Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baking Through My Days

I recently purchased The Bread Baker's Apprentice and have been greatly inspired by it. I was going to get the hardback version but with the eBook I can read it on my Kindle or browse it through the computer which is very convenient. It's especially useful when searching for specific terms. I came across the book as I investigated recipes for bagels and other bread items. It seemed that many people had used the book to make delicious looking breads. Most of the time, however, the recipes weren't posted online. I finally broke down and paid for the book. I'm glad I did. Many people work through the recipes one by one. I'm going to do the same.

The first bread up was Anadama bread. I made this Thursday evening after school. It's a simple sandwich loaf type bread that makes use of a cornmeal soaker. You leave cornmeal in a water overnight and add it into the dough the following day. This gives the final bread a bit of grit to it.

Anadama Bread Loaves

I greatly appreciated the texture of the bread. It was how home made bread should be. Most of the bread loaves I buy at the store are very processed and soft white breads. I don't mind too much but having a real piece of bread was very satisfying. I wish my oven was a little better at browning things but I make do as best I can. The only thing missing from the recipe was molasses which I substituted with maple syrup. I'm not sure how much different it would end up with the former.

Anadama Bread Crumb

I ate both of those loaves already. It's very dangerous having bread around here. I can't stop eating it.

On Friday evening I prepared a poolish for a loaf of Greek Celebration bread. The poolish is a 107% hydrated flour and yeast combination that is left out for 3-4 hours. Then it is refrigerated until a hour before intended use. Bread baking is a relatively time consuming process. There is a lot of wait time involved for different variations. Yet, longer wait time usually leads to better developed flavors. The Greek Celebration bread is a large bread ball. It has nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon in it that add to the end flavor. Here is the dough ball before baking.

Greek Celebration Dough

After baking for about 40 minutes (wish it was darker brown but oh well) I coated the outside with a water, sugar, and honey glaze. Some people online disliked this element but I think it compliments the the taste of the bread quite well.

Greek Celebration Bread

After a good 1 hour cooling period here is what the loaf looked like sliced.

Greek Celebration Bread Slice

This is a wonderful loaf of bread. I really like the spices in it. I'll make this again come Christmas time and incorporate in fruit pieces or nuts. There are a number of variations this bread could take so I will have to see what I feel like doing. I wish I could share it with you.

Somehow in the process of making bread I also made a cheesecake. I spent the better portion of the day messing around in the kitchen doing various things. A good 5 or 6 hours probably. I also made brownies last night. I think I've almost gotten close to a recipe that is similar to the Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie box mix. The the surface of the brownies weren't flaky or crispy which bothers me. That is the main thing preventing these from being a great success. Perhaps a slightly lower cook time is necessary. More experimenting to come.

I think I might make a good husband someday. Just maybe.


Dad said...

At least a great cook. The bread looks awesome. I understand eating two loaves already.

Mom said...

Bread looks so inviting. Wishing Dad and I could share some with you. I keep thinking of Jesus, the Bread of Life. May He bring Life and feed you what you need when you need it every day. On another note, what do you mean "might make a ...."??? You will be the best! Miss you! Love you much!

yoko said...

美味しそう!!i wish i could have some of all things you made!

Mom said...

I'm hungry for some of your bread right now!

blaine said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Yoko! You are alive. Yay.

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