07 December 2010

Baking Day Tuesday resumes! Bread, bread and bread

I went a little bread crazy today.  I haven't baked in a while.  I like baking.  I think I always have.  I remember getting a cook book when I was pretty young and being very excited about it.  I also remember deciding it wasn't cool to be in the kitchen and being a bit grumpy about getting cookie sheets for Christmas when my sisters got sleeping bags.  Cool sleeping bags.  Or maybe it was when they got those cool leather-man pliers, or those fun colored lariats.  My gifts always had to do with the kitchen.  Maybe I'm not a natural baker, maybe I have been programmed...  And now that I think of it, those cookie sheets are still at my mom's house.  The cook book probably is too.  Hmmmm.

Anyway, I made three kinds of bread today.  My standby wheat bread, much better than the last time, some pitas and a no-knead dutch oven bread.  Once I got going, I decided that three different doughs at three different stages was maybe not such a good idea.  Add to that the appointment I made at 2:30 and you've got a little bit of a crazy scene in the kitchen.  Thankfully, it worked out well.  The wheat bread raised the second time while the dutch oven bread was baking, the pita dough was punched down and rested while the wheat bread was baking.  It went pretty smoothly, but down to the wire.  My husband walked in to see me frantically spritzing water into the oven, rolling dough balls into pita shapes and shifting cooked things around because my little cooling rack just couldn't handle everything.  I'm sure it was a pretty scary sight.  I finished at 2:15.  Plenty of time to change my shirt and readjust my pony tail.

I've been wanting to make pitas for a while, ever since I ran across a recipe while searching for a good wheat bread recipe, but we don't really use pitas much.  We're more of a bread or tortilla family.  I found a recipe idea for a tuna salad type filling for pitas, and I already had most of the ingredients, so we tried it tonight for dinner.  Not bad at all.  We used all the good pitas though.  Most of them got too thin in the middle and too fat on the edges, so the pocket wasn't really there.   I'll do better next time.  If there is a next time... I have a few other ideas for them.

On to the dutch oven bread.  I lived in Germany for a year and a half.  During that time, I fell in love with the bakeries.  The bread is so different and wonderful.  And the pastries...if only I could make a chocolate croissant.  When I came across this recipe it really caught my attention.  It promised to replicate the bread that I fell in love with in Germany.  The "no knead" part also drew my eye, as my wrists have been giving me trouble lately, so the less work for them, the better.  This recipe makes up for that though, in the lifting and moving of a heavy dutch oven.  I don't have one, so I stole a cast iron pot from my mom.  -She does have my cookie sheets, you know.

I actually started this bread last night.  And I read the ingredient list several times before I believed what I saw.  1/4 tsp of yeast.  I kept looking to make sure it didn't say 1-1/4 tsp, or maybe Tbs.  Nope 1/4 tsp is all.  I mixed up the four ingredients, yeast, water, flour, salt.  No sugar.  How un-American.  I was doubtful that the puny pile of goo would actually rise, but sure enough, this morning it was big and full of bubbles. 

The morning after
 The recipe said to generously dust the towel with flour.  I think I was a bit too generous.  The flour is a bit overwhelming.
In the pot, ready to bake.
 I'm honestly a bit disappointed in the outcome.  The texture and taste is good, but it is flatter than I wanted and it's smothered in flour.  Maybe my pot is too oblong for it to stay round.  It's pretty good with butter though.  I may have to go buy some gouda to put on it so I can close my eyes and pretend that I'm in Germany for the advent.  I'm not giving up on this though.  Mother Earth News has more recipes in this month's magazine to try as well.  I won't be able to perfectly replicate that bread, but I'll enjoy trying and eating what we end up with.


  1. When my hands gave up their good use, I got a bread machine, don't bake the bread in the thing though, the crust is too um, raspish, for lack of a better word. Sometimes modern conveniences aren't too bad.
    Your wheat bread looks so tempting, mmmmm!

  2. Sounds like you had quite the assembly line going in your kitchen! I've had a few disasters as far as bread is concerned. I usually keep trying until I get it (somewhat) right. Looks like you did just fine. If all else fails, you can fry the bread dough in oil and serve it with chili. :)

  3. Those pitas look pretty darn good for your first time and you know, I've never, ever thought about making my own, but every once in a while we make our own version of slouvaki and it would be nice to make our own pitas, thanks for the inspiration!


  4. I keep meaning to make the no knead bread. First I saw the recipes that said you put it in the refrigerator overnight and thought, "great!" Now the only recipes I see say to keep it at 70 degrees. So I don't know which way to do it. What did you do?

  5. For this no knead bread, I just left it on the counter over night. I figure that was close enough to 70. I made butter horns for Thanksgiving and that recipe said to put it in the fridge over night. I just do whatever the recipe says.