Friday, March 30, 2007

Lot's Wife Would Have Been Helpful

It's been a while since I posted. I have been making bread, but I've gone down to only once a week and I think I missed a week, so I've only made a loaf of challah and then a regular pan loaf. However, I've learned two very important lessons and figured out one not-so-important thing.

Not-so-important thing: Adding egg to dough makes the final bread's crust somewhat flakey.

Important lesson #1: My breads have been crumbly because I have not kneaded them enough; the dough should stretch when pulled, not rip.

Important lesson #2: Salt. The. Hell. Out. Of. The. Dough. Salt is a breadmaker's friend. Salt is the source of flavor. Salt is the most eternally blessed substance in cooking and it holds even more honored of a place in baking. Salt.

By far, the second lesson is the most important. Also, since the last time I posted, we ran out of the Fleischman's yeast and had to get some more from the co-op. Not only was it a mere one-eighth the price, it has a much stronger and more natural smell and flavor. Huge improvement. I think I might make a poolish and some French bread for Easter. Whatever, we'll see.

On another note, the weather is about as perfect as a human could possibly hope for. Namely, to go outside is no longer to risk death.



Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Fookken' Shite

In a break from my usual bread-based posts, I just want to say that Nottingham Forest have really let me down this season. They led League 1 for most of the year, and then slumped, and now they've lost 0-1 at the City ground, which makes their bid that much more difficult (they hold onto second by one point, but they're behind in goal differential). If this team fails to win promotion, I will be so livid, I just might fly to Notts and beat the fookken' shite out of every last one of the Garibaldis.

To bring it back to bread for a moment, I made boiled wheat berries today for lunch, with raisins and chopped walnuts, and goat's milk. It was quite delicious, hardy, and not nearly as filling as I'd hoped (maybe if I'd had breakfast, it would have gone farther).

Monday, March 5, 2007

Bread Revisited

My idyllic loaf of last night, on further eating, held up to the high standard I'd set for it. The pastry flour made it so the crumb barely held together and I'd put salt on the top of the loaf, which was maybe a little over the top, but the flavor and feel of the bread are divine, as I said last night. It's only up from here, I hope.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


I took Wednesday off from breadmaking. I don't really know why and I think it was probably a mistake, but it happened. However, I did make a loaf today and, to shroud it in fog, I did it. I did it today, for the first time, and certainly not the last.

What I did, in the step by step and rather boring way I've come to tell you, was simply this: I poured a smaller amount of hot water than usual over brown sugar, covered the top of the liquid with yeast (no idea how much I used, none at all), and after ten minutes I started adding flour. Mostly, it was whole wheat pastry flour, which Peter informs me does not have as much gluten and is not from the usual red wheat. At any rate, that's what I did, adding between three and four cups. I also salted the hell out of the dough and added more than a tablespoon of oil. I might have only added two to three cups of flour; I don't know how much measure my hands hold. I kneaded it until it was the way it should be, then I let it rise once, took it out, set the oven to 375F, formed it into a long loaf by rolling it lengthwise, placed it in a loaf pan and salted the top. It was very small in the loaf pan. I let it rise during the preheat, scored it thrice, and then baked it for maybe forty minutes, maybe less.

But what I DID was create heaven. The salt finally brought out the full wheat flavor and the pastry flour does have a better taste (Peter does know bread). I'm not even going to try to describe this loaf. Everything about it is perfect and I don't even know why I continue to exist after creating such a wonderful delicacy. It's tempting to view this as proof that I am a god, but of course that would just be ridiculous. The bread was not just good, the bread was divine.