Monday, January 1, 2007
I had to find a bread recipe that made two loaves. We dogsat from Thursday until Sunday for the dog (Blue) of a friend (Sarah) of a friend (Teddie). Here is Blue:
Blue is a big dog, a Lab-Huskie mix. He's very sweet and very smart, and I thought it would be fun to have a dog for a few days, and Jim was planning to be home Thursday and Friday, so Blue wouldn't be left alone to get sad and lonesome. It was ideal. Except that around noon on Thursday, Elizabeth called and said, "Blue ran away!" "What!!" said I. "Ran away?!! What? How? When?" Teddie, who happened to be in my office at the time, gathered from my side of the conversation that Blue was gone. She started to cry. Well, to sob, really. Hysterically. (She is very emotional).
Jim and Elizabeth were out in the car searching for Blue, and Jim wouldn't talk to me because he was afraid I might yell at him. It turns out that Jim had decided that Blue should be left out in our back yard to frolic. Only he forgot that our fence has two spots where dogs can escape. We know this because our own dog used to escape until Jim patched the escape routes; since our dog died years ago, the makeshift patches have long since disappeared. Jim remembered one weak spot, but forgot the other one; apparently Blue found it. I didn't want to call Sarah, Blue's owner, because I didn't want to admit that we had flubbed our assignment so early in the game. Wiser heads prevailed, however, reasoning that since Blue had an ID tag, Sarah would be called. Sarah, heretofore having a lovely vacation, called her home phone number and heard a message from Joe, our neighbor across the street: Blue was safe at his house, just waiting to be rescued. I told Teddie, and told her that Jim and Elizabeth would go pick him up, but she said, "No! I don't trust Jim with Blue. I'll go pick him up myself, and take him home with me!" I hung my head in shame. She relented. Jim and Elizabeth fetched the dog, who stayed with us until Sunday with no further trauma. Elizabeth suggested that I should bake a loaf of bread for Joe, our dog-rescuing neighbor. (Yes, this shaggy dog tale is returning to the subject of bread). Excellent idea, I said, but I'm tired of baking bread and giving it away, so I'll bake two loaves. I perused The Italian Baker, and came up with this chocolate bread, which, conveniently, turns out two loaves of delicious, mildly sweet, very chocolatey bread.
It's got both cocoa and chocolate chips in it, and it makes a nice, velvety dough that's soft but manageable. Of course, we had to try it immediately to make sure it was worthy of being given away, so I sliced it while it was still quite warm--warm enough to make the butter melt. The crust was crispy enough and the bread substantial enough so that it didn't lose shape even when it was being sliced too early.
If only I had made a third loaf for Teddie, I could be sure that she would completely forgive us for our haphazard ways.