Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bread of the Week 35: New York Deli Rye and 100% Sourdough Rye

If you frequent my blog you know that I bake at least one loaf a week. That means I go through a lot of flour. Last week I bought 22.5 pounds of flour in one day. It was the first time I became concerned about my baking addiction. Sure, I could just use all purpose flour and add vital wheat gluten to make it bread flour or high gluten flour, but half of the time I decide to do that I forget to add the gluten.
This week I made two breads. The first one was 100% sourdough rye. 100% sourdough means no commercial yeast. I just used the barm I've been cultivating. I wasn't patient enough and ended up not letting it rise enough. The bread was still good, it was just more like cocktail rye than anything else.
I like dense breads for dips and soups. I think slices of this bread toasted would be perfect for dunking in soup.

I also made New York Deli Rye this week. For this bread you sauté onions in oil and then add them to a starter with barm, rye flour, and water. The recipe called for 2 medium onions (12 ounces). When I read other Bread Baker's Apprentice posts several people wondered where you would get onions that big. I had the opposite problem - my grocery store only sells mutant onions. One onion was too big.
Mutant onions aside, I love this bread. I was never a rye fan until I tried this. It's a soft bread; the texture is closer to potato bread than any other rye bread I've tried.
I think I may keep this recipe in my sandwich bread rotation. It would be great with some strong cheese.
I'm enjoying working my way though the sourdoughs more than I thought I would. When I finish them and return to commercial yeast breads I wonder if it will feel like cheating. I don't remember what it is like to make bread in one afternoon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Maker Monday

There won't be a Maker Monday post today. Nor will my State Fair posts be coming any time soon. I'm going to be silent for a while. I don't feel like celebrating my life at the moment.

Today I had to put Cooper to sleep. He's the best friend I've ever had. He lived a good 17 years. but kidney failure was making him very uncomfortable. He was a wonderful dog and I'll miss him terribly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Maker Monday: week 33

This week I made a few things. I will post pictures of them next week so I look super productive. Until then, know that I am crazy busy and try to find knit every other day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bread of the Week 34: Basic Sourdough

This week I entered the realm of sourdough breads. Sourdough breads are different than most of the breads I've been making because they use wild yeast instead of commercial yeast. I collected some yeast using flour, pineapple juice, and water. I've been keeping it alive in my refrigerator by occasionally feeding it.

Well now, that is certainly a paragraph I never thought I would write. OK back to the bread.

I like sourdough bread. It has a bit of a kick to it, and it is nice and chewy. I like to use it for sandwiches, but if I ever get sick of it I think it would make great croutons.

I don't like how long it takes to make sourdough bread. Most of the breads I've been making up until now take about an hour and a half to two hours on the first day. Sourdough breads take four hours the first day. They take up to 10 hours the second day. It is making it hard to fill my weekend with social plans. Due to the crimp in my social life I've decided to do all of the sourdoughs over a two weekends. I'll still blog one bread at a time, which will allow me to actually leave town for the weekend without taking a vacation day to catch up on baking.

Pugliese: Bread of the Week 33

This week I made pugliese from the Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is another Italian style loaf. I really like how these turned out. Kathleen even said they look like bread from a Charles Wysocki puzzle. I take that as high praise.

The crumb wasn't as perfect as bakery bread, but it's pretty good. I dream of one day having an oven with a steam feature to help with the crust.

Next week I enter the world of sourdough, which should be interesting. If the bread is half as good as the pugliese I'll be happy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Maker Monday: week 32

The Hawkeye socks are done. I love how they turned out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hand and Foot

Last night John, Deirdre, Kathy and I played Hand and Foot. I kicked butt. Kathy wasn't happy and tore up the score sheet. Deirdre acted fast and saved it from being torn into more pieces.

Potato Rosemary Bread: Bread of the Week 32

Some breads were made for sopping up tomato sauce. This is one of them. It reminded me of bread that would arrive before the meal at a fancypants restaurant.

The bread flattened more than it rose. It might be because I cheated and used instant mashed potatoes. I plan on making this bread again the next time I have real mashed potatoes on hand.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I am loving summer. Usually I get disgruntled with the heat and just want to stay inside my climate controlled house. This year I decided to embrace the heat. After all, embracing the cold last winter turned out to be a lot of fun.

I'm actually enjoying the heat. It's not so bad when you can choose to be hot. Knowing I can always go back into the AC makes it not so terrible. I have been enjoying patios as often as possible.I've even learned to like running when it's hot.

My favorite part of the summer is the fresh produce. Today I used some of the produce in an amazing salad. I chopped up what was left of my heirloom tomatoes from Saturday, diced a slice of sourdough bread, tore up some basil. I threw it all in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I waited a bit for the bread to soak up some tomato goodness and then devoured it.
It was the best salad I have ever eaten. I'm going to eat it as much as possible before the end of tomato season. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cancer Free Monica!!

On Sunday I met Monica for dinner downtown. It was a special treat, as she moved to Kansas earlier this summer. I miss her a lot, and daydream about her moving back to Des Moines at least once a day.

Monica was in town because Monday morning was her last PET scan to make sure she is cancer free. Even better than dinner with her was finding out on Monday afternoon that all of the tumors are gone.

Now that she is no longer sick I can focus all of my efforts on getting her up to Des Moines to visit as often as possible.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Maker Monday: week 31

No photos this week, but at least I'm posting on time. I'm on the foot of my second Hawkeye sock. I'm hopeful that I will finish it this week. I'm looking forward to knitting with bigger needles. I broke my second size 1 needle this week. I am not even a tight knitter. I guess it's just my super human strength.

I did start and finish a project this week. I made a coozie to match Emily's one eared hat for her birthday. I forgot to take a picture of it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Portuguese Sweet Bread: Bread of the Week 31

This week's Bread of the Week is Portuguese Sweet Bread. If you've never heard of it you may be familiar with it's other name, Hawaiian Sweet Bread (often found in roll form in the freezer section). I didn't get any good photos of this bread, which is a shame because it was delicious.

The crust is deep brown and the inside is slightly sweet. I enjoyed it toasted. I will probably make this one again. When I do I'll take more pictures so you can see better photos of it.