Search For:

Share This

Kneading bread

Firefighter, entrepreneur cooks to relax in his downtime

Ralph Quillin admits he’s “a pretty decent cook.” But he was surprised when his colleagues in the Lexington Fire Department wanted him to stay with the truck at a fire scene. “They’d say, ‘Hey Ralph, if we have a fire, you stay by the truck; we don’t want the cook hurt.’”

Photo: Patrick ODowd/Ace Magazine

A Lexington native, Quillin moved to a cattle farm that straddles Bourbon and Harrison counties when he married in the early ‘70s. In those days, his firefighter shift gave him 48 hours off after working 24. “You can get into a lot of trouble in 48 hours,” says Quillin, who opened Quillin Leather and Tack in Paris in 1982 with little experience in leather work.  

Inspired by his home-brewing hobby, Quillin purchased and renovated an 1880s Paris storefront and turned it into Rooster Brewing, where food trucks feed the patrons. Food truck owners suggested to Ralph that they collaborate on a restaurant. In 2018, they opened Oscar Diggs in Lexington.  

“Hey, we could do this!” is Quillin’s ready response to many ideas. But when he needs a few minutes of downtime, he makes bread. Then he can say, “for 10 minutes don’t anybody bother me; I’m kneading bread.”

Cooking tips

  • Making yeast bread is easy, but with several periods of dough “rising,” it’s sometimes difficult to fit it into your schedule. You can slow the rising process by covering the bowl or shaped loaves with plastic wrap and refrigerate them several hours or overnight. The dough will rise, but more slowly. When you’re ready, pull it out of the refrigerator and proceed with next steps. 
  • Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour and will tie up more of the liquid in the recipe. If you use all-purpose in this recipe, you may need a little more flour.
  • Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk and gradually get smaller further up the stalk. It’s not uncommon to find a bag of sprouts containing a variety of sprout sizes. For roasting, a sprout nearly walnut-sized should be cut in half.
Share This
Don't Leave! Sign up for Kentucky Living updates ...
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.