Crumb Structure! (Open Thread)

Aside from my family’s annual Drunken Aunties Cookie Night event, I didn’t used to bake very often. I’ve always loved cooking, but baking was too scientific for my taste.

But something about our present age has driven me to arm myself with flour, yeast, salt, oil, etc., to hold the darkness at bay. There’s something rational and comforting about the measuring and timing.

Is it because the fussiness of it makes sense in the chaos of a country gone mad? Or maybe it was binge-watching the Great British Bake-off that set me off?

Anyhoo, here’s some bread! Bread makes everything better, right?

Open thread.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    That’s a fine-looking loaf, Ms C.

  2. 2

    There’s nothing like a good, crusty loaf of sourdough bread.

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    That, and a pound of butter, please!

  4. 4
    scav says:

    Yea Bread! I too have made loaves today. Mine were the Cooks Illustrated Nearly No-Knead ones, my easiest go-to one for daily consumption. And I’ve a rematch for houska scheduled for this weekend.

    ETA and, yes, bread makes it somewhat better. We had some of ours for dessert (with some ginger jam to really gild the lily).

  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    Yum. What’s a good bread machine? Kneading is far beyond me now.

  6. 6
    SteveNKY says:

    my crazy old uncle makes a great feathery light homemade bread like his mother did. leave that out long enough, send to Missouri so someone who can chuck it at that governor.

  7. 7
    debbie says:

    Betty, have you ever watched the American version of the Great British Bake Off? Nothing but whiny, self-centered bakers. No wonder the world hates us!

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    I was #30 in today’s jury pool, so I never even got to voir dire before being dismissed for the year. They would never have put me on the panel anyway since it was a car accident civil case with a neck/back injury, and I have a whiplash injury from 20 years ago that bugs me to this day.

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:


    G is obsessed with British panel shows, which is how I found out that Nadya from TGBBS is still a star in Great Britain.

    I do feel sorry for the people who did the last American series, though — they got hosed because Johnny whatshisname got outed as a harassing creep. And we had a Black woman who won this year!

  10. 10
    scav says:

    @Mary G: Try some of the high hydration bread recipes aound. No kneading required.

  11. 11
    Emerald says:

    You’re inspiring me to bake some ATK whole wheat bread.

    Meanwhile, here is the best thread ever on Twitter:

    You’re welcome.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:


    Or get the kneading hook attachment for the stand mixer (assuming Mary has one).

  13. 13
    debbie says:


    I definitely got a smarmy vibe off him. They only showed one episode here before Christmas. I think I know who you’re referring as being the winner. Good for her!

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    Once you start baking bread you’re going to start making pizzas .

  15. 15
    James E. Powell says:

    Anyhoo, here’s some bread! Bread makes everything better, right?

    “You probably need to eat something,” the baker said. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this,” he said. – Raymond Carver, “A Small, Good Thing”

    I wondering if maybe you’ve hit upon a way to deal with these days of rage & despair. I have to eat and keep going.

  16. 16

    My short story is ready to be submitted in the morning!

    And I’m more than halfway through the paper markup part of novel revision, with only 35 or so significant changes that need made so far.

    And I have I Don’t Like Mondays stuck in my head.

  17. 17
    Josie says:

    Baking is my refuge, unfortunately for my waistline.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:


    For the brief minute I got to see her, she reminded me of Kimberly on TGBBS (they had similar hair). It really sucks for her, but I think Creepy Johnny was in so much of it that they couldn’t just edit him out.

  19. 19
    Emma says:

    OK, open thread, book recommendation. I am a sucker for historical mysteries. Publisher Weekly review alerted me to The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey. It’s set in Bombay in the 1920s, and the protagonist is Bombay’s first woman solicitor (based on two real women whose memoirs just fought themselves to the top of my reading list). The city itself is a character, and the tensions between the different Indian groups and between them and the British are woven into the story without overwhelming the human aspects.

    Now I want to see Malabar Hill in person!

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I need to pack tonight for a daylong story structure seminar I’m going to on Saturday. Technically I didn’t have to stay at the hotel it’s at the night before, but I didn’t want to have to leave the house at 7 am on Saturday morning to get there on time.

  21. 21
    donnah says:

    Betty, that loaf looks perfect! I like to bake yeast white bread from the old Betty Crocker cookbook, but if there’s a time crunch, I bake a super yummy beer bread. The beer provides the yeast and the crust is crisp. I baked a loaf this week to go with homemade navy bean and ham soup. Comfort food!

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mike J: We’ve been making pizzas at home for years! My husband makes the crust — he’s the primary baker in the family. The best thing about our pizza: we roast a head of garlic and spread it on the crust before adding the sauce and toppings. **chef kiss** delizioso!

  23. 23

    @Mnemosyne: fancy. I feel you about spending money to not have to wake up early.

  24. 24
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Mary G: I couldn’t do the kneading anymore but when I got a kitchen aid mixer I found it handled it nicely. I didn’t care for the bread machine product but the mixer did as well as I ever did by hand.

  25. 25

    @donnah: I’m waiting for the Betty Cracker cookbook.

  26. 26
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mike J:

    Once you start baking bread you’re going to start making pizzas .

    According to the previous thread, pizzas go for $50 in Norway. Arbitrage opportunity!

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    Oooo! Rachel is slamming the Trump admin for its frequent misspellings in press releases, commemorative posters, etc. Go girl!

  28. 28
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mary G:

    Steve is the man for no-knead bread! All of his videos are great. Here’s “No-Knead Bread 101.”

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @Gelfling 545: Bread machines and exercise machines are the most sold pieces of junk at yard sales.

  30. 30
    spudgun says:

    Huh, I’ve been doing the same thing! I’ve taken up baking as a hobby to keep the sh!ttiness at bay, but my thing is sweets – cakes, cookies, etc. I’ve never been a very good cook, but I’ve decided I want to get better at it and for me, baking sort of eases me into it. My ultimate goal is a soufflé!

    *nod to BillinGlendaleCA* I, too, have recently joined the Instant Pot cult and I’m looking forward to testing mine out this weekend.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    At a recent tax seminar, the instructor spoke about issues related to the recent legalization of cannabis (the preferred term) in California. It was wild watching a strait-laced CPA talk about buds and leaves, stems, skunk, and how there would be no exise tax on resin scraped out and smoked again (and recycled resin is not a commercially available product).

    Which also brings to mind the question, might we expect some recipes for cannabis edibles to be posted here soon? ;)

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Wake up early to (probably) sit in traffic, to boot, since it’s down by the airport. Not today, Satan!

  33. 33
    MoxieM says:

    That looks awesome! (I love kneading, and miss my humongous butcher block countertop. sigh.) Well done, bread is an art. also, butter!

    ( N.B., My last previous dog would have sold her grandmother for any bread-related product.)

  34. 34
    Origuy says:

    @Steve in the ATL: And they put herring on them.

  35. 35
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Colbert went to town on “Normay” last night.

  36. 36
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Origuy: “now how much would you pay?!”

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:


    Bread machines and exercise machines are the most sold pieces of junk at yard sales.

    Must be due to some kind of knead and jerk reaction.

  38. 38

    @Brachiator: the line at my neighborhood dispensary has been out the door all week and one time around the corner.

  39. 39
    Origuy says:

    @Brachiator: My housemates generally buy the cannabis oil and add it to a brownie mix. I don’t know the proportions.

  40. 40
    frosty says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Arbitrage opportunity!

    I saw this before I read the nym and thought “That’s gotta be Steve in the ATL.”

    ETA: Thanks for the larf.

  41. 41

    @Mnemosyne: satan gets such a bad rap. I am currently debating whether to cut entirely or just severely curtail a scene where this is explained.

    ETA why yes I am a discovery writer, how did you know

  42. 42
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @donnah: Oh, my! Whenever I can I like to bake their 1950’s recipe. My daughter gave me a vintage copy last Christmas. My sister still has my mother’s copy. That was the recipe she always used. When I make myself a sandwich using that bread I’m transported in Proustian fashon back to grade school lunctime and longing for chocolate milk to complete the picture.

  43. 43
    spudgun says:

    @Mary G: @Steeplejack: Also, Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery has a very popular no-knead bread – here’s a link to the recipe in the FTFNYT –

  44. 44
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Betty Cracker: I made my first pizza ever last weekend. I’ve baked bread forever but for some reason never did pizza. It was surprisingly easy & really good.

  45. 45

    Leave it to Donald Trump to suck the breaking news oxygen out of an entire state.

    In Missouri, over the last twenty-two hours:

    Oh, my – part 5

  46. 46
    chris says:

    @Mike J: My BIL makes no-knead bread all the time. So I introduced him to Valentino’s pizza crust and I think he’s gained a few pounds. It makes a fine crust and I can go from zero to cooked pizza in less than an hour. I like to roll it thin and roll up mozzarella in the edges.

  47. 47
    Lyrebird says:

    I’ve never used the pie filter before, but I thought I’d try it out on last thread’s main troll. Love!

    Remember Warrant? That was a good band. Any band with a song about pie knows what’s important.

    Thanks cleek and @Major Major Major Major!

  48. 48
    Brachiator says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    the line at my neighborhood dispensary has been out the door all week and one time around the corner.

    I saw stories about first day crowds. I wasn’t certain whether it had gotten better. The first crazy lines of iPhone sales comes to mind.

    Of course there’s still the slow processing of licenses. It’s crazy, but not as chaotic as it could have been.

  49. 49
    Faithful Lurker says:

    @Mary G: I can’t recommend the NYT (sorry) no knead bread recipe enough, the Cook’s Illus, recipe link above is almost as good but the general idea makes terrific bread, with a wonderful crust with no kneading.

  50. 50
    Aleta says:

    @Michael Bersin: His wife and his spokesppl. are trying to make the story be the affair. The story is him committing a crime.

  51. 51
    Another Scott says:

    @Mary G: I really like our Panasonic bread machine (I think I got ours from the Panasonic online store). It dispenses the yeast separately, and it warms all the ingredients before starting the process, so recipes are very reproducible. I haven’t tried the “rapid” recipe, so it takes 3-4 hours, but that’s fine for us. The “paddle” comes out very easily and doesn’t make a huge extended divot in the loaf (though there is one, of course).

    We had an old Breadman for years that worked ok, but the belt eventually started slipping and making all kinds of racket (especially with whole wheat loafs). The Panasonic is much, much better.

    HTH a little.


  52. 52

    @Brachiator: SF has been slow walking it because of something to do with diversity, but the one by me is open. I went Tuesday at 1pm and it took like a half hour.

  53. 53
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Emerald: Hilarious but suspenseful. Really enjoyed that. If only Oprah could save us.

  54. 54
    Aleta says:

    @donnah: >yeast white bread from the old Betty Crocker cookbook<
    I agree that was a great bread and a simple recipe; my mom used it for years.

  55. 55
    frosty says:

    @Emerald: I don’t like Twitter much because I can never figure out whether to read top to bottom or bottom to top, but that was great. He really got everyone true to … well not life, but at least his plot. I’ll probably never read the next iteration, but I enjoyed this one.

  56. 56
    Bonnie says:

    Yes, bread . . . and butter make everything right with the world. Or, my second favorite toast and butter.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    ( N.B., My last previous dog would have sold her grandmother for any bread-related product.)

    Our youngest cat loves bread, especially fresh sourdough. It’s a little weird for a cat, but AL posited about some of her other characteristics that she may be part Siamese (she has the right body type) and they’re known for having unusual tastes.

  58. 58
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Emma: sounds cool – I’ll look for that one!

  59. 59
    Shana says:

    @Mnemosyne: I hope you brought lots of reading material, cell phone cord, and a good sense of humor.

    I’ve started making challah again, every few weeks instead of buying Zomeks challah at my local Wegmans. Man it’s so good.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I take it that “discovery writer” is the more polite term for “pantser”? 😂


    Kevin & Bean had a famous dispensary owner on and apparently people with established businesses and no violations got priority for licenses. She has apparently been in business in West Hollywood since medical marijuana was legalized.

  61. 61


    There’s been so much breaking on this story (some directly via social media) that we’ve gone through all of our file photos of Greitens (r) (without reusing one in the same day).

    Gov. Eric Greitens (r) has kept old media at a distance, relying a lot on social media. The comments on this in response to his posts over the last day are jaw dropping – a lot of public approbation, but also a lot of right wingnut defense and excuses.

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:


    It wasn’t too bad except for the guy who just couldn’t stop chattering and refused to recognize the universal signal of opening my Kindle. I think he felt sorry for me because I’m still on crutches (hopefully for only a couple more weeks) but, jeez, dude, give it a rest!

    The judge was a hoot. I always like judges who go out of their way to make the jurors comfortable and be sure they understand what’s going on and what the rules are. He had a long conversation about welding with one juror that I realized was to double-check the guy’s comprehension of English since he had a pretty thick accent. But since the juror was able to explain how weld a trailer together (which is his day job), the judge seemed satisfied that he would be able to understand everything, so he stayed.

  63. 63

    @Mnemosyne: I think it mostly refers to how individual scenes/parts are crafted within a (somewhat) outlined work.

    ETA that’s how I see it used mostly at least.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    So it’s like … all fiction writing? 🤔 I don’t know of anyone who writes a rigid outline and sticks to it religiously. The person I know who does the most detailed outlines includes first drafts of actual scenes in it.

  65. 65
    Jay S says:

    @Mary G: This guy has a number of quick (3-4 hour) and easy no knead loaves and some good techniques for handling and baking.

  66. 66
    Jay S says:

    @Steeplejack: @Jay S: Or as Steeplejack said.Same Steve. A good assortment of artisan and sandwich loaves.

  67. 67

    @Mnemosyne: you possess google. I see it used to describe people who leave larger swaths of the work up to a more curatorial free-writing process. To the extreme it can be synonymous with pantser.

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