Saturday, December 02, 2006
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Number 82! I've done it--with nearly a month to spare! (And, by the way, here is my horoscope for today: You subscribe to the idea of trying everything, or most things, once. That's what makes today such an adventure.).
But it's very odd because I feel almost like crying. There were many days, especially in July, when I really didn't want to turn on the oven, and there were weekends when I felt like I was a slave to my bread-rising schedule. But somehow I feel more melancholy than triumphant.
What am I going to do with my weekends now? What will duplicate the satisfaction of crossing another bread off my list? But before I get too weepy, I should talk about the challah.
This bread was one of the most delicious ones that I've made. Alas, it was not picture perfect, as you will see from the pictures. Jim tried his best to disguise the fact that the top of the bread, rather than being shiny-glazed and full of seeds, was stretchy looking whitish bread dough. I'm not sure if I braided too tightly (or not tightly enough), or if the dough didn't have quite enough flour, or if I didn't let it rise enough after it was shaped so that there was too much oven spring. (A year ago I didn't know what oven spring was).
Anyway, the mixing went swimmingly, the rising took place nicely on schedule, so that I could go to a one-year-old friend's birthday party (Happy birthday, Anton!) between risings, and the braiding, following the directions on pp. 72-74, looked quite good. So I was not prepared for the shock when I opened the oven door and found that the braiding was somehow on the sides of the loaf and the top was just plain old bread dough. I thought about re-glazing it, but decided to just wait and see what happened. When it came out of the oven, I told Jim he had a challenge ahead of him. He took a look and said, "whoa! What happened here?" Note to Jim: these are not words of encouragement. I told him to take disguising pictures, but he failed to work miracles.
Here is a full-on picture of the challah from hell (chell?):
A slightly disguised photo of the same.
But all was forgiven when I sliced the bread and ate it. I had wondered whether it would lack the nice buttery flavor of the typical white bread, or whether the five eggs would make it tough. But the bread was very rich and it tasted great with just a little butter. Jam or honey would have been nice options, but I didn't want to disguise that fresh-from-the oven taste. Tomorrow I'll have it for breakfast, and will have two big decisions to make: jam or honey? toasted or not?
But now I must take a moment to wax nostalgic. What an amazing year this has been! Not only have I had wonderful bread every week, but I've also met some extraordinary people through this blog. I appreciate all the people who popped in now and then to watch my progress and to leave warm, funny, encouraging, and helpful comments. And, of course, I especially thank Rose Levy Beranbaum, who knows everything about bread, and quite a lot about life, and who has never once taken me to task for messing up one of her beautiful breads.
But I don't need to get too sentimental because I'm not leaving the blogosphere even though my project is over. Stay tuned for: lists of favorite breads, new baking adventures, a blow-by-blow description of a kitchen remodeling job, and, eventually, pictures of breads baked in a new Wolf oven. (What other kind of oven could a Wolf kitchen have?)
Posted by Marie at 5:13 PM