Sunday, February 9, 2014

Life Takes Over...But Baking Continues

The Big Guy was chastising me last night for not posting a new blog entry in a couple of weeks. But that's what happens when you have too many irons in the fire.

The last couple of weekends have been busy! I tried three new Peter Reinhart recipes, all of which turned out splendidly. And all of which came from his book Artisan Breads Every Day. I've referenced page numbers below.

My biggest problem when it comes to blogging about my baking experiments is remembering to take the darn photos. I get all caught up in the process of baking and forget about the need to document the steps visually. Or, I remember to take a few photos during the process, but when the finished product comes out, it's so delicious that it gets devoured before I remember to snap a shot of the end result. That's what happened weekend before last. We served the French bread - using Reinhart's Lean Bread recipe (page 46) - to guests on Saturday night with dinner, and I was too busy entertaining and enjoying the evening to capture it "on film." The sandwich bread I have no excuse for other than laziness. I thought about taking pictures of it a couple of times before we devoured it, but was too lazy to go do it. Meh, it happens.

Here are the baguettes made from the Lean Bread recipe and the Soft Sandwich Bread (page 105) loaves as they were rising:


Pretty, aren't they? I wish I had captured the finished products as well. But as the title says, life takes over.

The Lean Bread recipe tasted great, but the dough was a bit tricky to work with. So the next weekend I went with Reinhart's Classic French Bread recipe (page 49) to fulfill the request for bread boules for the Super Bowl party we were attending. My girl Rachel was going all out with a Snack Stadium, so I had to bring the goods in the baking department to accompany her soups. This time I remembered to take photos of the finished product but not of the steps it took to get there. Feast your eyes on these beauties:

I made them small so that more people could try them, and so that no one was tempted to fill up on soup and miss out on the glory that was the Snack Stadium. When making these bread boules (pronounced "bowl" by the majority of the world, but "bow-lay" by my dear hillbilly co-worker Heather), I went with a tic-tac-toe pattern of scoring on the top so we would have a guide to cut around to remove the centers of the boules for soup. Since there was not a scrap of bread left in the end, I'm calling this one a winner. Woohoo!

Now, you want the recipes? Go buy Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day! I promise you that even if you are a complete novice baker you'll find these recipes simple and easy to follow. I would reproduce them here, but every recipe comes with 3 pages of instructions. Don't be intimidated by that! The 3 pages of instruction is what makes these recipes so easy to follow. Reinhart doesn't leave out a single detail, therefore you're not left confused (unlike with Martha's recipes) and wondering if you've done it right.

Get in there and start baking! Or ask me for samples. Either way. Enjoy!

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