Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fits and starts and baking bread

Mark just sent me the funny from above. After 2008 we thought we might get a "get out of jail free" card for 2009. I don't think it works that way.
So far for 2009: I lost my keys and a wallet at Lowe's Hardware- good thing was they were turned into lost and found and everything was there.
I glued a round of tiles and the glue did not hold. We figured I must have let the glue freeze or get too cold sitting out on the porch before Christmas- I was going to post on how I do this, but I will wait until I get new glue. I spent last night pulling off the backs I had glued on and scraping away the glue. The good thing was- the tiles were not hung and did not fall off the walls.
I know there are good things going on - I just have a short fuse for the minor things right now.
You get a bit tense after 6 months of not having your space and thinking when will this be over?
But- it has only been 6 months and yesterday we, Mark, hung shop lights and finished putting in the shelving in the redone mix room. We then hung 3 ceiling fans. I am the helper- I put things together, hand tools and hold things.
Then in the afternoon I baked bread.
I stopped to see Tom Gray the other day and had a great chat with him about baking bread.
Between him and my son they have convinced me to throw out some of my "dated" ideas on bread and give these new ones a go.
Oh, my- I am sold. Tom lent me a copy of his book on Artisan breads which I have been reading along with the Bread Bible. So I set to work on an experiment.
I used water, yeast, salt bread flour and wheat flour to make a "sponge" which I set out to rise in a plastic container for about 3 hours. And rise it did- all the way to the top. I folded it down and put it into the refrigerator for the night. The next morning I pulled out a chunk of sticky dough and shaped it into a ball, covered and gave it two hours to rise.
I had preheated the oven to 450 degrees with a pan on the lowest rack.
Well, I knew I needed to water bath so I put water on to boil.
I must have put about 5 cups of water in the pan- because I did not go back and reread the amount to use.
Put the bread in , which I had in a shallow pan.
There was steam pouring out of the oven, which worried Mark. I thought- maybe I had better check the amount- Oh, 1cup water.....
The bread came out with a beautiful golden top, but a tad under done on the bottom.
Note: use different pan.
BUT- the taste was absolutely wonderful.
Moist and Chewy- we sliced it after it cooled and ate 1/2 on the spot.
Yesterday's bread was baked on the bottom of my cast iron skillet with less water.
I use a muffin tin filled with water.
It did not get the same chewy golden top but the inside or "crumb" was again moist and chewy.
Mark, who has been with me since the earth cooled and has eaten a lot of home baked bread in our time together, was ecstatic over the bread. He eats bread several times a day. I have been trying not to eat bread too often. It loves to cling to my thighs. But- yesterday after cutting the bread I thought- what can I give up to eat this bread? Salad maybe?
We had bread and brie for lunch it was tasty!
Time to start another batch.
Thanks Tom- I'll get your book back to you.


Jennie Lorette Keatts said...

Sounds like the recipe for artisan bread from Mother Earth News that I've been baking. 4 ingredients and no kneading! Even I can make really good bread now!

Judy Shreve said...

Your bread sounds wonderful. I got a bread machine for Christmas (Zojrushi) and we have been eating delicious breads since -- I love the give up salad to eat bread idea!

I've mixed up dough to keep in the refrigerator to bake in the artisan style -- yummy!

Sorry for all your early 2009 challenges - you are just getting them out of the way - now the rest of the year will be perfect --

Sister Creek Potter said...

I've made just one batch of the Artisan Bread--we loved it and I'll make another batch today. I put a pan in on a lower shelf when I preheat the oven. Then when I put in the bread I toss a cup of water (out of the tap) into the hot pan--which explodes into wonderful steam. Gave a great crust--on well done bread! Cheers. Gay

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

ecstatic bread! I am thinking of making a fire pit out back with a kiln shelf in it for a little back yard baking this summer....

cookingwithgas said...

Hi all and welcome- yep, it is so simple and so good!
I have the same bread machine- a good choice!
And a little brick oven or fire pit for cooking would be great. I am fumbling with what to cook the bread on. I am going to check out a broken kiln shelf. I cracked my pizza stone- but they are cheap- I could get another one. I have looked at a low cast iron pan or griddle which is a possibility.
What are you all baking on?

Linda Starr said...

I'm so glad you got your wallet back. I've been wanting to make bread for about six months and just haven't motivated myself enough. I bought yeast and have the flour - perhaps this coming week. This artisan bread sounds wonderful.

cookingwithgas said...

hi linda I hope you try this method. I like that you can go back to it.
I am heading to start a batch this morning.
I found this website and recomend the book which I think I am going to buy.