quite closed the deal. In baking, particularly with pastries and sweets, scaling down can present dramatic thermodynamic challenges that lead squarely to chemical ones. In other words, the darn things keep overcooking on the outside, and undercooking on the inside.
I will have more of the parmesan-sesame cookies, which I think I can offer less expensively than I have been, so expect a price cut on those.
I am going to try to have more knackebrot as well, and if the math works out, those may get a little cheaper too. The labor on knackebrot is long--good grief, it is long--and accounts for 9/10ths of their price. But I am getting more practice in knackebrot production, and hope to be able to offer them for less. No promises.
I will also have pasta again.
See you Thursday!