Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bread, part 1

After a brief hiatus to go to my mom's hometown in Louisiana, I'm back at it. Tonight: rosemary olive loaf. I thought about doing cinnamon bread, but I noticed some Ezekiel brand cinnamon raisin bread in the fridge; while it is of unknown provenance, I can always use it for bread pudding later if it's too old to be eaten and then bake some fresh to replace it!

I dug out of the cabinet some yeast that looked like it had been packaged the year I was born, intending to make one loaf of rustic rosemary olive bread that I've made with great success and one loaf of a rosemary bread that Andy has made over and over and that I absolutely love. Unfortunately, only one of the packages of yeast still had some life in it, and it was the one for the rustic loaf, so the Andy bread will have to get pushed back to another day.

The dough for this is really, really dense and kind of dry when first mixed, more so than any bread I've ever baked, so if you give it a shot, don't let that worry you. As the recipe says, rubbing it with flour produces a very attractive crust. And that dough produces a very tasty bread. It's pretty hearty, so I don't know if I'd serve it with a meal, but it's great dipped in olive oil or toasted with some butter on it.

Here is the recipe for the me bread, and here is the recipe for the Andy bread. "Jo" just uses a bread machine, but you can bake it at 375 for "about 21 minutes," in his words, basting the top with olive oil often starting about 15 minutes in. Eyeball the dough as its rising, and punch it down once, maybe twice if you're feeling flush.

-Don't start baking bread at 10:45 at night (altogether pleasant social engagements and altogether not pleasant stomach upset pushed my baking time back) unless you're not tired. At all.
-Writing a quizbowl packet is a great way to pass the time while your bread rises (Look forward to questions on [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], T-Party field!).
-Only pretending to write a quizbowl packet while actually reading The Forty Days of Musa Dagh is a really great way to pass the time.
-Make sure you have non-Methuselean yeast before you begin. But then again, if you begin at a normal hour of the night (and if you are less stubborn in sticking to your baking decisions than I am), this shouldn't be as much of a problem.

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