Monday, January 16, 2012

A Baking Resolution: Take 2

The Bread Baker's Apprentice By Peter Reinhart

I meandered over to my blog today, and I guess I've been away longer than I realized. Last post: February, 2011. Ironically, the subject was my new year's resolution to bake more bread. As a human being who has made her share of failed new year's resolutions, I should have known that the simple act of making that resolution meant it would never, ever come to fruition.

I guess I can't blame it entirely on my weak will. Life, as it so often does, has conspired to keep our family busy. We've moved to a new home, and have been surrounded in cardboard and chaos for months.

So here I am, with no resolution. Just bread. I finally baked my first loaves in our new oven. I settled on Ciabatta from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, for its creamy flavor and forgiving, free-form shape. I was working with my own three-year-old apprentice, so I didn't take a lot of photos or record the details of the process. But I was thankful to have the photos and advice from Pinch My Salt's experience with Peter Reinhart's Ciabatta.

It was one of the first truly cold days of winter, and the smell of freshly baked bread filled the house like a long forgotten memory. When it was done we brought it to Nick and Angela's, who had made some-Kansas worthy pulled pork and coleslaw. We sat by the fire and devoured it all, as we critiqued the fashion choices at the Golden Globes. Those poor actresses. Probably haven't eaten a slice of bread in six months.

My own apprentice. Brings equal parts joy and chaos to the kitchen.

Baking Notes:

--Double (double and a half?) the master poolish recipe. It doesn't make as much as is called for in the ciabatta recipe (unless, I suppose, you scrape every last bit off the bottom of the mixing bowl). Second, since poolish keeps for three days, you can make bread twice in one week without too much planning.

--Check bread after the first ten minutes. Could be done.

--This oven is smaller than my old one, thank the kitchen gods. It's easier to preheat, and I think the smaller area allowed the steam method to do it's job. The crust was golden and crackly.

Hippo in Repose? Jabba The Hutt?
Maybe Yeastspotting Will Find Them Beautiful.

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