Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baking Bread in Our Kitchen

This month, Len has been trying bread recipes, especially from Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish.
I've mentioned Len's bread in a couple of previous blog posts.
Most recently he made a baguette and a Pain d'Epi (shaped like an ear of wheat).
For shaping these loaves, he used the instructions in Julia Child volume 2.
We enjoyed several round loaves over the past few weeks.
A round loaf is baked in a dutch oven. Because we have a lot of
kitchen stuff, we are trying to use what we already have.
However, we did buy a new spray bottle to add steam during baking.
And we bought a new, better kitchen scale
(shown in front of the older one).
The recipes he's tried so far use a pre-ferment or sponge, using a portion of
the flour and water with a very small amount of yeast that's fermented
for 12 hours or more before adding the rest of the flour, water, and yeast.
He's tried two called biga and poolish, which I wrote about earlier.
* See Baker's Words. *

Another addition to our tools for baking: the dough scraper shown here.
Our extensive collection of tea towels comes in handy for use
holding the dough while it rises.
My tea towels tend to have British themes because my friend Sheila in London sends them to me. Thanks, Sheila!
Here are a few bread-y things we have eaten this month.

We tried making focaccia with part of one batch of dough.
Topped with fennel seeds and sun dried tomatoes, and spread with lots
of olive oil, it tasted very good, though the tomato bits were very dark.
Using up the bread is also a challenge sometimes. One night I stuffed
some carnival squash with bread cubes and various veggies --
essentially the same as sage and onion stuffing for a turkey.
Bread makes good toasted garlic croutons for salad to eat with baked potatoes.
Bread pudding, French toast, and strata will also be on the menu soon.
Then of course there are always sandwiches. And home made bread with butter and jam.

Trader Joe supplies the lemon curd, strawberry jam, and hot pepper jelly
that are currently in my kitchen. I need some Bonne Maman preserves.
That's about it for new activity and a few new gadgets in my kitchen this month. I'll be sharing with other bloggers who routinely post about their kitchens. Sherry at the blog Sherry's Pickings hosts the blogging event called "In My Kitchen This Month." Check it out to see what people have been doing!


Angela said...

The bread looks fantastic!
I noticed that you're from Ann Arbor. My sister and I were thinking of planning a trip there for later this year because we saw that your town has 9 bookstores. Do you have any recommendations for which bookstores are the best?

Mae Travels said...

Yes, there are many, probably more than nine.

Motte and Bailey books on north Fourth Avenue has a wonderful selection of high-quality used books, especially history and other similar topics -- my favorite. They also have a good section of food writing and cookbooks.

West Side books, also a used bookstore, on West Liberty has a big fiction section and lots of very intriguing old books.

Aunt Agatha's on south Fourth sells detective fiction exclusively.

For new books, I usually use, but many people love the local ones.

bermudaonion said...

There's not much better than freshly baked bread but I'm a total failure at it. I'm so impressed by your breads!

Story Time said...

These look wonderful. The trouble with homemade bread is that it is so good. The reason I don't have a bread machine is not that the bread wouldn't be good, but because it would be and if I made it often because it was so easy I would eat way too much. My mixer has a dough hook, which also makes it quite easy. My bread making isn't adventurous like Len's, but even simple recipes are wonderful.

Angela said...

Thanks for the recommendations! Every year on my birthday, I go on a two-day book spree. I usually go to about 8 or 9 bookstores. And this year my sister and I wanted to go to another town to explore their bookstores. I did some research and Ann Arbor sounded like fun!

Kitchen Riffs said...

We haven't baked bread for quite some time -- just haven't been eating it that much lately for some reason. Love it, though, and we should get back in the habit. Love the post -- great inspiration. Thanks.

Debra Eliotseats said...

Stuffing, croutons...then there's bread pudding, too. I would love to hand over bread baking to the spouse. :) Some of the best bread I've ever made was in our Dutch oven.

Margo said...

What a wonderful thing to do in the winter! Your breads look lovely -I can almost smell it.

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen said...

I want a friend in London to send me tea towels! That's so fun! Bread is my favorite thing to bake and this post made me realize it's been too long since I actually made some!

Trisha said...

I love bread! I also love to cook, but I refuse to bake bread because I have absolutely no control. It looks like you have hit on some great recipes!

The Napoli Alert said...

Impressive effort! The bread looks like it is coming along very nicely.

Sherry A Mackay said...

Wow Mae! all that beautiful bread. i am not much of a bread maker except for the loaves that are left overnight in the fridge to prove, then baked. that's simple enough even for me:) Thanks for joining in. you are number 1 IMK blog poster!:) cheers sherry x

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love making bread. Thanks for sharing all the bread adventures your husband has had lately.

Pam said...

The bread looks fabulous! I have the same scale, and I know it's very accurate, it measures exactly to "stuff" from the butcher! And I have the scrapper also, great for measuring with the ruler, dough, chopping and collecting chopped vegetables, etc for soup, you name it. Can't beat homemade bread!

SeattleDee said...

Mmmmm, homemade bread! What scrumptious comfort food for cold weather... or any other time.

Jen said...

I love baking bread. It's such a mindful activity, it requires patience, to watch and wait...things that I definitely need to do more of. Your results look delicious - great job! =)

Vicki said...

I love fresh baked bread but I haven't made any in years. Yours looks so good!

Amira said...

Wow, nothing beats home baked bread makes your kitchen smells heavenly. Love all the bread types you listed above specially the focaccia.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love freshly baked bread so much I rarely make it, because it's too hard not to eat too much, especially fresh out of the oven. I love your stuffed squash idea!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

When my kids were young, baking bread was one of our favorite family activities in the winter, Ahh nothing like homemade bread to bring a wonderful warmth to the home and the spirit!

Beth F said...

I used to bake bread two-three times a week, but we've been cutting back on our bread, now I bake only a few times a month.

Claudia said...

I love baking bread, though tend to stick to the same recipe. Going by the "if it ain't broke" philosophy. And, now I know the proper name for that squash/pumpkin I just stuffed.

Nan said...

How wonderful that he is doing this!! I love homemade bread and like it best as toast with butter and jam. I make it twice a week.

Marg said...

We have recently been trying to make no knead bread. One day we will try the more traditional method!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Your bread looks delicious as well as the stuffed vegetables :D

Liz said...

What wonderful breads! And how lucky you are to have a husband that shares your passion.

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

Gorgeous bread. I could survive without cake but I do need my bread!

Lisa said...

Oh my word, that bread looks fabulous. Bread is my weakness - quite frankly there is almost nothing better than bread still warm from the oven served simply with some butter. SO GOOD!

Anonymous said...

You bread looks amazing and I wouldn't be without my dough scraper too :)