Sunday, November 29, 2009

all mixed up

another bread baking day is upon us, #24 in fact. this month's challenge was to bake a mixed bread; in other words, use more than one type of flour to make the bread. not a difficult thing to do, every market has a few different flours to choose from. the difficulty comes in which flours to choose-oh the endless possibilities...what's a baker to do? earlier this summer, i made a grape starter for bread and i have been using it on a regular basis and that is where i decided to start. next it was the flour choice and to do this, i went to the fridge. it seems that i have been collecting flours of all kinds and i had plenty to work with!

the first loaf was a combination of bread flour and semolina flour. it made a nice loaf with a slight yellow hue. it was delicious with salads and hummus.

in my flour collection, have a nice variety of corn meal/flour. organic blue corn meal, corn meal masa for tortillas and a roasted yellow cornmeal are just some of them. blue corn meal is one of my favorite things to bake with and i have used it in things ranging from biscotti to corn bread to a spiced caked so bread seemed like a natural choice. however, i decided to take it one step farther by combining the three together in the loaf of bread.

once again, i used my trusty grape starter and the result was a lovely loaf with a slight crunch and a slight red/purple hue.

generally, i do not post recipes on my blog. as a cookbook author, i know all about the consequences of people giving away your recipes and the lack of royalties. most importantly, i know that many people do not give proper credit when posting recipes. i have seen my name mispelled and my co-authors name omitted completely. since i have had such success with this recipe, i will post it and hope that others will enjoy it as i have.

Sourdough Bread
adapted from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri

1 cup water
1 cup starter-any kind
2 cups bread flour-can substitute as much as 1 cup of another flour
combine in a bowl and cover it. allow it to sit and ferment for at least 8 hours and as long as 36 hours at room temperature.

to the sponge, add:
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups to 1-3/4 cups bread flour
mix together and turn out onto a floured surface. knead the dough by hand adding flour as needed for at least 5 minutes and up to 10 minutes. place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it and allow it to rise until doubled, at least one hour.

preheat the oven and baking stone if you have one to 500 F. at this time, place a baking pan in the bottom oven if you want to have steam during the baking process. turn the dough out of the bowl and shape it into a tight ball. place the dough, seam side up, in a floured basket or a cloth lined bowl that is also floured and allow it to rise until doubled-about an hour. turn the loaf onto a pan or a bread peel that is sprinkled with cornmeal. place the bread in the oven, toss some ice cubes on to the pan, reduce the heat to 450F and bake for 20 minutes. reduce the heat again to 350F and bake until a thermometer reads about 210F, this could take 20 minutes and as long as 35 minutes. the bread will be nicely colored. cool completely on a rack before slicing.

good luck and have fun! thanks to idania for a tasty challenge! be sure to check back here for the round up

Monday, November 23, 2009

wrong, just wrong...

somethings should just be left alone. not all of the ideas we have are meant to be realized, some should be laughed at and others immediately forgotten. take that photo for example. honestly, what were they thinking??? as if fruitcakes don't have it hard enough, now they've been twinkified. real fruitcakes all over are crying out for help, "somebody save us, please stop them. haven't we suffered enough?" help us stop the madness, bake a real fruitcake today!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

for your entertainment

it's been a hectic couple of weeks. we had one home sick with mono of all things. work has been busy-it's that time of year again and my assistant quit too. darry has be completely stressed with his job-the evil forces are at it again and then there is the lousy weather that just makes things dreary. i managed to miss a pie challenge because i simply forgot what day it was but considering the cholesterol angle, maybe that is not so bad for me right now. there hasn't been enough laughter in the house, well there was that one day when the cat got her head caught in an empty tissue box. darry put some catnip in the box to see what she would do and she stuck her head in it and then proceeded to run, bumpercar style, all over the hallway in reverse no less. what a sight it was, big black cat with a pink tissue box stuck on her head backing up into walls and what not and careening off of them. poor kitty...we laughed so hard i think i did pee on myself.

honest, we only did that one time. she wasn't dumb enough to fall for it a second time. anyway, when i walked into the living room last night, the light was hitting the chair at the right angle and i saw an interesting pattern in the ultrasuede. look at it and see if you can identify it-it made me giggle.

yep, you guessed it-a big butt!!! not mine, darry's and the amount of detail was amazing. right down to the stitching on the pockets of his levi's. unfortunately, that didn't come out in the photo.
devon's response-man, dad has a big butt! the detail is hilarious. you can see the belt loops, seams, stitching on the pockets and the outline of the leather tag on the back that lists the size.
it's the little things that make life amusing.