Friday, January 4, 2008

sunrises and bread

Thank you so much for all of your kind and encouraging comments about our new family member. When April rolls around, you'll be hearing every detail, I'm sure! I foresee many trips to Seattle in my future this next year - I can't wait to welcome this sweet baby boy into our family in person.

This was part of our sunrise yesterday - it was stunning. The sky was maybe even prettier later - but the wind was blowing like 100 mph at the time - and after I took this photo I was frozen!! It did turn out to be a fairly nice day - and today looks even better. When I finish posting this, I'm heading down to the Arb for a walk.

I have been trying to catch up on my blog reading - I have to read every single post I've missed, so if I haven't left you a comment yet, never fear - I'll be there! Mark even loaned me his laptop so I could sit by the fireplace or look out over the lake while I'm catching up. What a sweetie! You all have been busy - it's so fun to see all of your holiday decorations and celebrations - thanks for sharing with me!

I'm baking bread - a couple people who live here in Minneapolis have put out a new cookbook - Bread in 5 Minutes a Day - or something like that. It's similar to the No-Knead bread - but really much quicker. This was my first loaf - I was supposed to shape a 1 lb glob of very wet dough - they said about the size of a grapefruit. I only pulled the size of a peach. Oops. However, even though it wasn't a great loaf, we enjoyed it - the flavor was very good. I made French onion soup from scratch - and it was lovely with the bread and shredded Swiss cheese.

This morning I pulled the right amount of dough, but it stuck to the peel when I tried to put it on the baking stone - so it's very misshapen. And then I was blogging when it should have come out of the oven, so a little - well, BLACK on the bottom. I'm pretty sure I'll find a way to eat most of the loaf anyway! lol My big question to you bread bakers out there: I'm supposed to generously sprinkle corn meal on the baking stone - but it burns - so my house smells like burnt cornmeal instead of fresh baked bread. The bread isn't burned (if I pull it out at the right time!), but I was kind of hoping more for the smell of baked bread! What am I doing wrong?? I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime, I'm going to keep experimenting - and reading - and I'll keep you posted.


Kitt said...

Pretty loaf! (And sunrise, too)

I tried using corn meal and had the same problem, so I switched to wheat bran instead and that doesn't burn as easily. But I also bake in a dutch oven rather than on a stone, and for the last 15-20 minutes I put a cold, upside-down cookie sheet under the pot to cut the heat there a little.

Lynne said...

Kris - the picture of the sunrise is absolutely beautiful!

I've never baked bread except in a breadmaker from a boxed mix. So I can't help you with the cornmeal problem. But the bread looks delicious. Would you share the recipe?

Anonymous said...

A sure fire way to get a perfect loaf of bread without the scorching is to do as Kitt suggested and invest in a 4 or 5 quart Dutch oven if you don't already have one. Place your dough on a parchment sheet of paper sprayed with PAM and let it rise. Preheat the Dutch oven with its lid in your oven to 450 degrees. Lift the parchment paper with the dough and place in the Dutch oven. Cover. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove lid and bake until bread temperature reaches 200 degrees, about 5 minutes longer. Voila! A gorgeous loaf of bread. The parchment paper will not burn. You can also put the risen dough directly in the Dutch oven without the parchment paper. You should not oil the Dutch oven. The bread will come out of the oven with no problem. Good luck!

kris said...

Kitt and Shirley - thank you. I have the Dutch oven, so tomorrow I'll try that out. I read tonight that another way to avoid the corn meal scorch is to put parchment or Sil-Pat on the baker's stone to keep the loaf from sticking (instead of using cornmeal). I'll no doubt give that a try too! :) The bread I made today had a really nice crust, crumb and flavor - so I'd like to get this to work. Thanks for the suggestions!

Lynne - I'm debating about the recipe - I think their book just came out - and I'm guessing the Minneapolis paper will do a review or interview with them and the recipe will be printed. Until then, I kind of hate to. But I'm thinking on it. I think they have a website, so I need to visit that - they might have their basic dough printed there. Stay tuned! :)

Susie said...

Hi Kris,
Just a quick hello to offer my congratulations on your grandson to be.
Truly one of life's greatest blessings..

Kitt said...

I do the original no-knead recipe, which is all over the Internets. Three cups bread flour, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp yeast and 1 1/2 cups water. Let it sit covered for 20 hours or so, fold it over a couple times in the bowl and let sit another 2 hours, fold it again and put toppings on, then bake in a preheated pot as Shirley noted. Easy-peasy and delicious.

Step by step instructions here

Gina said...

Oh your little loaf is so cute. Sounds like an interesting method.. let me know how it goes please.. I don't have a baking stone. We usually let the breadmaker make the dough then bake in a loaf tin or free form on a tray. Your french onion soup sounds lovely.. and what a gorgeous sunset :O)

Toni said...

That bread looks so good. I cant wait to see if you continue with this method.

Congrats on being a new Grandma. You will have so much fun.

Happy New Year Toni

Rosehaven Cottage said...

What a stunning sunrise! WOW!!!! So gorgeous! It reminds me of a box of crayons.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage