2014 is just about in the books and it has been quite a year for Bakers & Best! There were 97 posts shared with visitors from 130 countries (thank you!), including 36 new ones. Let’s take a look back at all the fun, shall we?!
In January it was announced that Brown Provost Mark Schlissel would take the reins as Michigan’s President while Mary Sue Coleman rode off into retirement. He was warmly received by the University community, especially after a riveting presentation about his favorite blog. Apple cranberry mini pies were served to the delight of all in attendance.
It was love at first sight in February when on Valentine’s Day I shared my first ever Photoshop Phriday post featuring Charles Woodson (If you’re looking for Valentine’s Day treats try this or these). I have really enjoyed making these posts all year. They have been a fantastic way for me to share my love of all things University of Michigan and maybe make a few bread bakers out of Michigan fans! February also saw me dive into my copy of Tartine No. 3 by making a batch of salted chocolate rye cookies.
Right before Bakers & Best celebrated its 2nd birthday in April, in March I published my 100th post which was occasion enough to make a deliciously moist vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. The Michigan basketball team decided to celebrate the achievement in a different way, by throwing down dunks with loaves of bread.
As Michigan started to thaw in April I tried my hand at making matzah during Passover. It wasn’t warm enough for me to bake it on my back while walking around town, so who knows how authentic it really was. It wasn’t too long before I returned to my leavened bread ways, this time with an interesting spice combination in caraway and coriander
Somehow in the month leading up to our wedding I managed to have one of my most productive months. I made what is probably my favorite loaf of the year when I tried out Girl Meets Rye’s Sweet Potato Sourdough. We discovered Bump Elliot’s love for Despicable Me and I got in on the latest food craze by making far too many cronuts and in turn making a few new friends in our apartment building.
Things slowed down on the blog in June and July, my wife and were busy getting married and driving (well, me driving and her riding) around France! You can read about our adventures (food and otherwise) in: Paris, Dijon/Annecy, Provence, and the Riviera. Upon returning I got fancy with rye bread and charcuterie and took a baguette class at Zingerman’s.
Before the school year started in September we gave a formal farewell to President Coleman and perhaps made a prophetic hello to Jim Harbaugh in Photoshop Phriday posts. Not forgetting that this is a bread blog, I gave some space to parmesan pepper sourdough I made. This was a very close runner up to my favorite bread of the year. The pockets in the open crumb act like hammocks for the gooey pieces of delicious cheese.
In September I missed my first Michigan home game since I came to campus in 2007; I didn’t have an interest in reliving the nightmarish first game I attended so I opted to head to Seattle to watch the Nationals play. When I came home I finally got around to making the maple cornbread waffles I had been meaning to for months. I also went on a roasted garlic kick and made some delicious bread with roasted garlic and rosemary.
October got off to a fast and record breaking start on the blog. Amidst the beginning of the football coaching controversy (well, maybe in the middle stages) and uproar around Dave Brandon’s position as AD, Brian Cook of MGoBlog stumbled across my blog one night. It hopefully provided a brief respite from the media circus for fans and was a a great way for me to connect more immediately with people who were Michigan fans but not necessarily fans of making bread (yet!).
I learned far more about American breakfast tendencies in November than I ever thought possible thanks to the Canadian Bureau of Agriculture’s research division. Later in the month I somehow fooled myself into thinking that making Thanksgiving dinner on one day’s notice was a good idea. Turns out, it was! I made a feast complete with pumpkin cornbread, stuffing, a vegetable tart, crispy Chinese duck, and cider baked apples.
The past few weeks have been a little slower but not without excitement. I celebrated Giving Blueday Bakers & Best style by giving Michigan donor extraordinaire William Cook his very own Photoshop Phriday post. I also joined the posting group #BreadBakers and took part in my first month by making baguettes with quinoa flour and sprouted quinoa.
It’s been another fun year, thanks for reading and see you and Jim Harbaugh in 2015!