Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taking the time to bake quietly

I love to bake. That’s no secret to anyone that knows me. Science and chemistry in the form of pleasurable nourishment with the end result of seeing enjoyment and satisfaction on the faces of people around me is a simple way to be happy. And lately, Ive been trying to really go back to the basics of the enjoyment of baking, by doing it silently.

To bake quietly, simply put, is to really immerse yourself in the actual sounds of organic, hands-on baking. No electrical appliances needed (apart from the stove) which means no hand mixer, no ticking timer, no blender, absolutely no noise that comes from anything that has to be plugged in, turned on, etc. Just the beautiful sounds of spoon against bowl, of sifting flour and sugar, and of a rubber spatula scraping the bowl. I find absolute peace in hand mixing my things, in relying on my nose to tell me if its finished baking, and on buttering/flouring those muffin tins one by one.

I whipped up a batch of cornmeal blueberry muffins in honour of St. Jean Baptist, and this is a quick recipe that doesn’t dirty many dishes, and uses common ingredients. Its also so easy to make if you have impromptu guests coming over in half hour that you didn’t expect (like I did). Company, and muffins, are good for the soul!


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (to add a touch of acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the sugar)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (frozen blueberries do not purple your batter, and add moisture to baked goods as they steam in the oven)


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. I grease my muffin tins with a bit of butter and in this case a sprinkle of cornmeal. Gives it a rustic edge, I find, and using flour would have messed with my pretty yellow look.

2.     Sift flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt and baking powder together into a large bowl. Dredge the blueberries in the sifted ingredients (for extra insurance). In a small bowl, combine the milk, butter, lemon juice and egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

3.     Bake in oven until it smells and feels ready (about 15 mns). Let muffins sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

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