Friday, September 18, 2009

First Baking Day of the Season

I'm carbo-bonking. Bread, bread, bread. The sourdough starter looked good to go yesterday, so I mixed up two doughs with it last night and baked off the breads this afternoon. I canNOT resist freshly baked bread. Above is Fig-Anise bread, and farther down the page you'll find the smaller rolls I made from the other half of the same batch of dough. The rolls were supposed to be pannini, and since "pannini" means "little breads," I suppose they are. But I'll modify the shaping step next time to try for a flatter, wider shape. The recipe source is Artisan Baking, if you want to look it up. (Sorry, typing up anything that long isn't going to happen, even if copyright weren't an issue.)

Still just slightly warm from the oven, cut open with a little bit of butter? Divine!

Here's a batch of sourdough English muffins, which are cooked in a skillet rather than baked. Aren't they full of character? Character is important in things farinaceous, I think. These are reproductions of the best English muffins I've ever had in my life, from the Cheese Board bakery in Berkeley. The recipe source is The Cheese Board: Collective Works: Bread, Pastry, Cheese, Pizza.

This is the solution to leftovers from the English muffin recipe. Cut the dough up with a circular cutter and you end up with scraps, which then become a zampano, also of the Cheese Board. Basted with garlicky olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt, and then lovingly topped with a few chili pepper flakes and a grate or two of parmesan when it comes out of the oven. They don't hold well at all, which makes it a crime not to eat them the day they are baked. Man! I'm full now.

My weekend looks to be absolutely packed. Hope yours is a good one.


Doyu Shonin/Risa Bear said...

LOVELY stuff!!!!!

DiElla said...

Your bread looks beautiful. I've got some that will go into the oven in about 15 minutes. I can't wait for the smell.

el said...

Goodness, ONE day of baking? For the two of you? I hope you have friends or maybe you're planning on fattening up for the coming cold months? ;) With breads that delicious I would have a hard time resisting having a carb fest.

Actually, I love it when the nights cool enough for me to get the urge to bake again.

That English muffin recipe (love that book) looks like a keeper for this weekend, Kate, so thanks!

Kate said...

risa, thanks.

DiElla, thank you. The smell is really half the payoff, isn't it? What kind of bread did you bake?

El, actually it was half a day, with lots of other things done during that half-day. The English muffins freeze beautifully, so that's easy, and the lone zampano was GONE. The fig-anise breads seem to be holding well. You might think it's an ungodly amount of bread. But that fig-anise batard really isn't all that large. I know the photo had no scale, but it's sort of on the small side. Hope you enjoy making the English muffins!

Cheryl Anderson (SwineInsanity) said...

Your bread looks wonderful... I bake bread too in a bread machine... What I am wondering is how do you store your bread... If mine will fit I put it in a plastic bag or plastic tub.... I wondered a bread box, but do you have to wrap it before you add it into a bread box? IS there an easier way to store it? Hope this is not off topic. Thanks!

Kate said...

Cheryl, not off topic at all. I don't have a bread box and have never used one. My guess though is that bread would still require wrapping for the bread box.

I keep my bread in plastic bags on the counter top if I feel it'll all get eaten within three days. If it hangs around longer, I put it in the fridge inside a plastic bag. Some people swear by simply placing the cut face of the bread down on a wooden cutting board and leaving it out on the counter, but I've always found that the bread dries out before we eat it all if I do this.

Thomas said...

Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm looking forward to diving into bread making season as well now that summer is quickly fading. Your English muffins look wonderful! - something I've never tried but will after looking at your picture!

I noticed you lived in Southeastern Pennsylvania. My siblings all live just north of Philadelphia in Perkasie and Warrington, PA. Pennsylvania has such beautiful stone farm houses, something we don't see in New England.

Kate said...

Thomas, thank you. I hope your foray into English muffin making goes well. If you have a sourdough starter, I recommend you look for the Cheese Board's book and use their recipe. Your library should be able to get it for you through inter-library loan if they don't have it.

I dearly love the stone farmhouses of this region. I especially love to see an old run down one fixed up by new owners who clearly see the beauty in the building materials. In the less developed areas you can also see fallen down stone pile fences which must have once defined fields and pastures. Actually, I'm not sure they were ever properly built fences. They might always have been piles. Pennsylvania has good soil, but a LOT of stone too. It's obvious why the early white settlers built with the stuff.