Perhaps my Saturday entry on aging parents was a bit of a downer. Not many comments were received…
This weekend, between the errands and other odds and ends, was one of progressive baking. I started Saturday morning and will conclude Monday afternoon. There were three menu items:
The first was a French baguette. I’ve dabbled a little in bread making but haven’t really taken the time to become good (read, “consistent”) at it. The San Francisco Chronicle did a series of articles on wood ovens last time I was there and I had a recipe for rustic bread from one of those articles that I wanted to try. Also, the latest issue of Living magazine had several bread recipes in it. This prompted me to finally get our the Kitchen Aid mixer and bake.
What I’m really looking for is to be able to consistently create a loaf with a good, crunchy crust and a tangy, spongy interior. One of the key steps, short of making my own sourdough starter to hand down from generation to generation, is to create a small batch of starter that sits on the counter overnight. Starter is just flour, water, and a pinch of yeast. By giving it twelve or move hours to ferment, the dough is imparted with more flavor.
Top left: The starter about fourteen hours after starting. Top right: Kitchen Aid mixer is out, plugged into a converter (you should see it go when I forget the converter!), and is ready to do the kneading. Lower left: After eight minutes of kneading, the gluten is starting to form and the dough has a smoother and more elastic appearance. Lower right: After two hours of rising. Below: The finished product after being punched down, allowed to rise again in the refrigerator overnight, then shaped into logs and given one final rise before baking.
The second and third items on the menu are pumpkin-related. One is finished and the other still has some work to do, so I’ll write more about those tomorrow. Meanwhile, let me leave you with this beautiful sunset from Friday evening, taken from the Thong Lor BTS station looking southwest through the construction site of the Noble Remix condo project on Sukhumvit 36.