Friday, February 20, 2009

bread and wine

I've been on a bread making roll for the past few weeks. It all started when I read Veronik Avery's blog (a knit designer). In it she had mentioned being "fascinated by my quest for the perfect loaf of whole grain bread…". After reading that, I remembered that I had purchased a copy of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I had started to read the explanatory notes at the start of the book, lost interest, and then decided to pick it up again after reading Veronik's blog.
Somewhere in between the reading I found "the Fresh Loaf" which had a tutorial on bread making. I made the bread featured in step two of the tutorial, loved it and moved on to the whole wheat sandwich bread in Peter Reinhart's book. Both turned out beautifully! The whole wheat bread was light and fluffy, not at all like the whole wheat bricks I used to make.
I then moved on to making whole wheat cinnamon bread, (to die for!) and then boldly moved on to making multiple loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread. This is where I ran into trouble. The recipe said that the bread needed to proof for 45 - 60 minutes. Since I was in the midst of knitting, when the timer went off after 45 minutes, I ignored it and kept knitting. The bread over-proofed and spilled over the edge of the baking tins. It tasted just fine and it was light but there were air holes in it that were not in the initial loaf.

Yesterday I baked whole wheat bagels. Wow! I'm in love with them, so much so that I started another batch earlier today. The plan is for me to finish them tomorrow. Most of Peter Reinhart's recipes are done over 2 days. He calls it the "epoxy" method in that you have two batches of dough; one with yeast (the "biga") and one without (the "soaker"). The soaker is left on the counter for 12 - 24 hours and the biga is stored in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. The following day the biga is removed from the fridge 2 hours before using it. Then it is combined with the soaker plus additional ingredients to make bread, bagels, rolls, etc.

When not baking I've been working on my knitting or hiking. On Tuesday a friend and I went for a hike up Mt. Tzouhalem. The weather was sunny although not terribly warm although the uphill section did make us sweat.

On Wednesday my daughter, son-in-law, and beautiful grandson dropped in for a visit and the 4 of us went for a walk at Eve's Park in Westholme. The weather was really nice but it was definitely cold in the trees.

Poor Ashton (nearly 3 months old) was quite confused that Grandma hadn't bought a wrap for him to eat. He tried very hard to grab his mom's wrap every time it passed his mouth and eyeballed Grandma's wrap too.

It will not be too long before he's eating his parents out of house and home.

Today I did start some more bagels and decided that it was time to filter and bottle some Amarone (red wine) which has been bulk aging for awhile. It was amazingly clear and clean. Pat and I tasted the leftovers (after I decanted it) and it was very good. I would have preferred to sit in the sunshine with my book or my knitting but I realized that the wine had to be done.

Tomorrow I finish the bagels and watch my grandson while his parents attend a funeral for a friend's mom. RIP Kathy! Your generosity and beautiful smile will be greatly missed.