What was the most difficult challenge that you faced during any bake? And how did you overcome it?
I think the most difficult challenge for me was time. I found that when I was short on time (I work a very demanding job and I have two children and a load of farm critters) – that my baking was rushed and I would make mistakes either in ingredients, instructions or in presentation. The times when I had the time – either because I had a day off or the weather was bad so I wasn’t outdoors – I did great because I was relaxed and things were not rushed.
Which Wisconsin twist were you most proud of, and why?
I like to make my own ingredients in my baked goods. We have quite the "fruit farm" – apples, currants, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries. I also have chickens that provide us fresh eggs, and dry my own lavender and other herbs. Plus, I live in Southwestern Wisconsin – so there are tons of creameries with local cheeses and butters, as well as other local ingredients (like honey and farmers’ markets). My most proud Wisconsin twist was using locally sourced ingredients from my neighbors and local businesses, or my own. I’m not a decorator… so simple ingredients and methods (like a drizzle!) often work best for me.
If you were to draft a baking challenge for Wisconsin bakers, what would you like them all to make? And what would you be looking for if you were the judge?
I’ve actually thought about this! I think that I would like Wisconsin bakers to have a challenges that follow a theme (like Breakfast) – so the challenge would be the "perfect fluffiest biscuits with sausage gravy," or "yeast donuts with fall flavors (apple, pumpkin, pecan, etc.)," or "coffee cake for a crowd," or "malted waffles," "buttermilk pancakes." I also enjoy using local ingredients that are in season, so I may ask the participants to use Swiss chard in a main dish, or eggplant, or even lavender or nettles! I would be looking for their thoughtfulness in their attempt – did they go for what was challenging rather than what was easy, did they use fresh and local ingredients, and did they truly try to make the finished project special vs. ordinary. Usually it’s the thought that counts!
How did you do?
I participated in all 10 Great Wisconsin Baking challenges this summer – I’m a Star Baker!