Stephanie Wise of Girl Versus Dough talks about her love of quick breads and easy yeasted breads that come out perfectly every time.
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The blog: At Girl Versus Dough, Stephanie Wise writes about her endless love of carbs.
Who are some of your favorite bakers?
Always a toughie! As far as “celebrity” bakers go, Rose Levy Beranbaum is at the top of my list. Her book The Bread Bible was my first cookbook about bread baking and I’m convinced she is the reason I can manage to bake a decent loaf of bread. On a more personal level, my mom and grandmother both are excellent bakers in their own right and I’ve learned so much from them—most importantly patience, and that having a failure or five in the kitchen is a normal and very necessary part of becoming a better baker.
You recently released your first e-cookbook about quick breads. How did you decide on the topic?
I decided on quick breads because they’re my favorite breads to bake (I mean, let’s face it, anything with the word “quick” and “bread” in it has my attention). They’re easy, versatile and of course, delicious. But I actually didn’t come up with the idea to write a full e-cookbook on quick breads until I surveyed my readers. Quick breads beat out my other contenders—no-knead breads, pretzels and whole-grain breads—by a landslide. Apparently I’m not the only fan of quick-and-easy carb recipes. So that’s how Quick Bread Love came to be.
What are some of your favorite beginner yeast breads? Are there any breads you haven’t yet conquered but want to?
Some of my favorite beginner yeast bread recipes include sticky buns or rolls, like my Raspberry Swirl Rolls or Sweet Potato–Marshmallow Cinnamon Rolls. Any sandwich loaf recipes made with potatoes, actually, yield perfectly soft and fluffy loaves almost every time—so I’d recommend starting with something like my Loaded Baked Potato Bread (because there’s bacon in it, duh). And believe it or not, pretzel dough is also super easy, like for my Brie and Jam Pretzel Hand Pies. As far as breads I haven’t tackled yet, I finally crossed sourdough off my list (going on the blog soon!) but I have yet to make a decent crusty French baguette that I’m really proud of. That’s my next project.
It’s so interesting that you were a newspaper reporter before. Has this previous career helped at all with the blog?
I definitely think so. Having a background in journalism helps with my writing and composing of a blog post—because in some ways, writing a feature article is very similar to writing a post on a food blog. You have to hook the reader immediately, tell the story in detail and then circle back to your hook, all the while making sure you’re keeping the reader’s interest until the recipe. You also have to research and keep up with the trends, much like in journalism—except that your sources are likely cookbooks, other food blogs and Pinterest instead of civic leaders and business owners. Though I’m no longer a reporter, I highly value my time in the field as an experience that helps me immensely in my career today as a food blogger.
What food blogs are you loving right now?
The answer to this question is always changing and evolving, but right now I’d say my biggest sources of inspiration are My Name is Yeh, The Sugar Hit, Hungry Girl Por Vida, Take a Megabite and I Am a Food Blog. All of these ladies have stellar photography and are just so dang creative, both in recipes and writing. I want to be them when I grow up.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.