Spaghetti. Specifically my Sweet Lady Wife's spaghetti. For the 37 years we've been married it has been her specialty. It's the dish I'll never try to duplicate. It's the dish my son always wants on his birthday.
My wife has always served toasted garlic bread with her spaghetti, made using just French bread and Lawry's Garlic Spread. Unfortunately, the stores in are area have stopped carrying it. What would my wife's spaghetti be without her garlic bread?
I decided to make my own spread that would be equal to or better than Lawry's. Here's what I cam up with:
Soidier-Son called late last night and said he would be coming home for a few days. Dad had to make something.
If you've not tried the mixes from King Aurther Flour you owe it to yourself to do so. They are not the cheapect (I thik this one was $6) but they are very high quality. I try to keep one or two on hand for occassions such as this. I can whip out a batch of these with about 30 minutes notice.
I miss baking. Unfortunately, almost all my baking stuff is packed up for the move to the new house. In a couple of months, we'll be in the new house with the new BIG kitchen. Brioche is number one on my list of things to make the instant everything is unpacked. I am already salivating.
In the meantime, I've had to satisfy my yearnings any way I can. I was at the Apple store in the BIltmore the other day and this wonderful smell eminated from WilliamsSonoma as I walked past. Even my decrepid olfactory sense was able to lead me to some Spiced Vanilla Quick Bread stil warm from the oven. I grabbed a package, paid for it, and brought it home.
It's hard to call it baking really - the mix, a couple of eggs, and some water. Oh well. soon. very soon.
I think my third try at Pain a l'Ancienne turned out pretty well. I did three things different this time:
Slightly less hydration. I used slightly less water that it initially looked liked it needed. At the end of the mixing session however it was just right: the dough was clearing the sides of the bowl but sticking to the bottom.
Slightly shorter rise time. I went for 3 hours instead of 3.5 as I did with the previous two batches. The hole structure wasn't quite as nice, but unnoticable unless you compared side-by side photos. I think 3.5 hours may have been pushing it a litle two far.
Correct oven temperature. My oven control is off by about 25 degrees. If I want 475 I have to set it at 500. I forgot this on the previous attempt.
With the dough a little dryer my slashes turned out fine. I also noticed that the loaves rose better in the oven this time. Previously, with the dough so wet (like ciabatta) the stuff kinda just migrated down and I ended up with baguettes that were slightly flat. These are nicely shaped.
I have been struggling to get a plain ol' pullman loaf to come out OK and now I've finally done it. Whith the knowledge I've gained, I think I can go back to my earlier recipe (which was very tasty but the crust was too tough) and probably get it right this time.
This was the second time I have made Pain a l'Ancienne and this time I think I hit it right. After removing the dough from the refridgerator, I let it warm/rise for an additional 30 minutes, for a total of 3 1/2 hours.
And oven time, I've learned is critical to the characteristics of the crust. One batch was pulled from the oven just as the dough's internal temp hit 205. It had a very thin but crunchy crust - exactly the way I like it. The second batch was left in the oven until the dough's internal temp was about 210-213. The crust was noticably thicker. (maybe this is a clue to my crust problems with the pullman loaf.)
As you can see, the extra 30 minutes rise time allowed a beautiful whole structure to form.
This is my first experience making whole wheat bread, made using King Aurther Flour's Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe, and it was very different.
The dough remained wet. It never got to that 'plastic' state like doughs made from white flour. Fortunately, the recipie's wording gave me the hint that would be the case: "knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple."
The second thing is that it didn't rise very much. It did rise the amount proscribed by the recipe, but my wife warned me that whole wheat doughs don't have same rise.
It all turned out well though. Upon first bite my wife was ready to marry me ll over again :-)
this was my second attempt to make a classic pullman loaf from Charles Van Over's book The Best Bread Ever.
The taste was excellent. It wasn't quite so dense this time and my wife enjoyed it. The crust was still way to thick and tough for me though.
One thing I notice about Van Over's recipe is that he spcifies the bread is done at an internal temperature of 205-210F, while The Bread Bakers Apprenticetends to use 190, so perhaps this is the reason for the thick tough crust. I'm going to try a couple of other pullman loaf recipes and see what happens.
My wife is after me to make some whole wheat so that's probably what I'll do next weekend.
My first attempt at Pain a l'Ancienne from Bread Bakers Apprentice.
This recipe was interesting and very different. Rather than two rises, you make the dough using ice cold water, put it in fridge overnight, take it out the next day, and then let it rise 2-3 hours. After that you shape it into six baguettes and slide them into the oven.