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Dec 18, 2014
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Extra Sauce

Extra Sauce: 3 Festive Hanukkah Treats

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown, and these celebration-worthy pastries will have the whole family clamoring for more. From sweet to savory, serve up a table of tasty tradition with these festive treats for the next eight nights.




1. While these  tri-cornered treats are traditionally served during Purim, for contributor Stacy Schultz‘s family, it’s not Hanukkah until the Hamantaschen hit the table. These hold a filling of dried fruit, pineapple and pecans.




2. When in doubt, go with the pros. This Chocolate Babka from Arthur’s Schwartz’s book Jewish Home Cooking is brimming with melted chocolate chips, crunchy walnuts and sweet cinnamon.





3. Not much of a sweet tooth? Take your taste buds for a walk on the savory side with Tomato, Parmesan And Pine Nut Rugelach filled with a homemade tomato jam.


-rugelach photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: 7 holiday cookie recipes like Grandma made

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Whether she’s your Grandma, Nana, Nonna, Oma or Gram, she probably has a holiday cookie recipe you look forward to every December. This year, grab your apron and treat her to a one of these traditional – or not so traditional – treats. Here, 7 of our favorite holiday cookie recipes:




1. These traditional Italian cookies flavored with almond and citrus are coated in snowy powdered sugar. Ricciarelli will melt away winter blues as they melts in your mouth.

2. For a cookie worth the wait, gather ingredients for Florentine Lace Cookies. Let the dough rest overnight, then drizzle this delicate almond treat with chocolate.

3. Opa! Hailing from the Greece, Kourambiedes are a decadent butter cookie that should find a place in your oven this holiday.

4. Holiday Shortbread is a beautiful canvas for seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, white chocolate and cranberries.




5. Old World Springerles are an anise-flavored, pillow-shaped cookie that, after baking in a special mold, is almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

6. Bigger is better this holiday with these Cranberry Crunch Cookies that can be make regular sized (yawn) or super-sized for extra fun.

7. Black-White Christmas Cookies cover a simply spiced soft cookie with both chocolate and vanilla frosting – perfect for the indecisive sweet tooth.


-photos by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: Carl McConnell’s Creme Brulee with Strawberries

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

“Creme brulee is my favorite thing to eat,” remarked Carl McConnell, chef-proprietor of Stone Soup Cottage. “It goes back to my childhood.” McConnell first tasted creme brulee when he was 7 or 8 years old and his mother took him to dine at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. “I ordered a creme brulee for dessert and have been in love with it ever since.”

Creme Brulee with Strawberries
Courtesy of Stone Soup Cottage’s Carl McConnell
4 servings

5 egg yolks
1 egg
¾ cup sugar, plus ¼ cup for dusting
Pinch salt
¼ tsp. vanilla
1 pint heavy cream, heated
8 fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
Drizzle of lavender honey

• Whisk the egg yolks, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla together in a stainless steel bowl. Temper eggs with one ounce hot cream (add cream to the eggs, whisking vigorously). Add remaining cream and stir well.
• Skim the accumulated foam off the top of the custard with a spoon. Evenly distribute the custard base to 4 to 6 ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with very hot water, to a level half way up the side of the ramekins. Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the custards are firm. Refrigerate custards for at least 3 hours.
• Dust the tops of the chilled custards with sugar. Shake off excess sugar. Using a creme brulee torch, flambe the sugared tops until caramelized.
• In a bowl, toss strawberries with lavender honey. Serve the berries with the creme brulee.

Read more on McConnell, Stone Soup Cottage and his business partner and wife, Nancy McConnell, in this month’s What I Do.


Extra Sauce: 6 Thanksgiving recipes for gluten-free guests

Monday, November 24th, 2014



The turkey usually isn’t a problem for your gluten-free guys and gals, but stuffing and rolls are definite no-gos. Welcome them with a starter of Apple Cheese Pleasers and make sure to have at least two sides they can enjoy with their bird.




Dishes like Beet and Carrot Salad, Roasted Sweet Brussels Sprouts and Grapes or Butternut Squash Stew will satisfy all your guests with any dietary needs.




And why pumpkin pie is a must on Thanksgiving, make sure your GF guests end on a sweet note, too, with Hold-the-Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Extra Sauce: 3 Turkey Recipes from the Pros

Thursday, November 13th, 2014



In the hunt for all things local, the Thanksgiving turkey can be a tough bird to find, with many already spoken for by Nov. 1. Fear not; we tracked down which area butchers, grocers and farmers markets are still taking orders for local gobblers.

Buttonwood Farm turkeys are available at several locations through out St. Louis. Members of Fair Shares CCSA can place their orders through tomorrow, Nov. 14 and pick them up Nov. 25. Soon-to-open Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions is taking orders until Sunday, Nov. 16 with pickup on Nov. 25. Local Harvest Grocery and all Straub’s locations are accepting orders until they are sold out, with pick up times varying by location. Buttonwood Farm birds are also available through Mac’s Local Buys; orders should be placed by Nov. 21 and can be picked up Nov. 22 and 25 at The Civil Life Brewing Co. Soulard Farmers Market regulars can stop by the Harr Family Farms booth now through Nov. 22 to place their orders, too.

And what to do with those hard-won local turkeys? If anyone knows how to feed a crowd it’s catering chefs, so we asked for their perfect recipes to wow Thanksgiving guests.


Charcoal-Roasted Turkey with Bourbon-Orange Glaze
Courtesy of Butler’s Pantry’s Greg Ziegenfuss
8 to 10 servings

1 gallon plus 1 cup water, divided
1 quart plus 1 cup kosher salt, divided
2 Tbsp. dry thyme
½ cup freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 lb. bag ice
1 gallon plus 2 cups orange juice, divided
12 oz. orange juice concentrate
1 quart plus ½ cup soy sauce, divided
1 quart plus ½ cup bourbon, divided
1 12- to 14-lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large navel oranges, quartered
1 large yellow onion, chopped in large chunks
1 small bunch fresh thyme
½ cup honey
2 tsp. white pepper
1 stick butter

Special equipment: a large brining bag and a second grill or large fireproof metal container

Day 1: Combine the water, 1 quart kosher salt, dry thyme and ¼ cup pepper in a very large heavy-duty pot and bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the salt.
• Remove from heat and add the ice. Stir to cool. Add 1 gallon orange juice, the orange juice concentrate, 1 quart soy sauce and 1 quart bourbon. Stir to incorporate.
• Place the turkey in a brining bag, pour the brine over and seal. Refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours.
Day 2: Remove the turkey from brine. Thoroughly rinse and pat it dry. Let the turkey rest at room temperature 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, prepare charcoal grill for high, indirect heat.
• Combine the remaining 1 cup salt, the remaining ¼ cup pepper and the vegetable oil in a bowl and rub the turkey inside and out with the gritty paste. Stuff the interior cavity of the turkey with the oranges, onion and fresh thyme.
• Place a drip pan filled with the remaining 1 cup water next to coals to catch any drippings. Place the turkey breast-side up over indirect heat, cover, and grill 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, after 20 minutes of grilling, prepare another chimney of charcoal on a second grill or within a fireproof metal container. Let it burn until the coals are completely gray.
• Meanwhile, create a glaze by bringing to boil the remaining 2 cups orange juice, the remaining ½ cup soy sauce, the remaining ½ cup bourbon, the honey and white pepper over heat high. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
• Baste the turkey with the glaze. Add the fresh, hot charcoal to the grill. If the skin is getting too dark, tent the turkey with heavy-duty foil to prevent burning. Cover and girll another hour.
• Meanwhile, after 20 minutes of grilling, prepare another chimney of charcoal on a second grill or within a fireproof metal container. Let it burn until the coals are completely gray.
• Baste the turkey with the glaze. Add the fresh, hot charcoal to the grill. If the skin is getting too dark, tent the turkey with heavy-duty foil to prevent burning. Cover and grill another hour, until a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. Baste again before removing from the grill.
• Cover the turkey with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving.


Oolong Tea-Smoked Whole Turkey with a Citrus-Tamarind Glaze
Courtesy of Hollyberry Catering’s Kristin Stegmann
10 to 12 servings

1 gallon hot water
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup kosher salt
2¼ cups brown sugar, divided
1½ cups oolong tea leaves, divided
1 7-lb. bag ice
1 bunch green onions, roughly chopped
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 lemons, halved
2 oranges, halved
5 garlic cloves, smashed
9 whole star anise, divided
2 cinnamon sticks
4 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided
3 Tbsp. crushed Szechwan peppercorns, divided
Vegetable oil
1 14- to 15-lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 cup uncooked rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1 Tbsp. hot Chinese mustard

Special equipment: a clean 13½-gallon cooler (or larger)

Day 1: Combine the vegetable stock, hot water, salt, 1 ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup oolong tea leaves in a clean 13½-gallon cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in the ice, the green onions, 1 cup soy sauce, the lemons, oranges, garlic, 4 whole star anise, cinnamon sticks, 3 tablespoons ginger and 2 tablespoons peppercorns. Place the turkey breast-side up in the brine, close the cooler and brine 12 to 24 hours.
Day 2: Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 to 12 hours before cooking.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat or preheat a gas grill to 400 degrees for indirect heat. Rub the turkey all over with vegetable oil.
• Place 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil on top of each other and place the tea leaves, the remaining 5 star anise, rice, the remaining 1 tablespoon peppercorns and ¼ cup brown sugar in the center. Fold up the edges to make a small bowl to hold the smoking mixture. Place the foil bowl directly on the charcoal or, if using a gas grill, on the metal bar over the gas flame.
• Place the turkey over indirect heat, cover and smoke 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, lemon zest, the remaining ½ cup brown sugar, butter, tamarind paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger, mustard and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
• After 1 hour, baste the turkey with the glaze. Cover and continue to smoke, basting everything 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. If the turkey is getting too dark, tent it loosely with heavy-duty foil.
• Cover the turkey with foil and let rest 1 hour before carving.


The Art of Entertaining’s Perfect Turkey
Courtesy of The Art of Entertaining’s Ann Lemcke
12 to 15 servings 

¼ tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. dried rosemary
¼ tsp. dried sage
1 20- to 22-lb. turkey, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 Tbsp. flour

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Create a turkey rub by mixing together the garlic salt, basil, oregano, thyme, poultry seasoning, pepper, rosemary and sage in a medium bowl. Set aside.
• Rub butter all over the turkey, inside and out, then rub the turkey down with the spice blend.
• Put the flour inside a roasting bag, close and shake. Place the prepared turkey inside the flour-coated bag and tie closed. Place the roasting bag in a roasting pan and cut 4 to 5 slits in the top of the bag. Roast 4 to 5 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees.
• Let the turkey rest 30 minutes before carving.

Extra Sauce: Where to Eat at a Blues Game

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Now that baseball season is officially over, St. Louis turns its attention to the boys of winter. Hockey-loving foodies will find an array of food and beverage offerings when the St. Louis Blues are on the ice at Scottrade Center this year.

At concession stands and portable carts scattered through the plaza and mezzanine levels, you can load up on traditional fare like hot dogs, pizza, nachos and even build-your-own mac-n-cheese (section 104). A gluten-free cart peddling hot dogs, nacho, beer and other wheat-free fare is back again, too. But in our hunt for winning dishes, we found a few spots where food service provider Levy Restaurants as really upped its game with choices like stir-fried rice and blackened chicken sandwiches. Best of all, you’ll find these meals at stands accessible to any ticketholder, even one bleeding blue in the nosebleeds.



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 -photos by Meera Nagarajan

Extra Sauce: Sauce One-up Potluck Instagram Contest

Monday, November 3rd, 2014



This year, our annual Guide to the Holidays is all about gift giving, goodwill … and destroying the competition at your holiday potluck. We asked six area chefs to share their go-to potluck dishes guaranteed to keep everyone talking until next year’s get together.

Now Sauce wants to know, what’s you’re one-up potluck recipe? Share a photo and description of your dish during our Sauce One-up Potluck Instagram Contest. Here’s how it works:

1. Follow @SauceMag on Instagram.

2. Snap a photo of your successful one-up potluck dish and share it on Instagram, along with a description of your creation. Be sure to tag @SauceMag and use the hashtag #SaucePotluck so we know you entered. (And yes, you can submit more than one dish if you’re really that good!)

3. Post your dish by Friday, Nov. 21 at noon. Then, we’ll choose our favorite and announce the winner, who will receive a $150 gift certificate to Dierbergs, as well as a stunning floral arrangement to decorate your Thanksgiving table.

Now start cooking and remember: humility is highly overrated!

-photo by Johnathan Gayman

Extra Sauce: Sauce staff potluck recipes

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

This month, we asked three Sauce staffers to share their go-to potluck dishes. Here, their secret recipes that blow away the competition.

“My cranberry-orange couscous with orange blossom water.” – Greg Rannells, contributing photographer

Israeli Couscous with Cranberries and Orange Blossom Water
Courtesy of Greg Rannells
6 to 8 servings

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous
1½ cups water
Half a bunch green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
½ cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. turmeric
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1½ cup dried cranberries
½ tsp. orange blossom water

• Warm the olive oil in medium saucepan over medium high. Add couscous and lightly toast 2 to 3 minutes, making sure all the grains are fully coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes ensuring all grains are fully coated with oil. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and cover. Let sit about 10 minutes, until the couscous absorbs all the water. Fluff with a fork to break up the grains.
• Pour the cooked couscous into a large serving bowl and toss with pine nuts, honey, turmeric and green onions. Set aside.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, pomegranate molasses, salt, cider vinegar and cranberries. Let cranberries plump in the vinaigrette 10 minutes, then pour over the couscous salad and toss. Refrigerate until cold. Before serving, sprinkle with orange blossom water.


“I make a mean cornbread pudding. No one can resist its power.” – Maggie Pearson, contributing writer

Cornbread Pudding
Courtesy of Maggie Pearson
8 to 10 servings

1 16-oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 16-oz. can cream-style corn
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
¾ cup butter, melted
1 package Jiffy or Martha White cornbread mix

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.
• Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake 30 minutes until set and lightly browned on top.


“My award-winning sweet-and-salty cake.” – Meera Nagarajan, art director

Baked’s Sweet and Salty Cake
Originally appeared on Martha Stewart
1 8-inch 3-layer cake

1¼ cups hot water
¾ cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp.salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla
½ cup Caramel with Salt (recipe follows)
Whipped Caramel Ganache Icing (recipe follows)
Fleur de sel, for garnish

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter 3 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the hot water, cocoa and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
• In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
• In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add the granulated and brown sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add the vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture alternating with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
• Divide the batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans. Bake until the cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.
• Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes to make level. Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about ¼ cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake. Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread the entire cake with remaining ganache icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Baked’s Caramel with Salt
Originally appeared on Martha Stewart
Enough for 2 to 3 8-inch 3-layer cake

¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. fleur de sel
¼ cup sour cream

• Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together the cream and salt. Bring the cream to a boil and cook until the salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
• When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to cool 1 minute. Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Whisk in the sour cream. Cool and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Baked’s Whipped Caramel Ganache Icing
Originally appeared on Martha Stewart
Enough for 1 8-inch 3-layer cake

¼ cup water
1 lb. dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1½ cups heavy cream
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool

• Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
• In another small saucepan add the cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
• When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to rest 1 minute. Add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Let cool 5 minutes. Place the chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer and pour the caramel sauce over chocolate. Let sit 1 minute before stirring from the center until the chocolate is melted.
• Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add the butter and increase speed to medium-high until the mixture is well combined, thickened, and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.

Extra Sauce: 7 Potluck Products to Impress

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Yes, we know substance trumps style – but if you’ve brought a knock-em-dead dish to the party, you’d better have something smart to serve it in. Here, seven stylish potluck products we love right now:




1. Two-piece teak branch server set
It’s high time to bring the great outdoors in with this autumn-inspired set.
$35. Crate and Barrel, 1 The Boulevard, Richmond Heights, 314.725.6380, crateandbarrel.com

2. Cake/pie carriers
Normally these are reserved for picnics, but why not a potluck? Unveil that pie or cake in style.
$50. Kitchen Conservatory, 8021 Clayton Road, Clayton, 314.862.2665, kitchenconservatory.com

3. Stainless-steel tongs
You don’t need a physics degree to use these snazzy, gravity-operated tongs. Point down and squeeze, and they open. Point them up, and they lock.
$40. Williams-Sonoma, multiple locations, williams-sonoma.com

4. Olivewood bread basket
Even the best rosemary-sourdough baguette can be improved with good presentation – which is when the stunning wood grain on this slender basket comes in handy.
$70. Extra Virgin: An Olive Ovation, 8829 Ladue Road, Clayton, 314.727.6464, extravirginoo.com

5. West Bend 5-quart slow cooker with tote
Cook your roast in this slow cooker, then zip it up in the insulated tote to ensure it arrives hot, and you arrive looking ever-so-put-together.
$60. Cornucopia Kitchen, 107 N. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.822.2440, cornucopia-kitchen.com

6. Wood serving spoons and appetizer set
Other guests’ jaws will drop when they see the handmade wooden servingware by YellowTree Farm’s Justin Lezcz. Look for more of his work at the soon-to-open Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions.
Spoons: $10; Appetizer set: $40. Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.645.2050, parkerstable.com.

7. Soapstone cutting boards and servingware
Use these to cut and portion bite-sized appetizers at home, and bring one along to serve at the party for extra panache.
$40. Extra Virgin: An Olive Ovation, 8829 Ladue Road, Clayton, 314.727.6464, extravirginoo.com


Extra Sauce: Companion’s Josh Allen enters bread battle to compete in World Cup of Baking

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Every four years, the world goes wild for international competition. Participants train endlessly, all vying for the chance to represent their countries on the grandest of stages. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics or the World Cup. We’re talking about a more delicious and mouthwatering sport: the World Cup of Baking, or the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.

The top three bakers from each country’s team will gather in Paris in March 2016 to be judged on bread, Viennese pastries, a savory sandwich presentation and an artistic piece. But before they go head-to-head in international competition, they have to make their national team. St. Louis’ own Josh Allen, owner of Companion, is one of 15 bakers fighting for a coveted spot tomorrow and Friday, Oct. 23 and 24, at the next round of competition in Providence, Rhode Island. If selected, Allen will be the first St. Louis baker to compete in the World Cup.

Since August, Allen has spent nearly every Friday at the Ladue Companion Cafe from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., elbow-deep in dough, testing new recipes and learning along the way. We popped by one of his final practice sessions to get the inside look at how a baker prepares for the tryout of a lifetime.

Allen is required to present five types of bread: a traditional and decorative baguette, a sourdough-based option, a nutritional loaf, and two freestyle breads of his creation. All five must be completed in eight hours and match precise weight and shape requirements.




Since the judges will taste the bread straight from the oven, Allen has changed his usual methods, which focus on preparing bread consumed 12 hours later. “(I) found that the amount of thyme or rosemary has to be cut way back because it’s so floral initially,” Allen said.

Allen wanted to create breads that stand alone, almost as a meal. Each bite should be a sensory overload, he explained.




The nutritional bread (pictured below), which contains more than 50 percent whole-grain flour, has the comforting aroma of chamomile dust. Mixed throughout the dough are quinoa and wild rice, as well as sweet-tart, crunchy pomegranate seeds.




The classic baguette (below) is Allen’s favorite.




Allen elevated the average sourdough (below) by using semolina flour studded with fennel and sesame seeds and brown butter to gild the lily.




The first freestyle bread (below, left) is an ode to fall: chunks of apple and toasted walnut are folded into a thyme- and apple cider-infused rye dough topped with barley for crunch. He kicks up the heat with his second freestyle bread (below, right): an airy polenta bread with briny green olives, aromatic rosemary, bright orange zest, and a zip of red pepper.




Allen expects to hear the results of this round in two weeks or so. If he succeeds, he will move to the final round of competition in March 2015, when the top three compete again to earn the coveted bread baker slot on the three-person team. “I’m as ready to go as I can be,” Allen said the day before competition. “There’s no telling what will resonate with the judges … I’m very excited about it. It’s been a great experience, but it’s been enough work that you want to do well.”

Spencer Perinkoff blogs at Whiskey and Soba

-story and photos by Spencer Pernikoff

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