Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Still perfecting the basic breads :(

I just made the most delicious rosemary boule - but had higher hopes for the texture than what I got. It was very moist and chewy with incredible flavor and a perfect crust; however, I had thought the texture would have much larger holes in it.

The dough is a basic boule from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. I mixed the dough yesterday afternoon. Forming the loaf very gently, I spent no more than 15 seconds handling it that evening. After covering it lightly with plastic wrap, I refrigerated it about 11 hours. When the oven was ready this morning, I took the loaf out and slashed it, and baked it immediately with steam for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.

I had heard that giving it a refrigerator rise would boost the 'oven spring' but this did not seem to noticeably affect my results.

How do I make a loaf with the really coarse texture I love in the Italian restaurants???

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Edible Art

In one of those unpredictable creative moments which seem to occur for me whenever I should be doing something urgent (like packing a suitcase for a 6 a.m. departure tomorrow!), I decided to make a festive treat for my 8 neices and nephews who will celebrate Thanksgiving with us this year.
I used three full batches of rice krispie treats to make it, so hopefully it will survive at least a few minutes in the inevitable feeding frenzy that occurs when we are all together!
We have so much to be thankful for. Wishing you a beautiful time of realizing your blessings and sharing love with friends and family. Happpy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Grand Announcement

I am proud and excited to announce that I will be a Grandma in May 2009!!! So I am working on a culinary creation that will represent the new role I will have in a few months.....Stay tuned....! :)

6 wk

13 wk

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More Happy Bread Today!

Mmmm... I just love the smell of the yeast and of the bread baking! How much fun to bake a loaf that turns out beautiful as well!

My technique on this one still needs tweaking, but it's much better than last time:

Here is a photo of the Deli Rye I made last week--just a handy small loaf for a couple of days of fragrant slices and hearty sandwiches:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pain d'Epi

I have been anticipating this experiment from the moment I saw the cookbook: the beautiful Pain d'Epi (wheat stalk) bread! It uses the basic boule dough and I am assured by the authors that it is quite simple to make, with impressive results! Having devoured more than my share of the free form loaves of the boule recipe, I know the bread would be delicious as well. However, nothing about the look of the Pain d' Epi looks like it would be simple to create, so I was very intimidated.

After my first attempt to get this creation into the oven, I realized my sense of intimidation was totally justified--the dough started sliding as planned onto my hot bread stone and then, inexplicably, flipped itself over completely and I had to bake it upside down! Here is the result after 20 minutes:

I have to say that the bread is delicious--it was a struggle to get a photo before I took a bite (notice where I broke the end off on the left and had to set it back to pose!) If not for the odd configuration I would have no problem serving this bread to anyone who loves a good crusty French loaf.

HOWEVER.....my whole goal was to make a loaf of bread that none of my friends or family have ever seen the likes of ...to totally blow them away with my skill and aplomb.....so my next attempt is now in the oven, having had a much more uneventful trip onto the baking stone.

Okay -- here is the second loaf -- I must say it is less than beautiful; I guess I need to experiment with the angle of the blade when I snip the sections.

Somehow, it doesn't look much like the photo in the cookbook, but it is still AWESOMELY GOOD!! Live and learn. I still have one more ball of dough calling me from the refrigerator...

....1 hour later....

How embarrassing. I believe this 3rd attempt is closer to the first disaster (Pain d' Neck????) than the next try. It isn't a Wheat Stalk, it's just a lumpy baguette!

I hope I have the courage to try this again...someday....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whole Wheat

Ah, hello again....it has been a long time, many baking experiments undocumented!

I have just taken my first loaf of 100% whole wheat bread out of the oven, made in the No-Knead method from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". Here it is, uncut, since it is still hot:
I think it looks rather unimpressive, with a lumpy top as though it is a batter bread, and rather 'brick-like' ! It smells heavenly, though. Soon ( but not soon enough!) I will cut it and take a taste!
Okay, now here is the cooled bread, cut so that I can examine the crumb..

Hard to tell, although it looks to be cake-ey, less like bread than I'd like. Tasting.....Mmmmm.....
It tastes quite good, not bitter like some, nice nutty flavor. I think it will hold up in a sandwich but it may crumble--overall I think it is ok. I'm not sure what I was expecting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Very First Entry as a Blogger

Welcome to my blog!

Here is a photo of my 2nd loaf of light whole wheat peasant bread which formerly appeared more like a baking basketball!

Fortunately it settled down as it cooled and did not roll away; however, I think the bottom edge would have baked better if it had hugged the hot baking stone a bit more solidly while it baked.

Many thanks to Zoe and Jeff for the wonderful cookbook they created, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day---It is a delight!