Girl Versus Dough
Stephanie is a writer and self-taught baker. And on Girl Versus Dough, she shares her love of baking bread, and recipes to keep us eating well from breakfast to dinner. She has also written an eCookbook called Quick Bread Love.
I am so pumped to have Stephanie Wise of Girl Versus Dough, here on the show today.
(*All photos below are Stephanie’s.)
On Her Blog:
Back in 2009, so it’s almost six years, which is really long in blogging world, I had just gotten married and actually just graduated college. My background is in journalism, so I was looking for a job as a reporter, and just couldn’t find anything that was a good fit.
I had two things that I really enjoyed doing. I liked writing and I really liked baking. And so my husband was like, “Why don’t you do a blog?” And I was like, “I don’t really know this whole blogging thing.” But I started it and it was a hobby at the time, and turned into a lot more. But that’s how it got started.
Initially, I wanted to write just straight news articles or feature stories, food was never a thought that I had at the time.
I can’t really imagine myself writing about anything else at this point. That’s where my passion is. I am just so inspired every time that I write about food. I feel like I can write about it forever.
On Her Interest in Food and Baking:
I grew up in a family that loves cooking and baking. I didn’t always participate in that. I participated in the eating part, but not the preparation. And then in high school and in college, I would bake for fun, but it was mostly boxed mixes or packaged food.
I think when I got married, I realized, “Oh, I should probably learn how to make a meal. We’re going to be living on our own, we should probably figure this out.” It developed as a hobby for me a little bit before I started the blog.
On Baking Bread:
I don’t even remember why I thought, “Oh, I should do this.” Of all the things, I think I wanted a challenge, and I knew I’d never baked any kind of bread before. I baked quick breads and muffins, and that kind of thing. So I thought, “Why don’t I just chronicle my adventures in that and see how it goes?”
It was rough to begin with, I’ll admit, the early days, which are still posted on the Internet for everyone to see. It was hard, but I feel like I’ve come a long way, and I obviously still have so much more to learn. It’s been a fun adventure to learn that type of food.
I think it really just comes down to trying it. For me, I found that practice makes perfect, especially with yeast bread. There are going to be fails. Something will happen. That’s just the nature of it.
When you practice, you start getting the feel of the dough. You know, like, “This is what pretzel dough is supposed to feel like. This is what a pizza dough is supposed to feel like.” I think there’s an excitement that comes from that, when you finally figure it out and you have the end product and it tastes delicious.
I hope that people can see that on my blog and in my recipes, that I am completely self-taught. I just do this in my kitchen for fun, and I’ve been able to make some great tasting bread. And I think anyone can do that.
For me, pretzel dough is really, really easy. That one, you really get to know the feel of it quickly. And even if it doesn’t rise well, the end result ends up being delicious. It’s a pretzel, obviously. I think pizza dough is, too. I really love Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough. That makes some of the best pizza dough you’ll ever taste, and it’s so easy.
On Some Good Resources to Learn More about Baking Bread:
The first book that I started looking through was The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I really love that book still. She’s very specific but it’s so very approachable and readable. Every recipe I’ve made in that book has been successful.
The other book that I really love is Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, for the same reasons. He’s very specific, but the recipes are very simple and straight forward.
I’d say for any beginner, those two books would be perfect.
On Her eCookbook, Quick Bread Love:
It’s got a little more than 30 recipes of quick breads, muffins, scones, biscuits, and coffee cakes.
It started as an experiment. I had a designer friend who was interested in putting together an eCookbook, and I was interested in creating recipes for it, so we collaborated. I think it was over the course of four months last year that I just crunched out a bunch of quick breads in my kitchen.
My husband still probably won’t eat a muffin, because I made him taste test everything. It was a really fun experience, and it’s gotten really good feedback from people who bought it.
I think quick bread is not only one of my favorite types of bread to bake, but it’s very easy. That’s a really good gateway into more baking. It’s nice because I actually put together a couple of pages of baking tips in the eCookbook, too, that I think are helpful for people.
On Being Flexitarian:
It’s kind of like the Wikipedia term for how we eat. It’s really not a hard and fast rule, but we just try to be mindful of where our food comes from, specifically meat and animal products. And for us, it just means trying to buy local beef or cage free eggs, that kind of thing. We’re not perfect about it by any means, but we just try to be aware of where our food comes from. And we try not to eat meat too often.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
Well, we don’t have cable but whenever I’m at my parents’ house, they have cable. And I really love watching the Food Network.
I’d say specifically Ina Garten’s show is my favorite. I could watch that all day, every day.
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
I follow like 200 blogs. I have some really good friends in the food blogging world and they’re actually some of my favorite blogs too.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook that make you happy?
That’s a good question. I really love following Sarah Kieffer. She’s of The Vanilla Bean Blog, and on Pinterest, and Instagram. She takes really good photos, and I just really like the way that she curates the things that she pins on Pinterest. It’s just really pretty.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
I’d say the most treasured item I have is my stand mixer, not only because I love my stand mixer; I use it for everything. But my late grandfather gifted it to me, and so it reminds me of him. So I really like that one.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
Mushrooms. I used to hate mushrooms and now I love them. There are still some mushrooms that I’m a little weird about but mostly I love them now.
What are a few cookbooks that make your life better?
I love the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. That one has probably food stains all over it because I’ve cooked out of it so much, and just everything is so rich and flavorful, and easy to make too.
I really like the book Home Made. It’s a little bit more challenging, I think, or just the ingredients are a little more unique, but I like that. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a little bit of a challenge.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
That’s a good question. I really love listening to the Bon Iver station on Pandora. I’m always in the mood to listen to that, and I really like listening to that when I’m cooking.
On Keeping Posted with Stephanie: