Saturday, February 9, 2008
Just a few days ago, I had two plastic containers of buttermilk bread dough in my refrigerator. Now I have none. On Thursday night, I decided to use one batch of dough to make cinnamon-raisin bread, which is named after Judy, a friend of the author Jeff Hertzberg's, who is a CEO of a large company who supposedly brought her Board of Directors into line by plying them with this bread. I thought I would take it into work, even though there is nobody at work that I must bring into line.
I took it out of the oven around 10:00 Thursday night, and thought I would have one (or two) slices for breakfast on Friday; then I'd take the rest into work, where it could go to rest on somebody else's hips for a change.
But when I took it out of the oven, it was so comical-looking that I decided I might keep it myself. I must have rolled out part of the dough too thinly, so the plump raisins burst through the dough, making one side of the bread all dark and caramely looking. I told Jim to try to find an angle that didn't look deformed.
But he failed.
The decision to keep the whole loaf at home was strengthened after I ate a few pieces, and decided it was too good to waste on the hoi polloi at work.
The general homeliness of this bread made me start wondering about what happens to funny-looking breads at a bakery. Why do you never see them? Shouldn't they be offered as seconds? Do employees just get to eat them? Do squirrels? Surely every loaf cannot turn out perfectly. Aren't some of them overdone? Underdone? Misshapen?
While I pondered this, I ate a third piece of raisin bread, and realized that I had forgotten about Jim. By the time he ate his breakfast, the loaf was half gone and there was no longer any no point in taking it in to the office.
Then on Saturday, our friends David and June Miller came over for dinner before we went to see The Syringa Tree at The Jungle. This is a one-woman tour de force, with Sarah Agnew playing about 40 different characters, male and female, black and white. I highly recommend it.
I made pork tenderloin with apples and calvados sauce, fingerling potatoes with parsley, roasted brussels sprouts, and spring greens with avocado, goat cheese, and almonds. Why are there no pictures of this dinner? I blame Jim. He did take some photos of the third bread from the master recipe, which was just the buttermilk bread dough shaped into a boule.
After a week, the dough picks up a definite tang. I baked this loaf in my steam contraption, and it picked up a lovely brown color and a very nice crust. It worked quite well at sopping up the calvados, cream, shallot, and thyme sauce.
While we were at J.P.'s restaurant after the play, June and David got a phone call from their daughter Catherine, saying that she was in labor. Congratulations--it's a boy! Why do I have no grandchildren? I blame my children.