Slacking off, Starters and School Stories
Well, I said I would take pictures of the pizza I made, but I didn't. To be honest with you, I was so ready to eat when it was done I did not even give the camera one thought. It was very tasty (like the last time) and it looked lovely. You will have to take my word for it.
The other breads I baked I took pictures of, including some of the bread I made at school. Sometime this week I will have my darling add them to the gallery.
Ol' Yeasty, my sourdough starter, is now fully active and I am going to do my first build so that by Saturday I will be ready to bake bread. The builds will be done over two days, with two feeds. If I added all the flour and water at once it would be like feeding breakfast, lunch and dinner to someone all at once. Yeah, they could eat it all but they would be sluggish after. I want peppy starter so I will take my time with this.
This weekend I made Pain Rustique. It was was a pretty dark brown loaf that had a good open crumb, but it needed more flavor and next time I will add more salt. As it happens … we made this bread in my B&R class this week. I added a little more salt and it tasted lovely. I have a sandwich for my lunch made out of that very Pain Rustique made at school and I know it will be divine.
Along with the Pain Ristique we made Ciabatta with Wheat Germ and Olive oil and Baguettes with Poolish. On Monday we made the poolish for all three breads. Because it had to sit and ferment we did not make up the bread until Tuesday. We did bake the bread made up last week on Monday. I did not try it and can not tell you how it was (sorry, but I had a HUGE dinner Monday and the thought of eating more bread made me feel ill). We did not get to bake the Ciabatta or the Baguettes with Poolish on Tuesday so I will have to report on those breads next week.
I will say that the dough for all the breads was quite sticky and hard to work with and I was so glad to have read the book, and some good websites, before the semester started as well as having tried the bread in advance at home. I knew what to expect and was able to work with it. I must also add that toasted wheat germ smells SO good! Burnt wheat germ smells acrid and it is not at all good.
Our quick breads this week were a Two Cheese Wheat Muffin and a Sour Cream Cranberry Muffin. I liked both very much and plan to place them in my regular muffin rotation. (Well, I will once I have one.) The Two Cheese Muffin had a sweet and savory thing going on and it seems like a recipe that would welcome tinkering. We added extra honey to our batter and I think that was a very good idea. If I wanted to go more savory the addition of roasted garlic and additional cheeses would not break my heart. The Sour Cream Cranberry muffin was so good, and would be better if the cranberries were blueberries. Topping the muffins was a cinnamon streusel that added a sweet crunch. Changing the fruit, or using chocolate chunks in place of the fruit, makes this muffin something that can accomidate many tastes.
My group was short two people both Monday and Tuesday. Not that we suffered, mind you. In fact, I quite liked having a smaller group, for the most part. I was able to get more accomplished because I could focus my time and energy and not have to worry about group politics. No drama at all! Also, our group did not fall behind the other groups. Actually, our group finished before most of the other groups. I know I harped on organization last week, but it can not be overstated. Organization and planning are key to successful baking.
Class ran long on Tuesday, but Monday was pretty much out on time. I think I need to get used to getting home late at least on Tuesdays. Not that I really mind. Learning about bread means that you have to learn the most valuable lesson of all: You are not the master of the bread, the bread is the master of you. (or, a watched loaf never proofs!!) I was up late anyway because I had a hockey game to watch when I got home. (GO STARS!!)
On a completely unrelated note … IT'S SNOWING!!! Not that it is cold enough for it to stick … this is Texas after all and it will be in the 40's today. But, for one blissful moment it was snowing. It is going to be a good day!