My Big Fat Italian Bread

What’s not to love about a big old woodfired loaf of bread? The first time I saw a Pain Poilâne, I wanted to sink my teeth right into its yeasty innards and let the smell of smoke waft into my brain. And that big crusty miche on the cover of Peter Reinhart’s book? Okay, it’s [...]

Crusty Artisan Loaves from Chez Bullhog

For at least as long as the Salad Queen and I have been married, we’ve been working to create the perfect bread to grace our family table. Over the years, those loaves have morphed from long-fermented ones that always seem to flatten out on the bottom to high-rising smoky loaves from the woodfired oven that [...]

Don's Woodfired Sourdough Bread

My daughter’s friend opened our fridge the other day and let out a shriek. ‘What the heck is this?’ She held out a plastic tub crusted on the rim with what looked like pancake batter. A thin puddle of dark liquid covered its doughy contents.

‘Whoa, careful,’ I said, taking it gingerly from her hands and putting the lid back on. ‘That’s my favorite starter, made with wild huckleberries. It makes great bread. At least, it does when it wants [...]

Catcher in the Rye Bread

I was trying to shut out the buzz at the table when I realized my dad was talking to me. Just to humor him I listened to his dumb old story about going to a deli about a hundred years ago. They probably had cool things like cars with big fins and transistor radios and [...]

Bialystok Rolls crusted with Salted Onion and Poppy Seeds

This is about a tasty roll that was nearly lost to history.

Around a hundred years ago in Poland’s largest northern city, Bialy culture took over in a mad rush, flamed, and went out. You could buy one of these rolls – with their signature oniony middles – from any of a hundred places in the [...]

Old World Alpine Loaves

Southeast of Grenoble the D1091 climbs quickly into the forest of  Rioupéroux, on the western slopes of the French Alps. Called alternately the Route de l’Oisans or the Route des Alpes, the road is a notorious feature of the Tour du France and – as any avid cyclist will tell you – a real bugger [...]

Roman Style Sandwich Rolls

The rain cleaned the cobbles in the night, giving way to a fresh mist which hung lightly over the slow-moving Tiber. A man with the only gas-powered leaf blower we’d ever seen in Italy blew damp leaves down the stairway beside the Ponte Mazzini, rousing the sleeping gypsies who live under the bridge. As we [...]

Days of Bread and Apple Butter

We’re making apple butter this week at Chez Bullhog. The house smells of October: sweet and cinnamony with bright apple overtures and a background of toffee. To complete the effect, a faint haze of smoke hangs in the air, tinged with the smell of home baked bread. That sweet smoke coming from the woodfired oven [...]

Flaming Good Bagels

I was 14, a boy from the great West Philadelphia suburbs, when my parents announced one glorious spring afternoon that we were going downtown to Super Sunday.  As a family, we never went downtown. Certainly not for a fair. It was such an unusual event that I remember it well.

But it was there, under the [...]

Woodfired Soft Pretzels

I left the East Coast 30 years ago and, except for sporadic family visits, I’ve hardly been back since. The man can leave the East Coast but the East Coast doesn’t leave the man. One yearns for corner delis with fistfuls of amazing sandwiches, serious pizzas from pizza joints whose recipes have bridged generations. And [...]

Welcome Aboard

At, Sortachef takes you on adventures in the kitchen and beyond, with tales to suit. Many of his offerings are woodfired - a flaming good recipe for pizza, bread, or something different. All recipes are original and tasty. Enjoy!
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