Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cherry Preserves

Lately, I start my Saturdays with canning and bread baking.

Homemade Bread & Jam
I used to avoid these activities because I thought they would take too much time. I’d been in the habit of making easy, tasty recipes that required little effort or planning. Somehow i’d forgotten that in many cases, the harder you work, the more satisfying the finished product is (a concept that applies to more than cooking). After a few weeks of canning, i’ve grown increasingly attached to my small collection of jams and preserves- so much so that I get a little sad when my husband polishes off a jar.
Homemade bread and jam
Here’s how my current canning schedule works: On Thursdays, I buy fruit that looks good. If i’m not going to can in the next few days, I prep and freeze it. I pick a recipe from my growing pile of canning books and go to the store for supplementary ingredients (jars, lemons, etc). On Saturday morning, I wake up, eat breakfast, do some small batch canning, then make bread. While the bread is rising and baking, I clean up the apartment. When the bread’s done, I keep one loaf for eating and freeze the other. It’s really satisfying. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and it seems like a luxury to have a selection of homemade breads and jams to choose from. Lately i’ve been eating yogurt mixed with peach-vanilla preserves, with toasted almonds on top.

This recipe for rhubarb, strawberry & cherry preserves is my favorite so far. It’s not too sweet and the fruit doesn’t completely disintegrate. The texture was perfect: juicy and just set enough to not run off your toast. I’m hoping to make it again, but I fear our strawberry season is pretty much over 🙁
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This weekend, I made brioche. I made the dough with help from a friend. We discovered, belatedly, that it was a two day affair, so I shaped and proofed the loaves the following day. After a few hours in the hot, humid Alabama weather on my porch, they looked like this:

Proofed Brioche
I slipped both pans into the oven and stayed in the kitchen to watch them bake. I keep a little Ikea footstool near the dishwasher- primarily for reaching high-up baking pans, but also for sitting on and watching what’s happening in the oven.
My favorite show.
If your entire apartment smelled like fresh baked brioche, you’d be this happy too.

Best seat in the house.
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