Wednesday, January 28, 2009

breads of the world

It's like the United Nations over here, y'all! So far from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" we've eaten the Marble Rye, Anadama Bread, Greek Celebration Bread and Poolish Focaccia. Poolish is a pre-ferment like sourdough starter, not something gross like it sounds.

The Greek Celebration Bread was the base for Christopsomos and Lambropsomo, which I didn't make because: fruit and nuts in the bread. I'm not a huge fan of inclusions, especially loud ones. The basic bread, however, is pretty yummy. It's sort of like those orange butterflake rolls you get at bakeries, minus the injection of Type 2 Diabetes.

The focaccia was amazing, I am not yanking your chain. John put it well when he said that he's never really been a fan of focaccia, because it's usually bland and hard and gives him Cap'n Crunch Mouth (a condition I'm pretty sure I isolated and named), but this was pillowy and soft, a little bit chewy, with a slightly crunchy crust, and entirely delicious. We dipped some of it, and ate some of it as steak and avocado sandwiches. Tasty.

All this has made me realize that a good recipe makes a huge difference. And I've never really done mise en place, because I'd rather build something the wrong way eight times than read the directions, but even though it takes a little extra time in the beginning, it is absolutely worth it. And being a shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of gal, it saves me time and resources when I don't have to redo the recipe after I've ruined it and dumped the wrong ingredients in at the wrong time--remember the three time coffee cake? So I'm a convert.

I've ruined my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. I've got so many substitutions going on now that I've lost control of the recipe and I can't find out which one of them is giving me grief. They keep turning out cakey, and is there anything worse than a cakey chocolate chip cookie? That's why I've never liked oatmeal cookies in the past, and now I've torn it. Let me know which of these you think is the problem:

1 C butter
2 eggs
1/3 C honey
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t hot water
2 C whole wheat flour
2 C rolled oats
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 C chocolate chips

I think it might be too much flour--I was having trouble with the dough being super gooey, so I added some flour, and maybe that's where it all went wrong. See, I'm okay at following a recipe, but I can't create worth a darn.


Sarah said...

So you'll be posting that focaccia recipe soon, then? Oh, and the cookies? I'm not a mastermind baker, but anytime I start substituting too much in my cookies, they ALWAYS turn out cakey. That doesn't much help you, but at least you know you're in good company...or, at're in some kind of company.