Well ain’t this a pickle!

I turn my back for a year or two, and look at the state the world gets itself into! Did I not repeatedly say that the precipitous drop in the frequency of home baking could only lead to civilizational decline, mass hysteria and global pandemics? Oh Lord, when will they listen. Happily the sun still rises, the electric oven still works, and WordPress…well I guess that’s another matter.

First, a big apology to everybody for the outages of the last month. Evidently a bevy of new web security standards were introduced in my absence, and not having kept up with them…well, you saw the result. Thank God for the crack IT team here at JP, who came out of retirement to get me up and running again. Ms. B, I am in your debt!

Thanks also to a few of you who tracked me down (via my online alter-egos) to sound the alarm that the baking world was starving without Joe’s Pastry Cream. A few of you even managed to find some of my relatives, fearing that I was dead. I don’t want to know how, I only want to say that, well, that was a little on the weird side. But flattering. I think you all for your concern.

Given the circumstances, and that it seems we’ll all have quite a bit of baking time on our hands these next few weeks (months?), I’m going to stage a sort of limited return. I don’t know what form that will take exactly, though my younger daughter, young Josephine Pastry, is now old enough to be interested in baking, so we may team up on some projects. Who knows?

Meantime I’m around to answer questions where I can, especially pertaining to things like ingredient substitutions,   which we’ll probably all have to contend with, at least in the short-term. So from me to you: stay cool, relax, don’t panic, and let’s get the oven on. I’ll be back with some of my usual typo-riddled posts before much longer. – Joe


52 thoughts on “Well ain’t this a pickle!”

  1. What wonderful news! I discovered your blog after its live days and have been baking from it ever since (your croissants in particular have been in steady rotation). I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to say thanks! Let me offer my belated gratitude for all the great instruction your blog has provided, and express my excitement for what the future might bring.

    1. Hey Hervor!

      Thanks for the note! I have no idea what’s coming next, but it feels good to be doing this again. Now if I can only figure out how to work this updated version of WordPress I’ll be in great shape.



  2. I discovered your place just lastweek my search for donuts brought me here.and I’m so happy already made them twice in one week.i love how you explain everything and give recipe in weight including how long to knead very helpful for us who didn’t go to pastry school and cant tell byfeel or look.thank you sir.

    1. Glad to hear it, Mimi! I make the doughnuts a lot too. They’re sort of a signature thing around here!

      Cheers and thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

  3. Welcome back (hopefully)!

    Your recipes are absolutely my go-to, even more often than Cook’s Illustrated… So I am very excited to see what you may come up with next.

    Wishing you lots of health, happiness, and baking during this uncertain time!

    Katelyn R

    1. Thanks Katelyn! And given what you wrote let me apologize once again for the outage. It was a pain in the neck for me too. The site is the only place I have most of these written down!

      All the best to you and yours!

      – Joe

  4. Oh whew! I can stop searching the Google cached versions! On a side note, I was shocked … SHOCKED that the normally sparsely-visited baking aisle was completely wiped out – nothing left but smears of spilled flour on the shelves. As you say, there’s gonna be a whole new crop of bakers coming out of this. It’s beautiful.

    1. Hey Susan! And yes, isn’t that nuts? I was thinking the same thing at our local Kroger last week. “Who are these new baking enthusiasts and what are they planning on making?” I was particularly struck that while most of the flour was gone, you could still buy just about any pre-packaged muffin or cake mix. So there seems to be some intention here. Exactly what that intention is I hope to find out!

      Thanks for the checking in!

      – Joe

    1. Florin, hello! Your name reminds me of a young fellow I met many years ago in Bucharest, back in the Ceaușescu days, not to get all J. Peterman on you. Florentin was his name. We remained long distance pen-pals for quite a while, before I lost track of him during the revolution.

      Great to meet you, and such a kind comment! I greatly appreciate it. More soon,

      – Joe

      1. Well, I’m a Romanian too 🙂 Ceaușescu days? I was 7 years old at the ’89 revolution.
        There’s just so much information on this blog. Can you believe I once thought about downloading the whole thing, just in case it gets deleted? (I know great blogs that simply disappeared off the radar one day).

        1. I saw the last name and assumed as much, Florin! Yes, I was 19 then, so I think we know where each other stand age-wise! 😉

          But thank you, and do as you wish with the site and its content. I wrote many years ago that I’m happy to consider what’s here to be public domain. I may come to you one day for a copy! 😉



  5. Phew! I came to check your smbc recipe last month and had a bit of a panic!

    I’m very relieved to see it wasn’t permanent though and thank you so much for keeping the site around.
    I definitely have some spare time for a few baking projects now!

    Take care!

    1. Hey Clair!

      I was in a bit of a panic myself. I make my deep dish pizza most every Friday, not to mention various breads for this and that. And when I realized this was the only place where my mother’s famous banana bread recipe is written down, well I practically fell down dead. Happily things are stable now, though there are more kinks to work out. Should I disappear briefly again, don’t worry. I’ll be back.



  6. Lovely seeing a new post of yours popping up in my feedreader. It’s been a while!
    Nice to have you back for a bit Joe.

  7. JOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    After a pretty awful week in the UK, I can’t tell you how excited I am right now! I saw the site was down a couple of weeks ago, and after refreshing and checking back for several days, I sadly concluded the hosting agreement must have lapsed. I was desperately trawling the site archives Wayback Machine until purely by chance, I saw that the site was back last week. And that already felt like a gift.

    But never ever did I expect a new post! I came here just now to get a link to your baguette tutorial for friends who want to make use of a lot of time on their hands + a brand new 10kg bag of flour. And, well, because this site remains a happy place for me.

    I hope you and the Pastry clan are all keeping well and that your local authorities are doing what needs to be done! And how wonderful that your youngest is getting into baking now. I would be *thrilled* to see more posts from you … but no pressure 🙂

    1. JEN!!!!!!!! Me ol’ mate. How are you? Yes, the youngest is addicted to The Great British Baking Show and Zumbo’s Just Desserts. Anything with a non-native accent is seems. But she intends to one day compete. She flatters me by saying things like “you could do that, daddy”. But I know better!

      But thank you yes, we’re all very well and quite likely to stay that way, methinks. So long as we don’t run out of cake flour and eggs. More posting probably tomorrow. The youngest has an inspiration for projects that can be made with a bare minimum of ingredients. I like the idea, it’s quite timely, but I need some inspirations. Any thoughts?

      I’ll be back tomorrow with some suggestions on starting up the home (bunker) bakery. So keep close. I’ll be needing you!

      – J

  8. Hey, good to see you back! Just want to say thanks for your all-whole-wheat bread recipe–best I ever tried, and now the go-to around here.
    Over the next few weeks, with time on my hands, I may try my hand at some fancier stuff, and my first stop will no doubt be your recipes.

    1. Thanks Sue!

      I’ll have to revisit that one myself since I’ve forgotten it. A lot to dust off around here!

      Many thanks,

      – Joe

  9. Well today I lucked out! I just came to you site lookingfor a piroski recipe and see that the prodigal Joe has returned! Good news all around, welcome back!

    1. Thanks Ron! Looking forward to getting things fire up again. Hope the piroshki were good!

      – Joe

  10. We’re so happy to have you back Joe! Even for a limited time.

    Looking forward to having you back in my feed!

  11. I’ve been posting tons of links to your site — everybody wants to be a baker right now. Those who have flour can’t find yeast, and many can’t even find flour. I just posted everything savory/bready of yours that I could find that didn’t involve yeast (including starter). I’m very excited to see you back again!

    1. Hey HH! We’ll see what we can do as far as ideas for stocking the Corona Pantry. And thanks for spreading the word!

      – Joe

    1. Well if JP can be a bit of help, then that’s a good thing. When stuck inside, bake. No?

      Cheers and more soon,


  12. Look what just popped up on my feed!! You’ve been sorely missed Joe. Don’t leave us again or we’ll have to wait for the next global pandemic!

    1. Ha! Thanks Ariel! It might only take a stock market crash or something like that next time. Eh, maybe less disaster than that even. Like maybe our dog runs away or something. I’ll set the bar low, I promise.

      Nice to be in touch again!


  13. Hooray! I think of you gratefully every Dec 13th when we make your Lussekatter recipe. Many other favorites too. So glad you checked in!

    1. Ah yes, those are my daughters’ favorite rolls!

      Thanks for the note and more soon!

      – Joe

  14. You … but … wha … you’re back?! Or am I just having a particularly lucid dream after one too many quarantinis?

    Seriously, not a month goes by — often less — that I don’t tell my wife how much I miss your posts. So glad to have you back, even if it’s temporary and the circumstances are less than ideal.

    1. Alan me pal! So good to hear from you. We’ll see how temporary it is. Maybe not at all. But it feels good to be doing this again. I have a daughter who’s pushing me to get after it, and maybe let her in on the act a bit. Who knows what’ll happen?

      More soon,


  15. Joe! Joe ! Joe !

    OMG you are back!

    You are back!

    I literally squeeled when you popped up in my feedly this week

    Joe is back!

    Now Joe… teaching us sourdough is all well and good but us die hard Joe Pastry fans also need something like a new framboisier recipe too. You know… 13 different stages with tempered chocolate AND mini meringue mushrooms for decoration too. How else will we survive the insanity?

    Puh… Leaaaase !

    Take care bud

    Rick (Previous cultural informant regarding Pavlova and the wonderful snot block)

    1. Rick! Truly great to hear from ya, mate. I think about you every time my younger daughter watches Zumbo’s challenges. I’ll need more from you in future. For instance: sponges. They have a cultural significance down under that I don’t fully understand yet. We must discuss.

      Re; the framboisier…let’s get from A to B before we jump to R, shall we? I haven’t even figured out if I can use my old camera yet. Much to do, much to do…



  16. THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN 2020! Welcome back Joe. Might I ask if we could do bake-alongs? 😀

    1. Let’s not get carried away, Ameya! But thank you. Explain a little more what you mean by a bake-along! I’ve been out of the game for a little while here! 😉

      – Joe

  17. Wow! Took me a few beats when I saw you come up in my feed to realize what was happening. Amazing. Had zero baking mojo in isolation before now, but maybe for you…
    And speaking of Zumbo, now would be a great time for another season to show up on netflix right??

    1. Little Josephine would LOVE more Zumbo. I’ve only seen a couple of the shows, but enough to know that his desserts are WAY strange. But it takes all kinds to make the pastry world go ‘round, no? Anything that gets people excited about baking!

      – Joe

  18. I’m so happy you’re back! I’ve thought about you and wondered how you’re doing, hoping the petit fours (daughters) were well and missing the odd comment about Mrs Pastry. ::settles in:: this is going to be good.

    Thank you for returning. Heartfelt thank you.

    1. Laura G!!

      Great to be in touch again. We’re all doing great. The older of the petits is getting ready to drive. Oh, my head. But I’ve very happy to be here. More as I figure out how to work this updated version of WordPress!

      – Joe

  19. I can’t believe you’re back, and that I’m so lucky to have you still on my blog reader. This happy news will have me and my sister grinning for a week! We thought all this golden recipes were gone forever earlier this week.

    1. Hey Maria!

      I thought the same for a minute or two, but then I remembered that the site is backed up in a few places, so it can’t disappear entirely…or at least I don’t think so! But copy your favorite recipes and print them in the event of disaster. I’m going to so the same! Most of these I don’t have anywhere else!

      Your friend,

      – Joe

  20. Overjoyed that there’s a silver lining to this very dark cloud. So glad to have you back, even for a limited engagement!

    1. Thanks AZ! Speaking for myself, I’m glad to see you pop up again in the comment fields! 😉



  21. I’m so excited you’re back!! (even if it’s a limited time return) I didn’t discover this blog until long after it stopped updating but I’ve been poring over it since then, it’s my baking go-to – thanks for all the great information over the years!

    1. Thanks to you Lynne! I’m having fun. Now if I can only figure out how to edit and upload a photo again, I’ll be firing on all cylinders. Wish me luck!


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