Month: April 2020

Baking Mishaps

Like seemingly half of Twitter, I’ve taken up bread baking during the apocalypse—sourdough, to be specific, because I couldn’t find yeast for the longest time. I started off making the America’s Test Kitchen no-knead sourdough, but I never turned out a great loaf. It always tasted delicious, but it was shaped more like a hockey puck than a nice round loaf.

America’s Test Kitchen is usually bulletproof for me, so I don’t know what was going on with that recipe, but judging by the comments section, I wasn’t alone.

After tweaking the recipe several times and continuing to fail, I moved on to King Arthur’s no-knead sourdough.

Why no-knead? Because I’m lazy. I’ve watched a small mountain of sourdough YouTube videos now, and I didn’t want to invest quite that much time, effort, or equipment. The more hands-off, the better. And the KA recipe delivers on all fronts: the hands-on part doesn’t take too much effort and you don’t need a special proofing basket.

And behold, my first loaf with the new recipe: it’s tall, round, and beautiful.

A golden-brown, nicely rounded boule of sourdough in an enameled cast iron dutch oven.

It’s also 100% stuck to the bottom of the pan. Welded, one might say. Fused, perhaps. The crust and pan have atomically bonded into a new entity never before seen. 😂😭😭

I got it out, but only at great sacrifice. You can’t see it here, because I’ve cleverly hidden the bottom, but zero bottom crust remains on the loaf. But, other than that teeny tiny (terrible) mishap, isn’t it lovely?

The loaf out of the pan on a wire cooling rack, where you can hardly tell the bottom crust is missing.

I’m going to try the recipe again, only this time I’m going to use parchment paper to (hopefully) prevent the stickage. I should’ve used oil this time (instead of the flour I tried), but I didn’t want to have to scrub the residue off the pan.

That plan did not work out like I thought it was going to. 😂

Have you started baking this month? If so, how’s it going? Have you had any mishaps?

Chaos Reigning Chapter Two!

The cover of Chaos Reigning on a background of alien planets.
Preorder Now!
Available May 19, 2020
www.jessiemihalik.com

Time marches ever onward and we’re now just over three weeks away from the release of Chaos Reigning! 😱 Yes, I had to check the calendar twice to ensure that was correct, because it doesn’t seem like May 19 should be here so soon. After March was 1000 years long, it seems like April has flashed by in no time at all.

Putting out a book called Chaos Reigning right now feels like a certain kind of irony. I would prefer a little less chaos in real life, please and thank you. And putting out any book right now feels fraught. Bookstores are closed, gatherings are canceled, and so many people have lost their jobs and are struggling.

But I also think books are super important—as a distraction, as an escape, and just as pure joy in a world that’s not so joyful right now.

And local indie bookstores are just as important, and struggling just as much. Details are still being worked out, but if you preorder CR from one of the indies I’m working with (list coming soon!), you’ll get a signed book plate, bookmark, and button. Here’s a sneak peek at the different book plate designs:

Four different book plate stickers with space backgrounds, a bookmark with the PR, AB, and CR covers on it, and a Badass Space Princess button on a bamboo desk background.

And if you preorder the ebook instead, I’ll send you a bookmark and a sticker (not shown because they haven’t arrived yet).

Hopefully I’ll have more info to share later this week, once the indie stores are sorted, but I wanted to let you know that something was in the works to thank you for supporting me through my very first trilogy! :)

And, as always, if CR isn’t in your budget right now, I totally understand, and I would encourage you to request it from your local library. Many libraries are happy to purchase books requested by patrons, and many libraries also loan out ebooks now, which means you don’t even have to leave your house.

And now for the reason why you’re really here! If you head over to the book page, you’ll find the second chapter of CR waiting for you. Happy reading!

CHAOS REIGNING cover. A woman with dark, curly hair, in a long leather coat, facing left and holding a blaster. The background is an alien landscape with a planet and two moons in the sky and everything is shaded green-blue.

Preorder:
The Ripped Bodice | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | IndieBound

Aurora Blazing eBook on Sale for $1.99!

"Mihalik fills the void for every Star Wars fan who wished the franchise had more kissing." —BookPage.

Aurora Blazing on sale for $1.99!

This is just a quick note to let you know that the Aurora Blazing eBook is on sale for $1.99! I checked US, Canada, and UK, but other international sites may vary. The sale is only scheduled to run for a few days, so don’t wait too long. :)

Get your copy!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | IndieBound

You can also read the first three chapters!

And, if you are signed up for my newsletter, you have a little surprise in your inbox (in addition to the sale notice). Happy whatever day this is! 😂 I hope you all are doing well!

It’s ALIVE!!

We have officially made it through the longest month on record: March 2020, which clocked in at about three lifetimes. I hope you all are doing well and staying home as much as possible.

Austin remains on lockdown, so Dustin and I are both working from home. We try to get out for a run or walk every day (while maintaining appropriate distance from our neighbors), but otherwise we’re at home all day.

So I decided to get a pet.

Probably not the kind you’re thinking.

Behold, my sourdough starter! I’ve nicknamed him Sludge, though Sir Doughy (a recommendation from @WriteByJeannie on Twitter) was a close second.

A quart mason jar half full of sourdough starter on a wooden cutting board on my counter.

Sludge is a vigorous little fellow. I got him from my BFF on Sunday and fed him for the first time yesterday morning. He was still firmly contained when I went to bed last night, but I woke up this morning to this:

A quart mason jar of sourdough starter, with the starter overflowing into the wide, flat bowl it's sitting in.
It’s alllliiiiiiive!

Luckily, Dustin suggested the extra bowl last night, even though the jar wasn’t yet full. Smart fellow, my husband.

We don’t eat much bread usually, but with the longer times between grocery store trips and the desire for comfort food, I’ve taken up baking more often. Yesterday, I made a loaf of Irish soda bread with some leftover buttermilk. It turned out a little misshapen but delicious.

I’m going to try my first loaf of sourdough tonight. I’m starting basic with the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Almost No-Knead Sourdough. I’ve had very good luck with ATK recipes, so I’m hoping this one will deliver, too. I can get more artisanal after I remember how to make bread at all. 😂

If you want your own pet to love, you can create a sourdough starter from flour, water, and time. King Arthur Flour has a good guide.

And if you need a smile today, here’s Samuel L Jackson giving you some excellent advice (warning: language). It should auto-start about 6:10 in, or you can jump there manually.

Stay safe out there!