Where did it all go wrong? Six month ago I was averaging an astonishing ‘9’ views a day. And now look at the site. It’s flatter than a chapatti rolled out on Nicole Kidman’s chest.
Part of the problem is that I’ve made the jump from ‘beginner’ baker to ‘mediocre’ baker. I don’t suffer amusing, blog-able disasters but neither am I producing wonderful artisanal loaves that I want to show-off to my world (all 9 readers of it).
I’ve got some fun bread projects planned for the next few weeks but first of all here’s a quick recap of the last 6 months of my life. Rock and roll!
Rosemary Focaccia – Baker’s Illustrated
A nice recipe courtesy of w. It tasted a bit plain on it’s own. However when combined with the wife’s amazing Curried Apple and Potato soup this bread tasted amazing.
Pane Siciliano – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
An interesting recipe, the dough has semolina flour as a main ingredient. The dough is rolled into a long tube like rolling out playdough. Then you coil it back into a dollar sign and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Playdough is fun. Unfortunately, I had a bit too much fun and over handled the dough resulting in some loss of rise. The loaf had a slightly grainy texture due to the semolina. I don’t much like semolina so I can’t really judge whether this was a success.
Foccacia with Goat’s Cheese and Parmesan – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
When I said that I no longer suffer amusing blogable disasters, I was being only partially truthful. The foccacia recipe from Baker’s Illustrated lacked a really good ‘olive oil’ wallop. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe is much more sinful with the dough left to rise in what can best be described as a pool of herby, olive oil.
I made a serious error when shaping this loaf. Instead of folding and sealing the wet dough to give it strength, I was lazy and just plonked it on a tray. The yeast became active but the bubbles of gas floated to the surface of the dough and popped. As you can see the eventual bread was flat, mushy and completely saturated in olive oil. The oil stains are running down my chopping board. My choice of goat’s cheese and parmesan topping was sickening. Epic fail (but kind of yummy).
Pain de Campagne – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
My favorite everyday type of loaf. I bake this regularly. It’s a simple rustic, white loaf but with the addition of some fermented dough. Great crust, great airy texture and an interesting but not overpowering flavour.
On this occasion I was using the bread to make brushetta. Check out all them juicy, tomatoes in my girly, mixing bowl. Nice!
Me: “This is an Italian style bread with olive oil, rosemary and potatoe. Help yourself to the olive oil and….”
Brother in law: “Potato! I don’t see any potato. Where’s the potato?”
Me: “It’s in the bread.” (?)
“So yeah, there’s some balsamic vinegar and….”
BIL: “Where? I can’t see it.”
Me: (Swallowing my irritation). The potato has been mashed and mixed with the dough. You can’t actually see it. But you should notice a difference in the texture and taste of the bread”.
BIL: “Humph!” (Uses his fork and spoon to pull apart his slice of bread, peering at it suspiciously)
“What about this spot here! Is this potato?”
Me: “NO! (Head it hands). ….No, it’s just a spot of flour.