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Sunday, May 31, 2009


This challenge is forcing me to bake some things that I would never try. I made the middle class brioche, with only 5 eggs and a cup of butter. Can you hear everyone's arteries closing?

It was easy to make up. I had ordered some large cardboard brioche mold's from King Arthur's Flour. I divided the dough in two but probably could have made three loaves. Apparently, they baked into the classic Brioche shape, as verified by an internet images search by a disbelieving teenager.

The bread is buttery. Your hands and lips are coated with each bite. It is delicious but about as far away from a bread that I would reach for as possible.

However, Scout can't stay away. We actually had to put the loaves on the top of the refrigerator to cool. Her little dog nose can smell the fat and she is sure it would be tasty.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad

I love beets. I believe that people need to give beets another chance. There were lots of beets at the farmers market. Probably because people remember their childhood beets...

I cut off the greens and put the washed beets in a pan with some water, covered them with foil and roasted them until they were fork tender. About 35 minutes at 350. I let them cool, peeled them and sliced them. While they were cooking, I sauteed the stems in garlic and olive oil, then added the leaves. When everything had cooled, I put the leaves and stems on top of some spring greens, added the sliced beets and some grapefruit slices. I topped it all with a salad dressing made from champagne vinegar, olive oil, grapefruit juice and salt and pepper.

Unfortunately or fortunately we find ourselves eating a few more carbohydrates than usual. The bread bakers apprentice challenge has been fun but we have to cut back somewhere.

Normally, I would top this salad with goat cheese and pecans but we are saving room for brioche. I am enjoying going alphabetically through the book. I certainly would skip brioche, a little too much egg and butter. But a challenge is a challenge and my husband is willing to take one for the team.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The bagels well worth the effort. My husband was happy to come downstairs to fresh bagels. It is a bit of an involved process. Definitely not something for a busy weekend, but perfect for a three day weekend. First you make the sponge and let it sit for two hours.

After two hours, it should be foamy and bubbly.

Then you make the dough. The malt powder tasted like the inside of malted milk balls. I'm glad that I was able to find it. If you are married to someone who enjoys beer, malted milk balls and malts this might be just the right addition to perfect bagels.

The dough was firm and stiff. A little challenging to knead. I like to think that it counted towards an aerobic workout. I cut it in half and added cinnamon and extra yeast to one part for some cinnamon bagels. Divided into twelve rolls and left to rest for 20 minutes.

Covered with a damp towel. A simply fascinating picture.

Shaping the bagels was fun. I tried both methods but preferred the poke a finger in the dough and form the bagels shape. The rope method was more difficult for me.

My bagles passed the float test after ten minutes.

Into the refrigerator for the night.

In the morning, I boiled the bagels.

Baked them and finally waited until they cooled.

The end product.

They were delicious. We need some whitefish salad, which is about as difficult to find in Texas as boiled bagels. I think that I will be making these again in the future.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Farmers Market Bounty

We went to the new farmers market at Pearl Brewery and were amazed with the lines for the one stand that still had produce. There was another stand that had sold out. It is an interesting place with a lot of specialty stands. There were stands with grass fed beef, goats, lamb. Stands with honey, herbs, farm raised tilapia and shrimp. They need more produce stands.

We went back up to the farmers market in Olmos Basin and found a bounty of vegetables. The hit of the morning was the full pint basket of blackberries. They didn't last an hour in the house but were enjoyed by all. The Texas farmers market don't have the volume as some of the markets we have lived by. With the drought conditions that we are having it is amazing that they can grow anything. There were lots of varieties of onions; white, red, scallions and shallots. All kinds of squash. I came home with zucchini to grill. But I need to get some patty pan ideas before I head back down next weekend.

I am thinking grilled zucchini, roasted beet salad and swiss chard with roasted chickpeas. I need some sides for dinner. We went to a retirement party where the host was giving the guests smoked pork butts as they left. Only in Texas...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Artos, Greek Celebration Bread

I started the day by working on my seed culture. I have some sourdough starter in the refrigerator but have never made my own. Scout wandered by and I believe snorted in disgust. I told her that Peter Reinhart says that she should not be put off by the strong, unpleasant aroma but I believe that she is scornful. Both she and the other household members remain skeptical of wild yeast but I am having a blast.

I have the day off and have decided to bake the artos bread. I used my son's camera and failed to actually take any pictures of the process until the very end. I had made the poolish the other day. The bread was very easy to make, lovely aromas. I divided the dough and made two boules. We managed to sneak off for lunch during the proofing. I think that my son would have eaten the raw boules.

After waiting for them to cool, I can say that I enjoyed the Anadama Bread more. This bread was just a little too sweet, a little too spicy. However, my husband and my son's friends thought that the bread was delicious.

I had planned on making the bagels this weekend. My husband grew up around the corner from a bagel shop in New Jersey. Nothing that we have found so far here in Texas has matched those bagels. I ordered some supplies from King Arthur Flour but they won't be here until Tuesday. I really want to try the malt powder. I followed Peter's suggestion but the three bagel shops that I checked with do not use malt powder. Perhaps that is part of the problem. I found a home brewery store that is willing to sell me two pounds of malt powder. What if the recipe is absolutely amazing? At two teaspoons a recipe I should be able to meet my family's bagel needs for some time.

The home brewing store was interesting. Lots of varieties of malt, malt syrup. Who knew.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anadama Bread Getting Started

Late at night when I can't sleep, I look at people's food blogs. I am filled with awe at people who can take beautiful pictures, post them and the accompanying recipes and comments all while keeping immaculately clean houses. So I imagine at three in the morning...

I was reading about Nicole's challenge at Pinch My Salt, I guess she tweeted that she was going to bake all of the breads in the Bread Baker's Apprentice and asked if any one was interested. There are now 200 registered bakers.

Not having the desire to learn to twitter or tweet at this point in my life, I missed the initial contest sign up. But it intrigued me. So I bought the cookbook, started the bread and decided to start blogging.

I soaked the cornmeal yesterday, but before I could start baking the Anadama Bread, I had to take care of my dog. Scout is my beautiful lab who quite frequently smells like Rosemary. Rosemary grows like a weed in my yard, all year long. She romps through it hourly on her way to chase her evil adversaries, the squirrels. She is quite happy to hear that I have started a bread baking challenge. She has been known to scarf down any unattended loaves of bread..

The bread is baking, filling the house with a delicious aroma. My husband and I have looked through the book and are eagerly awaiting some of the recipes. The bagels look challenging. Finding active diastatic malt should be interesting.

I should confess before we start that my family lacks patience. Cooling, although a very important stage, is not respected in my house. Sometimes I have resorted to hiding cooling baked goods.