So . . . I don’t know why I think the world needs yet another blog, but here goes.  THE LOVIN OVEN is meant to be a chronicle of my baking ventures–most of which will arise as I bake my way through THE ART AND SOUL OF BAKING by Sur la table and Cindy Mushet.

No, no, I’m not going to cook my way through a Julia Child book–that’s cooking, and I’m into baking.  Huge difference.

After a few great pages of baking basics, the authors begin with the staff of life: BREAD.  Everybody ready?

I began baking some months ago with cupcakes–I thought it’d be fun to bake theme cupcakes for my monthly book club.  Then that transferred to pies and cakes, then to bread, then I took a bread class and a pastry class.  and all the while I’ve been getting cookbooks and making things–some turned out great, some we’d rather not talk about.

And last night, as I looked at a loaf of chocolate bread that didn’t quite smell or look as luscious as I wanted it to, I decided that I needed a more disciplined approach.  It’s the only way I’ll be able to tell if it’s ME that’s at fault, or if it’s just not a good recipe.

So–as I have time, I’m going to be baking my way through THE ART AND SOUL OF BAKING.  Why this book instead of AMY’S BREAD, or FLOUR, or Sarabeth’s, or any of the other wonderful cookbooks out there?

Because THE ART AND SOUL OF BAKING is as close to a baking textbook as I’ve seen.  It lists all the common ingredients, tools, and terms, and patiently explains what they mean and why they’re important in the baking business.

Since I’ve invested a lot of time (and money, now–I go through a LOT of flour) in baking, I decided to set my next book in a bakery–The Lovin’ Oven Bakery, to be precise.  So don’t be surprised if some of my characters decide to pop in.

One note:  because I want to be respectful of copyright, I won’t be posting word-for-word recipes, though I will share the source on this blog.  (Or, if I find it online, I’ll post a link).  Along with lots of photos–I do hope you’ll join me in this baking adventure! It’ll be fun, I promise!

I’d love to see photos of your victories and your oopsies.  🙂   I’ll share mine!

So:  if you want to join us, you’ll need a copy of THE ART AND SOUL OF BAKING.   (Buy it used–much cheaper).  By the way, Sur la Table is a very reasonable site for bakeware, etc.  🙂   Even if you don’t want to “bake along” with us, I hope you’ll check in a couple of times a week to see what we’re up to.  I know it’s going to take me several months to get this book up, going, and gone, so we’ll be here a while.

Sort of what a brioche should look like. 
What my brioche looked like. 

And now, for comic relief, I’ll leave you with some pictures of my brioche–which are supposed to look like a muffin with a little ball on top.  LOL!  I learn best by trial and error.

So–what is the thing (or two things) that you’ve always wanted to bake but never thought you could? Pastry swans? Eclairs? Multi-story cakes?  Do tell!



  1. darien

    oh, I’m going to enjoy reading these adventures! I have dreams of making lovely tarts…but I do not do well at the crust part.

  2. Mocha with Linda

    Oh what fun! I love to bake but haven’t done it much in a while because we don’t need to be eating what I bake. 🙂

    I am pretty comfortable baking a variety of things, but things that are hugely artistic and have a massive amount of steps definitely intimidate me. My pies definitely have the “comfort food” look – they aren’t hideous but they’ll never be in a Sur la Table or Southern Living photo shoot!

    And finishing touches. I’ve never been able to master the whole chocolate shaves, curls, leaves, etc.

  3. Kay Day

    I can bake cookies, and I used to do a pretty good pie crust. But anything else doesn’t come out so well. My cakes taste alright, but they don’t look so good. I like to blame the altitude.
    I’m not going to join you for this event, but I’ll cheer from the sidelines!

  4. k_stin

    So fun! I love the title of the blog! I read a book this summer called The Matchmaker of Perigord, which involved some scenes in a bakery. One afternoon after reading it for quite awhile, I had to run to the store and buy different kinds of bakery. I’m not telling how many I ate that afternoon.

  5. Mark Young

    Best wishes on this new effort, Angie. I will pass this on to my better half. She loves to cook. Me … bit out of my comfort zone since my time is spent hobnobbing with cops and crooks, and other fictional troublemakers. Wait a minute. What about a story about a killer baker. H’mm. Maybe I’d better follow this blog too.

  6. Pamela J

    I’m up for the most simple, the most fast way to get a cooking job complete so I can be elsewhere than the kitchen. Now, you wonder why I try to stay out of the kitchen? Occasionally I see a recipe that I have all the ingredients for and actually get up gumption to try it. Usually most things I try flop or swell enough to flow over the sides and I generally throw my hands up and say, “Oh well, it will still taste good.”. I may learn MUCH here so am looking forward to seeing good stuff come through.
    What have I wanted to bake but didn’t think I could? My mind is blank at the moment: mostly because I have tried, have conquered, and have eaten though it didn’t look right. Hmmm…

  7. Suzanne

    Cinnamon rolls. I want to make luscious cinnamon rolls.

  8. Angela

    Suzanne, you are in LUCK! Stay tuned.

  9. Suzanne

    Okay, Angie. I will sit here and wait for them 🙂

  10. Suzanne

    Oh! And I have a cooking blog too:


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