Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
with little herbed hamburger patties, and arugula salad. Potato salad is shaping up to be my dish of the summer. Last night's had some tarragon in it, which really came into its own this morning, after sitting in the fridge over night. I'm having it for lunch today and can hardly wait.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I'm not sure if books are the kind of thing we talk about here anymore, but in case anyone's wondering I am in a deep Coetzee phase. In the last two months I've read Summertime, Disgrace, Foe, and The Master of Petersburg; I'm reading Elizabeth Costello now. I am wholly absorbed, can't, it seems, get enough. He can do anything he wants with me once he starts.
These are from Local Breads. If I have to quibble with bread this delicious, it would be to say that I prefer a higher percentage of rye and whole wheat flours than these called for. But seriously, why am I quibbling? There's nothing not to like here. For one thing, these babies had oven spring to spare. They laughed in the face of my wee slashes and almost burst themselves in half as they rose in the oven. I attribute this muscle to my use of bread flour; up until now I've been using all-purpose. I'm a convert.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Definitely a life lesson here. This bread looks nothing like the bread described in my book, and no stage of its preparation went as predicted, and I suffered great frustration along the way, and when I went ahead and baked it I came up with one of the best pieces of bread I've ever tasted. I'm beginning to understand that there are not many ways to mess up bread made from a levain. The picture does not do justice to the opalescence of the bread's chewy interior.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. It is extremely delicious, mainly, I think, because I used rice vinegar which doesn't really taste like vinegar to me (not that I dislike vinegar). We had it with sauteed cauliflower and steamed broccoli from our local farmer's market. Super yum.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Or as I affectionately think of them, "li'l buckwheat bastards." My second recipe from Local Bread. These are just as good as they look, and particularly gratifying because the omens during their making were so uniformly unpropitious (insufficient water, texture not at all as described in the book, dubious rising of the levain). I was cheered a little bit when I realized that the recipe itself had some significant errata, so the difference between my dough and the one it described was inevitable. Two things on which I did make progress this time were proofing (I didn't overproof) and slashing (I used a razor blade and boy, does a truly sharp blade ever make a difference.)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Voila, my first recipe from Local Bread. It involves commercial yeast and a little bit of corn flour, plus a long refrigeration of the proofed dough, called "retarding." If only someone had asked me what I was doing yesterday I could have answered, "retarding the flutes!" In any case, they are terrific. Very delicious, with a crust so deep and strong and crisp-yet-chewy that my jaw ached as I finished my first bites. True, they are oddly shaped; I blame over-proofing, a too-cool oven, and a not-perfectly-sharp dough scorer. I can fix these things, and in the mean time, will enjoy this bread.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Well, this is a revelation. This is a delicious little loaf of bread; chewy, moist, wheaty with just a touch of sourness. And nothing in it but flour, water, salt (not quite enough, I think), and time! I followed the recipe and instructions in the Bread Bible, and used my stiff starter. I feel I have crossed a threshold.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The first fruit of my starter! I made Marion Cunningham's Raised Waffles, from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Cake Bible, using some of my starter instead of yeast. (I also replaced about half of the all-purpose flour with rye flour). These waffles are extraordinary; their surface is as delicate and crisp as the best tempura you've ever had, the interiors moist and light as a feather. They have a mild sour flavor, though might not have if I'd used any sugar. I thought they were just about perfect with a little maple syrup. Tomorrow I'll make my first starter-leavened bread; I am encouraged.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
What we are looking at here is a starter that has doubled in bulk a few hours after feeding and that, my friends, spells success. I'm baking with it tomorrow and we'll see what's next. The container comes from the paint section of Home Depot, which is appropriate because the starter smells exactly like fresh paint.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It's a shame I can't post this picture in Smell-O-Vision, because if I could you'd know this incredible fact: both batches of starter smell exactly like sourdough bread! Unfortunately, they aren't growing in volume at all. So what the heck is up? My awful-smelling starter rose like it was supposed to; my wonderful-smelling starter seems to have no rising mojo at all. I'm just going to keep feeding it and hope for the best.