What Is Durum Wheat (& How the Heck Do You Bake With It)

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, how to turn high-protein durum flour into a golden loaf of bread.


If you’re a fresh pasta-maker, chances are high you’re familiar with durum wheat. Though the species is most commonly used to make pasta, it’s also an excellent choice to incorporate into bread. It’s a hard wheat—hence the name durum, which is Latin for “hard,”—and is so-called because of the strength of the durum berry itself, requiring significant force to mill. The grain has a high protein percentage, but the gluten quality in durum flour doesn’t have the same gas-trapping characteristics as traditional wheat. This means when using even finely-milled durum flour. The resulting bread will have a tighter, more cake-like crumb, or internal structure, somewhat akin to a loaf of whole wheat bread (as opposed to a super-light loaf with large inner holes, like a country loaf). Though there are visual and textural differences to a loaf of bread made durum wheat, there’s no compromise made: The color, aroma, and flavors from durum are all quite striking when used in bread, yielding a more rustic loaf but nonetheless delicious.

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Everything You Need to Know About Tangy, Floral Loquats

I have this thing for picking things off trees and eating them. The fruit calls to me. I can spot the first fig ripening on a tree or find a wee wild strawberry growing under a carpet of green.

I have this thing for picking things off trees and eating them. The fruit calls to me. I can spot the first fig ripening on a tree or find a wee wild strawberry growing under a carpet of green.

Photo by Catherine Lamb

So when I caught a glimmer of orange in a tree while biking around my hometown of Charleston, you’re damn right I screeched to a halt right then and there to investigate.

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5 Mirin Substitutes That Live in Your Pantry (or Bar)

Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine commonly whisked into sauces, dressings, and marinades, and added to simmered dishes like soups and stews. A little goes a long way, but a bottle won’t last forever. If you find yourself fresh out of this fragran…

Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine commonly whisked into sauces, dressings, and marinades, and added to simmered dishes like soups and stews. A little goes a long way, but a bottle won't last forever. If you find yourself fresh out of this fragrant, umami-rich seasoning but still want to add the flavor and depth that comes from cooking with wine, here are our best mirin substitutes, so you can get that Japanese-style roast chicken on the table without further delay.

1. Sake

Sake makes a great substitute for mirin—already being rice wine takes it halfway to the finish line. Many kinds of sake, especially unfiltered, are sweet enough to substitute for mirin without any doctoring up. In the case of drier sake, a splash of apple or white grape juice or a pinch of sugar will make up for it.

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What the Heck is Vegemite (& How Do You Eat It)?

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), o…

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), or the disturbing preponderance of poisonous snakes, for example. But it was with the invention of Vegemite in 1922 that things really went off the rails. What is Vegemite? So glad you asked.

Vegemite is a thick, dark spread extracted from the yeasty waste of the beer-brewing process, seasoned with celery, onion, salt, and some undisclosed extra flavors. Salty, umami-rich, with a hint of bitterness, Vegemite is an Australian obsession. But it wasn’t always this way.

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21 Kimchi Recipes To Fire Up Dinner Tonight

A jar full of kimchi is a beautiful thing. It sits in my fridge like a bright, orange beacon calling me to tangy, comforting bites—especially in this bitter cold. Salty, spicy, crunchy kimchi is the perfect solution for instant warmth and zip. The com…

A jar full of kimchi is a beautiful thing. It sits in my fridge like a bright, orange beacon calling me to tangy, comforting bites—especially in this bitter cold. Salty, spicy, crunchy kimchi is the perfect solution for instant warmth and zip. The complex, fermented flavors of cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, garlic (and just about any other vegetable you can think of) usually pack enough heat that I keep a glass of water nearby. Plus, it keeps for ages (some might argue forever), making it an ever-dependable dinner helper.

I’m more than happy to eat kimchi straight from the jar, but if you’re looking to add depth to rice bowls and noodle salads, or brightness to heavy stews and crispy french toast, here are 21 ways to use up that jar.

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9 Cream of Tartar Substitutes You Probably Have in the Kitchen

Where would we be without grapes? Think of all the culinary marvels the fruit yields: Jelly, balsamic and red wine vinegars, and of course wine. But lofty cakes, ethereal meringues, and chewy snickerdoodles also owe their existence to another child of …

Where would we be without grapes? Think of all the culinary marvels the fruit yields: Jelly, balsamic and red wine vinegars, and of course wine. But lofty cakes, ethereal meringues, and chewy snickerdoodles also owe their existence to another child of the grape: cream of tartar. The white powder is most often found in baked goods, where it serves as a stabilizer, a leavening agent, or a crystallization inhibitor (more on this later).

If you’ve just embarked on some baking endeavor only to find your jar of cream of tartar empty, there’s no cause for alarm. There are plenty of substitutions for cream of tartar, you just have to decide which purpose that sub needs to serve.

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How to Use Up the Rest of a Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

My mornings these days start off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a scoop of thick sweetened condensed milk. I skip the cream and sugar all together, since sweetened condensed milk—milk that’s been concentrated and heavily sweetened; its viscosi…

My mornings these days start off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a scoop of thick sweetened condensed milk. I skip the cream and sugar all together, since sweetened condensed milk—milk that's been concentrated and heavily sweetened; its viscosity is like molasses or honey and it moves just as slowly—gives creaminess and sweetness in one product.

My mother always had a can in the pantry at any given time. It was a staple in our home. We baked with it, sweetened Jamaican cornmeal porridge with it, and my mother used it in her tea. Once I've opened a can, I store the remaining milk (poured out of the can) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. (And if you want to met it yourself, Stephanie Le has a simple recipe for making a batch of sweetened condensed milk of your own.)

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Fresh Tarragon and Its 9 Best Uses

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: All this month we’ll be stocking up on fresh herbs to get our spring fix. Next up, tarragon. Read More >>

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: All this month we'll be stocking up on fresh herbs to get our spring fix. Next up, tarragon.

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11 Great Corn Syrup Substitutes (in Case You Don’t Have it on Hand)

In the U.S., at least, corn syrup is ubiquitous. We mix it into our marshmallows and pour it over our pancakes; we sip it in our sodas and cook it into our caramels. In its high-fructose form, the average American has consumed more than 40 pounds a yea…

In the U.S., at least, corn syrup is ubiquitous. We mix it into our marshmallows and pour it over our pancakes; we sip it in our sodas and cook it into our caramels. In its high-fructose form, the average American has consumed more than 40 pounds a year over the past decade. Light and dark corn syrups, the versions typically used by home cooks, can be found in nearly every supermarket and bodega in the country.

And yet, here you are, in search of a substitute. Maybe it’s for health reasons. Maybe you don’t feel like walking to the store. Maybe you’ve slipped into an alternate reality where Gottlieb Kirchhoff seriously miscalculated the sulfuric acid concentration before taking a sip of his new syrup, and didn’t survive to share his results. If you’ve never heard of Gottlieb Kirchhoff, then that must be it.

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16 Red Cabbage Recipes That Are Anything but Boring

I have my husband’s grandmother Violet to thank for introducing me to my favorite holiday side dish: Danish red cabbage, which is a mix of vinegar, sugar, lots of butter, a jar of red currant jelly, and two heads of chopped red cabbage. I’ve neve…

I have my husband's grandmother Violet to thank for introducing me to my favorite holiday side dish: Danish red cabbage, which is a mix of vinegar, sugar, lots of butter, a jar of red currant jelly, and two heads of chopped red cabbage. I’ve never seen Violet make it, but I’ve heard that when she does, she tends to it all day, dipping a fork into her Dutch oven often to taste and adjust and season. Apparently, no one in the family makes it as well as Violet.

Every year in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I look forward to pulling out her handwritten recipe card and attempting to replicate this old family standby. I love it so much, in fact, that I associate red cabbage with only this dish. And as soon as the holidays pass, I don't want to think about any other cabbage preparation besides this one, the following fall.

So when heads of red cabbage (also called purple cabbage) show up in my CSA box, I struggle to put them to use, often shoving them in the vegetable bin where they sit for weeks until I shred them into a basic slaw or simply roast them in wedges. Both are preparations that always leave me wanting.

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