Sourdough rye chocolate cake

My new chocolate cake recipe is from my new favorite baking
book, 100% °F
Rye by Shannon Stonger

I believe there are actually health benefits to cooking with
sourdough and whole grain flour and maybe even rye versus
wheat. But the reason I’ve adopted it over my previous bread
machine sprouted wheat chocolate cake is that it’s so moist.

The picture is of the version I baked for the twentieth
anniversary of the West
Gallery Quire
. People said it was good, and most of it disappeared.



  • 2 cups rye flour
  • ½ cup starter
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup honey, softened to a pourable consistency
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup melted butter or coconut oil (I have coconut oil
    somewhere, but I can’t find it, so I used almond oil, which I
    keep on hand for oiling musical instruments.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


Whisk together the flour, starter, milk, and honey in a medium bowl until just combined. Cover tightly and set aside to ferment for 6-12 hours, or longer if desired.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13” pan (I
have one somewhere, but I can only find a 10×14″ pan, so it bakes
a little faster) by buttering and flouring it. Add the eggs,
melted butter, and vanilla to the fermented dough and just begin
to stir it together. Sprinkle over the cocoa, baking powder,
baking soda, and salt and finish mixing until all ingredients are

Scrape batter into prepared pan and place pan into the preheated
oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted
into the center of the cake comes out clean. (I use an
instant-read thermometer, and it’s done when the probe comes out
clean, but just to check I make sure it’s in the 190-200°F

Allow to cool before slicing and serving.


I’ve only baked it twice. The first time I baked it plain, and
I loved the texture but thought the flavor was a little boring.
For the pictured version, I made a chocolate ganache frosting, and
used almond slivers and dried apricot pieces for decoration. Next
time I’ll try doing what I did with the bread machine cake, which
was add chocolate chips and dried cherries.


If you have keiłbasa, sauerkraut, and mushrooms, you can make bigos. Put them in a pot and simmer until you want to eat them. I sometimes do this in a frying pan for only a few minutes, and call it lazy man’s bigos.
The story is that the hunters left a cauldron of this simmering, and when they caught anything, they added it to the pot.
Above is my grandmother’s recipe, which she contributed to her church cookbook. You notice she adds quite a few things to the basic recipe. The apples are good, and when I have it, I usually use cider instead of the wine and beef broth in her recipe. Notice that she also used cabbage in addition to the sauerkraut.

Options for a cookout

2013-09-21 11.30.11

I promised you more about how I’m cooking from the farm share
this year. I thought I’d start by giving you the email I sent my
sister yesterday about what I might be able to bring to her
cookout today.

I have enormous amounts of cooking I could do, and will
undoubtably do less than I could, so if there’s something on this list
that you particularly do or don’t want, let me know.

  • Green salad. There’s not only lettuce but also arugula and mustard
    greens, and tomatoes, peppers and radishes for standard additions.
  • Ratatouille. (This will be from the two bell eggplants in the
    box a week ago.)
  • Baba Ganoush (This is from the extra box of eggplants 2 or 3
    weeks ago, which is already roasted but not yet flavored.)
  • Salsa Verde. I made some two weeks ago that I liked, and they gave
    me another bag of tomatillos this week.
  • Potato salad (There is a little bag of dill, and two bags of potatoes.)
  • Rosemary cake (This is really good timing on the part of the
    folks at Picadilly Farm. Last spring I found a recipe for a rosemary cake
    that uses up 8 eggs (I have an egg share, too) and gives you dessert and/or breakfast for a
    week, and everyone I fed it to liked it and several of them asked
    for the recipe. I was feeling like making it again, and trying
    to figure out how to organise or buy the fresh rosemary, when a
    bunch appeared in the farm share on Thursday.

My sister replied that she had an eggplant dish planned and
someone else was bringing salad, so the best thing would be the
rosemary cake, so that’s what I’m doing. I may also make a salad
— there’s nothing wrong with several salads at a cookout, and the
leftovers are good for breakfast.

Lemon Pizza

I can’t find the recipe for this I ran into on the internet,
but I think all they did was sautée the lemons (sliced very thin)
and garlic in olive oil and use it as topping.

I haven’t been quite that minimalist either of the times I’ve
made this — both times I added some thinly sliced onions and put
parmesan cheese on top.

The one I liked better, I added a teaspoon or so of honey to
the sautée and cooked it long enough that the onions were starting
to caramelize.

That time, I had a Portuguese vinho verde in the
refrigerator, which was exactly the right level of sweet, tart,
and lemony to go with the pizza.

I got Cooking
for Geeks
for Christmas, and one of its recommendations for
pizza in a home oven is to cook the crust for 5 minutes before
adding the topping. I’ve been doing that, and it does indeed make
for a better baked crust.

Daikon radish purée with sesame oil

This is one of the first ideas I stumbled on when I started
getting a farm share, and having vegetables I hadn’t thought of
cooking arriving in a box. I like daikon radish fine in small
quantities in stir fries or roasts, but if you have a meal-sized
portion, I think it’s good to take some of the bite out of it.

I braise it in water to cover (a lot will evaporate before it’s
cooked through). You can use stock if you like, but I don’t find
it necessary.

While it’s cooking to fork tenderness, you cook
some kind of grain to put it on. Here I like something that adds
a bit of flavor. I used quinoa today for lunch. Today, I had
garlic scapes, so I snipped one into small pieces and added it to
the braising liquid, after the daikon was starting to be cooked.

When the daikon is fork tender, you add a generous splash of
sesame oil and season with salt and pepper, and then mash it up however you
would make mashed potatoes. I use my Cuisinart
Smart Stick Hand Blender

I don’t usually have enough daikon radish to make this for
company, but the one time I did, they raved about it.

You have a cooling rack

Those of us who are low on both money and storage space often look longingly at kitchen equipment catalogs like “The Bakers’ Catalog”: but don’t order the equipment.

One of the things I have concluded I don’t need is a cooling rack for baked goods. Not because I don’t bake, or don’t want to turn out fresh-baked rolls or cookies onto a rack where the bottom would be exposed to air, but because I already have something that works quite well.

Your stove came with a broiling pan, which is the largest size thing that fits comfortably in your oven. That pan has a rack that allows the fat from what you’re broiling to drip down to the bottom of the pan instead of frying the food it comes from.

If you turn that rack upside down on your counter, you can use it as a cooling rack for your rolls or cookies.

Bread Machine Brioche

I’ve been making a lot of this, and the hostess of the last party I brought it to asked for the recipe, so since I’m typing it in anyway, here it is for my faithful blog readers:

It’s from the book that came with the Cuisinart bread machine, which died after 5 months, but the book is much better than the one that came with my shiny new cheap one from Amazon.

Makes 2 pounds of dough.

* 1/2 cup milk (I use rice milk)
* 4 eggs, large, at room temperature (I’m not fussy about the temperature)
* 1 stick unsalted butter (there really isn’t any reason to buy salted if you keep what you’re not using in the freezer)
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 2 tablespoons powdered milk (I actually use soy protein drink mix that I bought a large container of once and then didn’t like drinking it.)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 3 3/4 cups bread flour (It really makes a difference using bread flour over all-purpose)
* 3 teaspoons yeast

Run the bread machine on the dough cycle. At this point you have a beautiful hunk of dough that’s elastic, not at all sticky and smells wonderful. The standard brioche where you roll a ball and then put a smaller ball on top of it must have happened because people just wanted to play with this dough. I’ve been using a mini-muffin pan with 24 small cups. Have the larger ball just fill the cup and the smaller ball perch on top of it.

You can also roll it out as thin as practical (less than an inch) and cut 3-4 inch circles and bake it on a cookie sheet for hamburger buns.

In either case, you get a better color on the result if you brush the rolls with an egg wash of one egg beated with one tablespoon of water.

Let rise for about half an hour after you’ve formed the rolls. Bake in a 350 degree (Fahrenheit) oven until the bottoms are browned. For the mini-muffin size this will be less than 20 minutes.