Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I am really into bread. I was always into carbs even when the no carb craze was at it's peak. How could I say no to potatoes? Bagels? Bread to hug my sandwich? I never got into that craze. Actually, I've never really been into any diet craze. Too time consuming. I do well with just eating when I have physical hunger and stopping just before I'm full. That's it. It's hard sometimes, but it truly works. I can't make the food behave (i.e. take out all the fat, carbs, sugars, and eat 'diet' food), but I can make me behave. 'Me' is always at the heart of the matter, right?

Ouch. I get another little stab when I see that all typed out. So true. In my case, really.

Well, my therapy lately has been a quest to discover how to make bread. Really, REALLY good bread. I'm discovering that I will ultimately need a wood-fired oven in my back yard (I have already downloaded plans for one). Until then, my little oven and I are trying to figure it out.

Bread baking is truly a science and an art. I can weigh my ingredients, have a gorgeous starter going, only to have one batch turn out drastically different than the other. That is, I feel, also the beauty of baking.

Like sketching or knitting, I sometimes just need to feel the repetitive motion with my fingers. I enjoy the scritch/scratch of the lead on paper, the click of my needles and the feel of the dough in between my fingers.

After many batches of ciabatta, I can almost feel the dough and know if it's not going to have those huge holes and crunchy crust. I have only tried the bagels twice. The first time I didn't have enough flour and the dough was too soft and sticky.

The second time I let them get a little two brown and used salt grains that were too large. So that batch ended up looking more like round pretzels than bagels. Both batches tasted really nice.

I've been doing all of my bread baking lately out of this wonderful book. It is not the easy route, let me tell you. But I really wanted to do artisan breads and no matter what the recipes say, I think that most true rustic, artisan bread can't be done in a few hours. Also why I want one of these.

I was never a fan of the bread machine but I understood why it was popular. It wasn't that the bread was bad, but it wasn't good either. I liked the crust, the smell of the yeast, the heat of the oven. Sometimes my mom would decide to bake bread and it was a lovely smell.

Now we're still trying to eat up my experiments here at home and I'm really itching to try this lovely recipe for babka. I just have to empty out a few tomato cans and I'm all set!

On the path...


Challenge Life said...

Nice blog.


Em said...

I'm into bread right now too... I find that I really need a baking stone and I need to be more patient! I'm trying some rosemary flat bread tomorrow. I started the Poolash tonight - it's so hard to wait!!! I am getting my flour from a local grain mill - so that's an interesting experiment too - I have to figure out which grain is best for which loaf... still working on that part!