Friday, September 7, 2007

The Sweeter Side of Life

This week I have been exploring the breakfast side of bread. I just bought a copy of a wonderful book: The Breadbaker’s Apprentice

I can't say enough about how much I LOVE this book. Peter Reinhart wants not just to teach you how to bake bread but also how to understand what baking bread is really about. As he puts it in the text, Peter wishes to turn you in to a “spiritual baker” not a “technical baker”. Now, if you missed the hippie wagon like I did this may put you off at first. What he is actually saying is that his intent is not for you to MEMORIZE recipes for good artisan bread, but to understand what is going on so you can play with the recipes and make them your own.

…But I digress…

The two recipes I baked this week came from this amazing book.

Cinnamon rolls were the favorite of the family. The bread is just sweet enough and the icing and the walnuts top off what is a fluffy and cinnamony roll. These cinnamon rolls were amazingly easy to make, took about three hours to fully ferment and about 30 to bake.

English muffins were the favorite of my beautiful wife for her eggs benedict. These English muffins are actually fried in a pan and then baked to completion. Again, you couldn’t ask for an easier experience for such amazing results. The only thing I will do different next time is allow the yeast to grow a little longer. This was an amateur mistake I made. I was using active dry yeast and mixed the yeast (per instructions) into the flour and kneaded the dough. After I sat down to let the dough ferment I realized the next chapter in the book was “Yeast and Fermenting”, my mistake was obvious in seconds. The recipe called for instant yeast which can gain enough moisture from the dough to grow, however (and the book mentions this specifically) that active dry yeast has to have a lot more water and time to ferment on it’s own…. they still came out pretty darn good.

Well gang, that’s it for this amateur pastry chef this week. We will see you next week with more goodies, burnt pans, and smiling faces.

As always I look forward to your culinary stories with bread and pastries and pictures are always fun.

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

1 comment:

The Platypus Chef said...

I have this book too, and tried the foccacia recipe, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed making this, the directions are so clear, don't you love that about a book? and the dough was superb, the texture is like a soft fur slipping through your fingers. I made this because I was having a party and wanted to make a bread to go with my ratatouille. It was fantastic with the ratatouille! and the foccacia was wonderfull, the olive oil makes it taste incredible!!! of course my guests raved about it, they said it was the best they ever had. I hope you try it too.