Sunday, November 02, 2008

King Arthur Semolina Rye Bread

Sunday, November 2, 2008
Sarah and I have been back from Paris for a few weeks, but I haven't gotten around to blogging. For one thing, I saw all those beautiful women in Paris, none of whom seemed to have an extra ounce on her, and I got enthusiastic--briefly--about losing some of my own extra ounces, not to mention pounds. So no baking. Although, I have to say that none of those beautiful, thin French women seemed to be dieting.

That is not a beautiful French woman; it's my beautiful daughter, looking very French.
I had good intentions of taking pictures of food. But then I got so enraptured with eating it that I never wanted to bother taking pictures. And it did not escape my intention that no one else was taking pictures of their food. After I had already caused some raised eyebrows with my mangling of the French language, it seemed a little gauche to bring out the camera.

This is the best I can do--numerous wine glasses, and, if you look very carefully, you can see a basket of bread.
We had a fabulous time, and it was so much fun seeing the city with Sarah, who had never been there before, is very enthusiastic, and loves to eat good food and drink good wine, both of which we had in abundance. I was musing about how if something happened to Jim, maybe I would like to find a nice Frenchman who had a lovely apartment in Paris and who spoke good English.
"Um, but Mom," Sarah said, "aren't French men supposed to be sort of ... jerks?"
"Maybe as a rule," I said, "but not this one."
"Are you sure?"
"Sarah, do you know what he says to me?"
"He says, "'Marie, tu est parfait.'"
Well, she had to admit he sounded pretty good. I was getting a little irritated at Jim, who has never once told me I was parfait, or even perfect, but then I realized I had to cut him a little slack since I'd made up my French second husband out of whole cloth.

But after a while, the memory of all those svelte French women faded away, and I decided I would lose weight at some later time. Anyway, would eats more bread than the French? It's clearly not bread that is the culprit.
(I wasn't totally away from my oven last week--I baked a big pan of brownies and three dozen oatmeal raisin cookies for the volunteers at the Minneapolis Obama headquarters, but I forgot to take pictures. They were good, though). The King Arthur brownie recipe is excellent.
In fact, it was the King Arthur brownie recipe that led me to the bread I made this weekend. I had been trying to decide whether to bake a rye bread or a semolina bread, so when I saw the recipe for Chewy Semolina Rye Bread, I knew that was the Bread of the Week.
The bread calls for three flours: rye, semolina (I used durum--maybe the coarser semolina would have worked better here), and bread flour, along with a little sugar, olive oil, water, yeast, and vital wheat gluten. The only change I made was to substitute caraway seeds for dried onion flakes. (Because rye bread isn't rye bread without caraway seeds, in my opinion, and I have a food-snobbish objection to dried onion flakes).
This is a much easier bread to make than Rose's rye bread recipes or her recipes using durum wheat flour, but the extra steps in her recipes more than pay off. This bread was good--it's pretty hard to have a loaf of freshly baked bread that doesn't have something to recommend it--but it's definitely not a great bread.
All the ingredients are mixed together and kneaded briefly. (Rose's recipes generally call for longer kneading, less yeast, slower rising, and more periods of rest). It rises only once in the bowl, for only about an hour.
Then it's shaped, and it rises again for another hour or so. (Rose's breads usually have a total of three rises).

Then, after it's risen, you cover it quickly with an egg wash, slash it, and bake it.

After I made my first slash, I realized that the bread already was forming a natural slash lengthwise down the middle of the loaf, and that I should have just emphasized that. But it was too late for thinking.

It was nice to have a loaf of fresh bread again. But the delicate taste of durum flour, which is what I love about it, was totally overwhelmed by the rye flour and caraway seeds, which is, after all, what I love about rye bread. But, as it turned out, there seemed to be no particular advantage to mixing the two; I was hoping that the combination would somehow be synergistic, but no such luck. Even though I used my burst-of-steam gadget, this loaf was not a good crusty loaf of bread--its crust was more like that of a sandwich loaf than a peasant loaf. It was chewy and it tasted good, but it was not the spectacular bread I was hoping for.


evil cake lady said...

Oh well, at least you got a nice loaf of fresh bread, even if it wasn't what you were hoping for. You sound like you're becoming quite an expert bread baker!
Thanks for sharing some of your Paris trip! Sarah could indeed pass as a beautiful French lady, and your story about your possible future French husband was hilarious!

Melinda said...

I must say I am disappointed with your Paris write up. It looks like something I would write up. Not one Eiffle Tower picture? Pinknest has more training to do with you about how to do holiday break write ups!

Your daughter is beautiful! Did she get some French men chat up lines?
I got my bottom pinched in Sicily, when I was 45. They must like them old and fat there or aren't very fussy.

The bread looks pretty darn good.
And you know Jim would call you a parfait if you asked him.

Jim said...

Mais, oui!!!

Doughadear said...

Hi Marie
Glad your back from Paris and back to posting your lastest bread. This one may not be your favourite but it sure does look good. Sarah's photo is lovely - she can easily pass as French. The food must have been heavenly as there is no trace of it on the table.

jini said...

good for jim getting in his two cents and in french too!!
sarah looks lovely and like she is thoroughly enjoying her vacation with mom. i am jealous of the two you making this wonderful trip together.
it's good to see you back to baking and hopefully that will get me started too. it's good to have you back at the blog. :)

breadbasketcase said...

The bread was actually better as toast this morning, assuming that you like rye toast, of course, which I do. I was getting quite fond of my mythical French husband until I had to remind myself that he was a myth.

Hmm, I thought to myself, Melinda must have written a lovely account of her trip to Bruges which I somehow missed, because otherwise she wouldn't be critical of my report since that would be an outrageous case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Here is a link to more pictures, none of which is the Eiffel Tower.
Your friend,
The Kettle


That was a particularly memorable meal--a five-course lunch that spread out over three hours. We both ate every scrap of all five courses! It was wonderful.

It was such a pleasure. Isn't it nice to have adult daughters?

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

tu est parfaite chérie! you certainly bake perfect bread. and sarah does indeed look trés française et belle! what a wonderfeul experience to share.

my heart is divided: ny, hope nj, s.f., and paris but my mouth like french the best!

Anonymous said...

*stops conga line*

Well, it IS the day after the election, you know...

OK, Marie, I am SO glad you are back! I have never been to Paris, but your story reminds me of that stupid book on how French women don't get fat. I do a lot of things they do, actually. Farmer's Market? Check. Walk a LOT in a big city? Check. Think the whole gym concept is overdone and overrated? CHECK.

But, then, as I walk home from that market, past the gym, and up to the apartment...I bake. With butter. With sugar.

I suppose I should reel it in a bit so I can lose weight and gain it back at the holidays :-P

Bread looks great, dear, even though I don't like rye. My great aunt and uncle always had rye at their house, and a trip there was boring with a capital B, so yeah...

Smiles and have a great week!
Laura NYC

PS: Loved this line from Miss Melinda, "They must like them old and fat there or aren't very fussy."

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Thank you for your "trip report". I would never be critical of its lack of content, unlike some (ahem, Melinda) ;)

I mean really, how can one expect more than 3 pictures from a trip to Paris, the City of Lights, the Cradle of the Croissant and Baguette, the Culinary Capital, the Geo-center of Gastronomy? I thought 3 pictures was just right. I'm sure your loyal readers would have found 4 pictures to be excessive. ;)

I kept my ears pricked last night to hear our president-elect mention the vital role that the grassroots lemon square creators played in his victory. There must have been an unfortunate last minute edit....

Don't forget to bring a plate of them to his house warming in January!

What's that? Oh Yes I Can join your conga line, Laura in NYC, Yes I Can! (placing large fruited hat on head)

A Giddily Joyous Chris in RI

breadbasketcase said...

Visiting Paris again made me want to give you a special thank you--when I was there the first time, I would never have imagined that I had it in my power to turn out a pretty darned good baguette or croissant, owing all to The Bread Bible, of course. (How is that translated into French?)

Laura in NYC,
You think it's the baking that does us in? I guess French women don't bake much because everyone lives just a few steps from some wonderful boulangerie. But we're not likely to stop baking, are we?
I totally agree with you about the gym concept--so glad I grew up in a time when people didn't compare their workout times and their water bottles.

Chris in R.I.,
Oh, I know exactly where his speech got edited. Right after he said, "And thanks to all the not-so-young people who went knocking on the doors of perfect strangers," there was a line where he gave a special shout-out to Marie in Minneapolis with her fund-raiser lemon bars, but his people made him take it out because they didn't think that he should be singling people out.
"Giddily joyous" is just right!

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

it would translate as "le bible de pain"! isn't it weird that bread in french means pain as in torture in english!

breadbasketcase said...

Oh, of course! I forgot that bible was the same in both languages.