Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Presents, Part II


Saturday, December 23, 2006
Our neighbors who didn't get their bread last weekend because they were in London are now back in Minneapolis, more cultured than they were before, and they thought that I'd forgotten their caraway rye. But it was they who had forgotten that I have a mind like a steel trap. And so I baked them their bread and took it over to their house. They were quite pleased and thought it would be delightful with their planned pot roast dinner.
I was delighted that my slashing technique has become much better since my first attempt at caraway rye, which tasted delicious but had overly timid slashes. (See March 18, 2006 entry). Now, with my sharp French slashing knife, it looks much better.

10 comments:

chanit said...

How nice !

rose said...

what a splendid looking bread!

i've just enjoyed a slice of the raisin pecan now that i've gotten past my 10 loaf obsession or is it 11 with the no knead bread.

my computer is back in action after two weeks in the computer hospital and i'm sad to admit that my sanity seems totally dependent on my computer being alive and fully functional.

merry xmas and happy new year!
rose

Anonymous said...

This bread looks so professional. It has perfect color too. Did you get to eat half of it with them?
Did your friends get stuck in the fog at Heathrow? Several friends children were stuck in Paris trying to get home. Stuck in Paris...how awful for them! But the fog lifted so they had to come home.
I'm about to use my Kichen Aid for the first time. I am so excited Marie!! How sad am I!
Did you get any cool 'baker kit' for Christmas? I got a couche cloth. It says not to wash it. It must get nasty after a bit, don't you think?
Perhaps that is the hard to recreate taste of French bread: old couche cloth! Yum.
I haven't done the Bagels yet. That is what I am going to do now. I was too tired to do it last night. But we have an extra holiday here tomorrow. So we will have bagels for Boxing Day instead.
Will report to you tomorrow. Cheers and Merry Christmas to you. Melinda

Anonymous said...

Marie, The bagels came together beautifully and were ready on the table at 2pm (I didn't get to bed till 0530 as I started late in the evening...too pooped from Christmas dinner)
The bagel dough was like silk. I love my new Kitchen Aid. Although some of the dough got up around the top of the beater shaft and had me worried for a while. The way the dough hook attaches is not really user friendly, is it? I guess it is that way for a reason. They certainly have had a few years to change the design if it needed it. All the same it is rather fiddlely.
Back to the bagels... The boiling part was easy. They floated like they had little life preservers on them. Bless them! And I am so pleased as I think they came out absolutely perfect! They were so wonderful to eat too. I will never enjoy a bought bagel as much as those!
I was going to send this to you as an E-mail but your E address has disappeared. I was going to send you some pics. If you are interested, send me a E-mail. (Do you still have my E-mail address?)
So...I will make Brioche for the New Year.
I am going to have to make a pie too, as I made Rose's cream cheese pie crust and I made a huge error. Pie crust shirvelled and shrinky. Rose says I have to get on the bike and do it again. Bagels huge success- pie crust a big failure. The ying and yang of baking. Cheers, Melinda P.

breadbasketcase said...

Rose,
I'm glad your computer is back and you're reconnected with the outside world.
One year ago today I was browsing through The Bread Bible trying to decide which bread to try first! What an amazing year this has been--I wonder if I will ever discover something else that gives me as much pleasure as baking bread has done. Maybe if I ever have grandchildren....

breadbasketcase said...

Melinda,
I am waiting eagerly for your bagel report. I made the Dutch Baby for Christmas breakfast. It didn't occur to me that it wouldn't puff, because I've made it before with great results, but it didn't puff. I took it out of the oven and started laughing at its sad, flat look. My children both looked at it and said, "Mom, you ruined Christmas!" (A family joke).

Anonymous said...

Dear Marie,
I wrote an extemely long comment about 3 hours ago...do you not have it? (I always seem to have long comments, hum.) I wanted to send some pictures to you via your email, but your email address has disappeared. They were special pictures, just for you. Let me know if you would like to see them.
I will repeat my bagel comments.
Well...They were simply wonderful. It sounds so braggy, but they were/are the best bagels. We have horrible bagels here. Donut shaped pretend bagels that are suppose to be chewy but are just stale tasting plastic bread.
I used Peter Reinhart's recipe. It was studied carefully as if military coo was to be undertaken.
I used Canadian 15 protein flour, malt syrup and boiled with bicarb of soda. I got to use my Kitchen Aid...so nice. But one complaint. The attachment gizmo is rather fiddlely, don't you think? Not very user friendly; but KA has certainly had time to modify the design if they thought it was necessary.
Back to the perfect Bagels. The dough was like satin and so easy to work with. The boiling part was really easy. They floated like they had little life preservers attached. Bless them! The eating part was fun too. I felt like for a moment I was back in America. Lovely. We ate ours with some local ly smoked salmon and cream cheese. (was in long queue at the posh butchers to get Turkey and salmon. Talked to guy in line for 40 mins. He has just moved to my village. Turned out to be well known actor, John Hannah, whom I didn't recognise. He was so sweet.Name dropping...sorry)
I got a bakers couche for present. It says not to wash it at all. I was thinking it must get rather rank after a while. Perhaps this is the hard to recreate flavour of French bread...manky couche cloth!
Better go. Do you still have my E address? If you want to see my perfect bagels, let me know. I would love to show them to you.
Cheers. Melinda P.

Anonymous said...

Marie, I forgot to say, I wrote to Rose and asked for her Cream cheese recipe for pie crust. I really messed it up because I didn't rechill the pastry after rolling it out. It was not so good. Shrinky, shrivelled tough crust. Rose says I have to get on the bike and redo it. I felt I had really let her down. It had gone well till I baked it. That is my Dutch baby story. I get so tired at Christmas I usually mess something up. Last year we forgot to eat whole casserole of extra dressing in oven. Burnt to a crisp. The Amish would like me as I always have a imperfection to show God. Cheers, Melinda

breadbasketcase said...

Melinda,
I would love to see pictures of your bagels. I don't know why my email address isn't on the blog any more--because they updated it to make it easier, I guess, which, of course, always makes it harder. It's majawolf@msn.com
I'm so glad that your bagels turned out--I felt partially responsible in some irrational way because I talked up the homemade bagels so much and said I had no problems with them, so I'm happy the same was true with you.
I looked back over the directions for the Dutch Baby and couldn't find a thing I had done wrong. I know that there is a rational, scientific explanation, but I don't know what it is.
I'm envious of your new couche! I don't have one; nor do I have a banetton. My best gadget so far is the French slashing knife.

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