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Bread Sunday, and just in the nick of time

January 9, 2012

Even for Texas, Dallas has been unseasonably warm throughout December and continued into the new year. I have been biking to and from work everyday (quite a commanding distance, if I do say so myself). I had heard the cold was coming this weekend and I was ready. I stocked up on the fixins for soups, stews, and breads. My kitchen was a flurry of scribbled notes and baggies of ingredients as I satiated my inner mad scientist by indulging in actually measuring things (I generally don’t bake as a result of an aversion to measuring cups). Success! Magic was made in the form of tiny balls of delectable dough.

I absolutely love Rose Levy Beranbaum, I own her Heavenly Cakes book and of course, the Bread Bible. I slightly modified the sponge for her basic hearth dough and experimented from there. The outcome was six different types of rustic dinner rolls.

Porcini-Lilyput Caper, I bought a tiny bag of dried Porcinis and ran them through the food processor, not until dust, but pretty fine before adding it to my mix. At first, I was concerned about adding the capers, those little briny bombs I love so much. I was worried it would kill the yeast…but it didn’t, much to my pleasant surprise.

Lavendar and Blue Corn, the idea for these little beauties was purely aesthetic…at first. They came out a beautiful light blue-purple color like I intended, but the texture on them wasn’t nearly as tough as I would have expected from a corn meal with no fat involved. Beautiful and Delicate.

Hearty Pecan, I wanted a heavy, nutty bread that I could sop up any number of winter soups with and it certainly fit the bill. It also tastes fabulous when slathered with the fruits of my counter-top butter bell and the worlds best jam (I created it last night and I am absolutely sure it is, in fact, the best in the world). The jam was created with fruit scraps (all great things start this way) I had some liquor re-hydrated blueberries awaiting a spot in my next cocktail, some berries from work soaked in Vin Santo from a dessert Saturday night. I also had some left over baked apples and citrus slices. They all made their way into the pot with a half bottle of port and a minimal amount of sugar and reduced to a inky-syrupy flavor explosion (all technical terms).

Herb Du Provence, this is my “basic” dinner roll idea. Gosh it would be so good with an anchovy-roasted garlic butter. Oh look at that, I’m salivating. All of the breads I created are primarily made with whole wheat flour, some vital wheat gluten, and only a minute amount of AP flour. They are hearty and dense and perfect for a winter dinner table.

Buttermilk Oat, this little roll is the quintessential breakfast bread, in the starter for all of these I used honey for the yeast food and I can certainly see a loaf of this bread next to a hunk of honeycomb, a mound of butter, and a big glass of milk to wash it down. I used a buttermilk powder for the flavor and re-hydrated it as a light glaze for all the rolls.

Dark Chocolate-Rye, ah…now this is a bread for a girl like me. I go gaga over pumpernickel and I love the rich taste and texture this bread embodies. I used dark cocoa powder and organic rye flour.  I couldn’t help but to also add little chunks of dark chocolate to the bread. Even with the chocolate, the bread isn’t sweet necessarily…it walks the line. If you want to enjoy it savory I would simply eat it with a heavily salted butter (I love salt and chocolate)…and a slice of bacon! Or, if you want to take it sweet, I would slather on a salted caramel butter (I am about to do this).

I had a blast experimenting in the kitchen (not so much the sticky flour cleanup), but the feasting at midnight as the thunder clapped and the skies opened up and brought a wet winter was well worth the intense bench scraper action later.

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From → The Good Stuff

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