Tag Archives: artisan breads in five minutes a day

Say Cheesssssssssssssse.

30 Oct

Behold, the Cheesssssssy Bread that I conjured up for Alex’s Halloween luncheon at school…

I was thrilled that I was up for making something from scratch for the festivities, and also grateful that the Vermont Cheese Bread recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day had proven itself to be an easy beast to get just right, and also one that I could tweak a little bit without *poof* complete kitchen disaster.

In this case, I stretched the dough into a large rectangle.  I then sprinkled even more cheese over the surface (the recipe says to use good cheddar, but I made this with the part skim kraft shreddy stuff the first time around and the taste was pretty nice- tasted, with the slight sourness of the dough, more like the asiago bagel of my ABP frequenting days in New England)… Then I rolled, stretching the dough even more (in all directions) until I was left with a long, fairly thin log.  After resting for an hour, the log was big and puffy, so I gently pulled on it some more and realized that ovens should really come in letterbox.  So I bent it into a squiggle, said “Eureka!” aloud, and then I went off-recipe again and brushed the top with an egg-water wash to give it that slight hint of change of color that snakes have between their topsides and undersides… I was thinking of putting almonds in for eyes (and then I thought of making scales with sliced almonds) but decided against it because the whole point of this project was to make a food for the luncheon that Alex likes and could enjoy with his classmates, as he has been a trooper but still seems to feel a little isolation at school as far as his dietary needs go (due to G6PD Deficiency).  I also thought of burning a screen with the gocco to egg wash on a scale pattern.  Then I realized (and this is a major development in the world of my head and creating) that I was heading down my usually disastrous path of gilding the lily.  So I….

Stopped.

I did.

Really.

Did you see the picture above?  That was the first try. Even after my fantasies of silk screening my meandering length of cheesy dough.

I really did.  See what I mean?  I think that turning 35 next week has me suddenly having great moments of clarity and I’m really embracing all of my quirks these days, instead of putting on “the normal”…  Now I feel like I can use my quirky powers for good, and not derail myself completely.  I have to work smart, conserve what little energy and strength I have, and not go full on sparkle, glitter, laser show, sequins, fog machine, showgirls, hydraulic lift apeshit on everything.   But sometimes I will, because I’m a behind the scenes- make stuff happen- challenge myself (seriously. You know Barney in How I Met Your Mother and how he is always saying “challenge accepted” but nobody actually challenged him… Yeah. I do that. Or I used to. I guess only time will tell.) kind of creature.  And you can take the craft supplies away from this chickadee, but face it glitter freaking sticks to and gets in everything, so really, you can’t totally take away the craft supplies.  That and inspiration is everywhere.  Ooooh. Mah pain meds seem to be kicking in.  Mama is getting more verbose than usual.  Please tell me that you could tell and not that this seems like regular, ol’ me?  Please?!?!?  Pretty please with some demerara sugar and some edible glitter on top?

Where was I?

Oh… So when kiddo came home from his festivities at school, it was reported that 1. the kids and adults loved the bread and it was devoured fast as a wink and 2. the teachers told Baldguy that he should let me know that I am welcome to make this bread and bring it in any time I have the urge to do so.   I knew it was good, but Yippee! Other people actually like it and think it is *that* grand.  Kiddo reported that he was so proud of the reptile themed bread because it was tasty and all of the kids thought it was the coolest food ever. Woohoo!  And then he said that he is proud of what a good bread baker I am (he has plans for us making bread for the whole world!  I’m barely managing a loaf a day for us!)

Oh and the cookies we spent forever decorating? Nobody ate them! They were all stuffed with cheessssssssssy bread!

Remember, sometimes what looks like a trick is actually a treat… and vice versa.
Happy Haunting!

xo

Bek
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Baking 2: Electric Boogaloo

10 Oct

The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry. -Simone Weil

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
Mother Teresa

Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
Nikolai Berdyaev

The wretch who digs the mine for bread, or ploughs, that others may be fed, feels less fatigued than that decreed to him who cannot think or read.
Hannah More

To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.
James A. Baldwin

(love love love BrainyQuote.com)

Bagels/ Laugen (pretzel)Bagels (by me!) The grey/weird speckles are Celtic grey sea salt. Yum!

We found out rather quickly, that all commercially available breads at our local supermarket (Publix) contains either soy, a soy derivative, or ascorbic acid.  All of these ingredients are on our list of forbidden foods as Alex and I try to build our health and learn to live (and hopefully live well!) with G6PD deficiency.  The only bread we have found is pita bread, and while we enjoy it sometime, we both had been craving some fluffy, more leavened bread.

First off, I ordered an inexpensive Sunbeam bread machine from Amazon.com.  That solves the daily bread issue- I can make a 1.5lb express loaf in an hour, without any kneading or oven heating to make my arms and hands hurt more (from the kneading and the hand-wringing when I get another sky-high electrical bill…thankfully the cooler season is almost here, so I will be able to shut off the air conditioner. Woohoo!).   This is a pretty good solution, and allows me to make a loaf every day.  We usually have fresh bread at dinner (the express loaf, while still warm, tastes just like Carabba’s bread according to Alex) and the rest of the loaf is used to make Alex’s school lunch for the following day (now that Smucker’s Uncrustables are off our menu. They were a staple during my pregnancy with him and have been a staple for him since starting school.)   However, I noticed a neato looking book on bread on Amazon.com and coincidentally, my friend Marissa mentioned it the next day.   So I considered that a sign and bought it.

It is called “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”  and it is fantastic.  All of the breads are for the most part, “no knead”.  Basically you mix up a base dough in a large batch, using a mixer with a dough hook or just a large spoon or your hands.  You mix just enough to combine the ingredients, but not enough to actively knead it to develop the dough.  Most of the doughs can be kept in the fridge for up to 14 days, and the book features many recipes and suggestions for using those doughs. All of the doughs can be used to take multiple types of breads, so it’s not like a person who actively bakes using this book will get bored over the 2 week period, from eating the same loaf constantly.

However, being creatures of habit, we have found that the Olive Oil Bread is our favorite and it is perfect for pizza, focaccia, calzones, even a simple rustic round.  I do find that one batch of the Olive Oil bread dough only lasts us a couple of days as I’m definitely not on my feet yet, so when I am I like to get as much done as possible.  It’s hard for me to cook anything, but if I make pizza for Alex on one day, I’ll set up a few mini-pies so he will have lunch for school and a snack the next day, and Jeff will have leftovers.

Anyway, just wanted to share this awesome cookbook with all of you…. It has definitely put artisan bread within the grasp of this arthritic old gal, and in the mouth of my little one with all of our “contraindicated” foods.

Oh and the best part?  You should see how much Alex is eating now and how happy he is!   It’s an incredible change and it just makes my heart smile to see how strong he is getting.  It’s making-me-all-teary-wonderful!

xo

Bek

P.S. Thanks to my friend Marissa, for suggesting this book!  Please check out her amazing art & visit her Etsy shop!

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P.P.S. Does anyone have an easy to use ice cream maker they really like? (I’m thinking an electrical one, to preserve my energy)

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