Getting to Gold
Here’s the truth about me: I’m a hyper-focused, freakishly efficient, uncluttered, and orderly rule follower. I love tedious projects with lots of steps. I like pursuits that take a lot of time. I like neat and tidy, straight and organized, a place for everything and everything in its place. I tidy up my house upon waking, and tidying is the last thing I do before bed. I’m the kind of person who looks forward to cleaning day. I know. I sound like a lot of fun.
Here’s another truth about me: I’m a recovering bakery owner. I took the same approach to my bakery as I do to life—it was focused, efficient, and orderly. Most recipes relied on elaborate multistep processes. Nothing came from a box or package. We made every component of every item we sold, from granola to jam, caramel to ice cream. If a recipe contained a nut, we candied it in sugar and spices first. Flour for cookies was loaded into a cold smoker and smoked over Oregon alder wood. Heirloom apples were sliced and allowed to rest, their resulting juice transformed into a caramel destined for the internal workings of an apple pie. White chocolate was caramelized, cooled, chopped, and mixed into cookie doughs. We dehydrated locally grown fruit and made mounds of marshmallows with honey and sea salt. We spent endless hours proofing brioche dough (made with fancy European butter) to poufy perfection.
These laborious processes were possible because I wasn’t working alone. There was a talented team of professional bakers working with me to make them possible. We understood how to make the best use of time and how to accomplish tasks as efficiently as possible. We knew which components of a recipe to make ahead and what tools were the most useful for each job. Some of this was common commercial kitchen knowledge. Most of it was squeezed out of the hours we spent figuring out how to create authentic handmade products that we could then produce day in and day out—starting at 3 am every morning.
Since my days as a bakery owner, the way I spend my time in the kitchen has changed. For example, I rarely have time for brioche—a pursuit I turned into a three-day process at the bakery. I’ve realized that a simple toasted nut tastes as good as a candied nut once it’s buried in a cookie. I haven’t caramelized white chocolate in ages. Instead, I’ve focused on creating bakery-worthy recipes that can be baked quickly and easily in my home kitchen. Pair this with an ability to organize and prepare like a pro baker (or an obsessive home-tidying control freak), and you’ve got what I’ve come to call Baking Gold—strategies and recipes that can do a lot with very little. Baking Gold
features three doughs, two batters, and one baking mix that can be magicked into more than seventy-five unbelievable treats. With twenty-plus additional recipes for cookie fillings, cake toppings, and delightful mix-ins, you’re looking at a jackpot of recipes.
I created Baking Gold for bakers like you. And bakers like me. We want recipes that eliminate unnecessary steps, follow streamlined processes, and are quick to come together without (ever!) relying on store-bought mixes or doughs. This cookbook is for bakers like us, and I can’t wait to get started.
Copyright © 2020 by Jami Curl. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.