Monday, March 2, 2015

Happiness is freshly baked bread (among other things)

     I used my new tangerine Kitchen Aid to mix bread dough this morning.  The recipes from "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" don't really require a mixer with a dough hook as there is no kneading. However, I just wanted to try it out.  It worked very nicely of course. It did require a few minutes to clean up the Kitchen Aid, a step I can skip when I just mix up the dough right in the container.  In the future I will probably save the kitchen aid for occasions when I want to try out a conventional bread recipe.

Pretty enough to be left out on the counter
     I baked two loaves this morning, one for me and one for Liz, my sister-in-law.  They both baked up nicely, but I made minor mistake on the batard loaf.  I forgot to flour the top of the loaf before I made the slices in the top. As a consequence the cuts didn't turn out right and I had a little volcanic bump form in the middle of the loaf.  The boule loaf turned out wonderful. I used the banneton (proofing basket) and it turned out lovely.  I heavily flour the banneton prior to placing the shaped loaf in it to rise so the loaf will come easily out of the banneton onto the baking sheet.  Since the loaf is already heavily floured from that, those cuts worked very well and I ended up with a nicely shaped boule loaf. I baked them for one half hour in a 450 degree oven.  The banneton that Rachel gave me is about 9 1/2 inches across.  I found some smaller 7 1/2 inch bannetons on line. They should be just  the right size for sour dough bread bowls, the perfect containers for Linda's Hungarian mushroom soup or a good clam  chowder.  I also love the spiral pattern the rattan proofing baskets leave on the surface of the loaf.
A lovely little boule loaf

A cross section of the batard loaf, showing a nicely formed crumb

     Linda is leaving in an hour or so on a family history foray to Dayton, Washington. I don't think I will have much time to be lonely while she is gone as I have beekeeping classes three nights a week right now. I enjoy teaching the classes but three nights a week can get to be a bit of a grind. The two classes I teach at the Beez Neez will finish next week. Then it will be just a Monday night class for Snohomish County Extension for a few more weeks. I will also enjoy when the classes are over and I can spend an evening at home once in a while.  That will give me more time for family history research and will also be just in time for the start of baseball season. I'm very much looking forward to the Mariners having a competitive team this year.

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