Archive for ‘Adventures in Bread’

July 14, 2011

Kaiser Rolls: Adventures in Bread

I have bloggers writing block.

I made these really cool rolls, but I can’t think of anything witty to say about them.

So I hope you don’t mind looking at the pictures.

If you want, you can make up your own blog post in your head!

Here are the essentials:

These tasted good.

They were fun to make.

I can’t give you the recipe, but I can give you the link to Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

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June 26, 2011

Thoughts on life and bagels. (Adventures in Bread)

When you are sitting up late at night writing a paper or studying for a test, do you ever dream about being a bread baker? I do. I would happily go to sleep at 8pm and wake up before the sun to head into my friendly little bakery to start preparing fresh delicious breads for my amazing local customers. Spending dark quiet mornings surrounded by rising dough and the smell of yeast… What? You don’t have that fantasy? Hmm… well, you obviously have never made bagels. I’m telling you, the magical experience of actually creating your own homemade bagels is enough to make you want to put down your pen and put on an apron.

Rewind a few months. As graduation inched (flew, really) towards me, I began to feel more and more burned out on all the time spent on my computer, analyzing and fact checking and researching. I didn’t bake for weeks. I just needed to get my hands covered in flour and heat up my oven. There is something so grounding about the process of bread-making, and let me tell you, I needed some solid ground! And while I didn’t have control over the type of security that might come with, say, a job prospect for the future (and still don’t..eeek!), I do have control over my hands and the ingredients in my kitchen. And really, if all it takes is a little kneading, shaping, boiling, and baking to make me feel like I’ve got a handle on things, I’m a pretty lucky girl.

These bagels… well, they were just bagels. But I made them with my own two hands, and I’ll take pride in that, thank you very much!  I hope that, in the midst of whatever is stressing you out these days, you can find a Saturday morning to give these a try.

Take your time.

Get messy.

Knead until your arms hurt.

Be patient.

Savor the taste.

Don’t worry about life, just make bagels.

 

(Where are the directions you ask? The recipe I used was from my trusty Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. This book is too beautiful to smash all over the internet, so I suggest you hit the library or bookstore and get a copy!)

March 5, 2011

Adventures in Bread: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Attention everyone. I have fallen in love. Head over heels in love.

I am in love with baking bread.

First, there is that heavenly smell of rising yeast that fills every inch of the house and welcomes you home with a big bready hug as soon as you come in the door.

Second, there is the endless variety of bread-making options. Rye, wheat, white, swirled, loafs, rolls…. It never ends! I bet you could make a different type of bread every day of the year!

Third, there is the undeniable comfort that comes in eating a hunk of carbs. All toasty warm. Slathered with a nice pat of butter.

 

Seriously though, do you know how cool the process of making bread can be? I’m not talking toss some flour and yeast in a bread machine and call it a night. I’m talking stirring, kneading, rising, punching, steaming, baking. I’m talking enzymes and glutens and fermentation. I’m talking flour and water and muscle and patience.

Okay, I’m not sure if there is such thing as a bread nerd…..but I would like to be one, please. As I mentioned before, my brother and I are baking through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice one recipe at a time. It is a one-way ticket to bread obsession, let me just say that.

Now I started all this by reading through the 100+ pages of introduction – all about the science, technique, and history behind bread making before diving in to any recipes. I thought, like a good little college girl, that studying up would make bread-baking a cinch. Nope. I’m here to tell you: bread is hard work. After 10 minutes of kneading a tough blob of gluten, I start to get a little sweaty, I won’t lie! But the satisfaction of opening the oven and pulling out a beautiful golden loaf of cinnamon-raison-walnutty goodness is SO worth it. I have only made a couple recipes so far, but each time I just feel extra proud – more so than I ever would with a plain old batch of brownies or cookies. There is something just complex enough, yet still ever-comforting that makes bread a fascinating and rewarding art.

So if you want to fall in love, take a Saturday afternoon and spend some time getting to know bread.

February 27, 2011

Adventures in Bread: Anadama Bread

Hi trusty readers.

I have neglected you a little these past few months. I’m sorry. I wish I could say I won’t do it again, but I probably will, at least for the next few months.

But today, I am not neglecting you. I am bringing you the first real installment of my Adventures in Bread. My brother and I are baking through every recipe in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You may have heard of something similar where a bunch of bloggers got together for this exact purpose. Well, we missed the boat, but we will do it Lane family style. A little late and with lots of fun and love.

So first I bring you Anadama bread. Anadama is a traditional New England bread made with flour, corn meal, and molasses… with a great little story about how it got it’s name:

“A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, “Anna, damn her.”

What a lovely little bread this turned out to be! I was pleasantly surprised at the success of the loaves for my first real try at yeasted bread. It is sweet and has a great texture from the cornmeal and is simply perfect toasted with some butter and tea.

Next up? Cinnamon Raisin Walnut bread!!