Friday, March 15, 2013

Waiting for Spring.......or Breadventures

Tomato plants popping up.
Holy baguette slices
  "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Really, it was in the midst of a heavy March snowstorm a week or so ago that I planted these seeds, hoping for a boost in mood with some signs of spring.

While waiting for the seeds to germinate, I signed up for a class at Craftsy on Artisan Bread Baking with Peter Reinhart, whom I consider my absolute bread baking guru.  Heating the oven to 500 degrees does a lot to warm up the house and rising bread is a good mood lifter.
Every day there was a loaf fermenting in the refrigerator, rising on the counter or baking in the oven, besides dripping with melted butter and adding to my middle. No pics of my middle or the buttered slices which are long gone.


The goal of the class was to make crusty loaves with creamy soft insides full of holes (for the butter).  Most doughs had to be mixed up a day ahead of time.  I found it a relaxing process where I could read, sew or gaze at the snow while the ingredients did their thing.

The baguettes, though very brown, had great crust and lots of holes.
Country Loaf

Next was the Country Loaf which was made from old dough (or dough saved from the previous recipe and fermented in the fridge overnight).  Country dough has a bit of rye and whole wheat flour in it and it had great flavor and a marvelous crust.  This loaf disappeared in a hurry.  It had a few holes, but more crumb than crust.
Inside a Ciabatta

Ah, but the piece de resistance was the ciabatta.  I've made ciabatta before (from the instructor's books) and it was good, but my loaves looked more like cricket bats than the ones in these pictures.  With very wet dough, new shaping techniques from the class and a mix of coarse flours for dusting, I produced these loaves. The insides were very creamy and delicious even without butter. Are you hungry yet?

Ciabattas rising

Well, that's the end of my "Breadventure".  Today, the ciabattas I'm raising will go into a basket with wine for a silent auction tonight for the Lake Association. Tomorrow I'll be baking a yeasted Irish Soda Bread for St. Pat's Day and next week you can find me on the treadmill or the yoga mat trying to get rid of a few pounds.

Wishing you many delicious "Breadventures".
Now, what was I quilting?????



  1. I gained 10 pounds just reading about your Breadadventures! Yum! That Ciabatta looks heavenly - my efforts have never been good for that one. Enjoy every morsel and I will join you on the treadmill. :o)

    1. Pat, thank-you for your comments....I always appreciate your delightful words and I'll think of you on the treadmill.
      Wondering if those 4 patch/ninepatch blocks you're making are going to alternate with the new Dixie Diary block/month?
      Take care and keep up that beautiful hand quilting!!!