Girl Versus Dough

raisin-walnut pumpernickel bread

raisin walnut pumpernickel bread loaf on cutting board

I’m eating a massive slice of this bread right now (as toast, duh) and it is glorious.

I never used to be a morning person. But I was never really a night person, either. And I actually hate that afternoon hour between 4 and 5 p.m. (it just always drags on and on and there’s not even anything good on TV to make it go by faster, you know?). Really, I’m a mid-morning person. The hours between 9 a.m. and noon are my peak hours. I’m like a machine. I get all the things done during this time. I’m super productive. I’d like to thank the toast for this bout of energy.

But then lunchtime rolls around and all I can think about is food, and then once I eat said food all I can think about is taking a nap, and sometimes this may or may not be possible (I’ve tried in all too many inappropriate/inconvenient locations including my car, the back of a classroom, a folding chair, the kitchen table, a hardwood floor, etc. etc.). If I do end up taking a nap, all hope of more productivity is lost because I probably slept too long. Hard knock life, y’all.

ANYWAY, all this to say, in my increasing age I’ve become more of a morning person. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I love being the first one awake in my household (well, besides my cat who has already tried no less than three times to wake me up by incessantly sniffing my face, weirdo), turning on the coffeemaker, checking my e-mails and the Twitter while the coffeemaker makes all its rumbles and pops and trickles, pouring and then guzzling said coffee while watching the sun come up. And of course, the promise of toast. Especially when homemade pumpernickel bread is involved.

autumn harvest spelt pilaf

autumn harvest spelt pilaf in serving bowl

If your weekend was anything like mine and there was at the very least one to 17 slices of apple crisp skillet muffin bread involved, your Monday calls for spelt.

What is spelt, you ask? That’s an excellent question. It’s a grain, specifically, a species of hearty wheat native to Europe and popular in Germany (in other words, it’s the food of my people). It’s nutty and chewy and tastes kind of like farro, but also kind of like rice, but also kind of like barley — but in the end it’s its own thing and a tasty thing at that. Oh, and it’s good for you — like, packed with fiber, iron, vitamin B12 and protein good for you.

And when it’s cooked up pilaf-style with ingredients like leeks, apple cider, pecans, cranberries and Honeycrisp apples, it’s just the thing you need after a rather cake-happy weekend. Ahem.

brown butter apple crisp skillet muffin bread

Brown Butter Apple Crisp Skillet Muffin Bread

I just realized that my blog life in the past month has all been brown food. Ahhh, so boring.

But brown food usually = carbs, which always = yum so I hope you’re cool with it.

Especially today, because today? I have a video for you, but I also have a bread with brown butter and apples and streusel and glaze in it/on it. You’re most welcome.

Bring on the brown food!

cracked wheat bread

sliced cracked wheat bread loaf

Wheat bread and I, we’re likethis.

Almost every morning, wheat bread serves as the vehicle to getting peanut butter toast into my belly for breakfast. For lunch or dinner, it is oftentimes the base of my sandwiches, grilled cheese, etc. And when I want dessert that is healthy but also not-so-healthy, a spread of Nutella or cookie butter on a slice of wheat bread comes to the rescue.

We’re basically besties. Also, now you know that my diet is like 80 percent toast.

But cracked wheat bread and I? That’s a whole different story. I’d never put cracked wheat into my bread before making this recipe from Red Star Yeast, let alone tried the stuff on its own. But ho ho hooooo, friends, let me tell you — it’s tasty. Dare I say so tasty, my trusted wheat bread may have some stiff competition.

fig, raspberry + sea salt challah

fig raspberry and sea salt challah bread on cutting board

One of my earliest loves on this here blog was challah. I’d never made it before a few years ago, and truth be told, I’m not sure I’d ever eaten it before then, either. But there I was, me and my first-ever homemade challah (please ignore the horrendous photos and the fact that I baked them on WAX PAPER… ah, adventures), and it was love at first sight. And bite.

Fast-forward to today and not much has changed except that whenever I decide to bake challah, I know I’m in for something yummy.

Challah is one of my favorite breads to bake because not only is it delicious, it’s simple and fuss-free to make (which we all know by now is how I like to roll). It’s also fairly forgiving in that if the dough doesn’t rise quite well enough or if it doesn’t look all that pretty going into the oven, the end result is almost always something beautiful. Of course, none of that really matters anyway when all you can think about is eating it, to which I can attest firsthand.

double chocolate s’mores whoopie pies

double chocolate s'mores whoopie pies on a cake stand

It may be mid-September but to me, s’mores season lives on long throughout the fall. And really, if I wanted a s’more in the middle of a snowstorm in January, NO ONE CAN STOP ME.

Sheesh, that was a little dramatic. Sorry about that. Back to the s’mores.

Whenever I think of s’mores I think of that scene in the movie, “The Sandlot” (a pivotal film in my childhood), when Ham explains to Smalls how to make a s’more. “First, you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flamin’, you stick it on the chocolate. Then, you cover it with the other end. Then, you stuff.”

Genius, that Ham.

While these double chocolate s’mores whoopie pies aren’t made quite so properly, the stuffing part is still intact. And I think Ham would be OK with that. I hope you are, too.