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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Playing Catch-up

A few breads

Just for the sake of completeness, here are a few of my December breads.

I was working nights right up to Christmas, and we've had a lot of stuff going on at work that required some extra attention, so I haven't been able to blog about my breads.   And I haven't been able to give the bread much thought anyway.

I wasn't able to make any nice Christmas loaves like I wanted to.  Thank goodness I was able to continue making some of these Tartine-esque loaves that got me through the holiday season.  And thank goodness there were so many other things to eat besides bread, this time of the year.

1. Baking 2x100% whole wheat breads and 2x25% Rye/75% whole wheat breads on the same day

These are sourdough Tartine-like loaves
made with 25% rye/ 75% whole wheat  (back 2) and 100% whole wheat (front 2)

The Whole Wheat loaf. 

We ate these both whole wheat loaves quickly: they were good
One of the rye loaves

It also was good, but misshapen.  Gave the better one away.

2 Farine's Idea for Camembert baked within a sourdough boule

This idea sounded a whole lot better than the reality turned out to be.  In theory, it is great: bake a loaf, and then cut it horizontally, scoop out a spot for a camembert cheese round, and when you get to the party, bake it.  People are supposed to tear off bits of the warm bread and dip it in the molten cheese. 

But here's the thing: the bread when it comes out of the oven will burn your fingers as you tear off hunks.  And if you wait a couple of minutes for it to cool, the cheese congeals.
size the cheese in the horizontally cut boule

scoop out holes for the cheese

add butter and the rub

score the loaf for easy gription

plunk in the cheese

ready to go to the party

I baked another 2 whole wheat loaves and took extra camembert just in case we needed more. 
We didn't.  I ate those 2 loaves in December too.

There is, however, a 3-minute window where this is perfection.  And as one of my co-workers said, maybe that's all we can ever expect of perfection: 3 minutes of orgasmic bliss followed by sticky, but quickly hardening goo. 

Well, most people who tried this loved it.  I wasn't as impressed.

3. Some more Tartine-like 17% Rye loaves with 73% by weight 100% whole wheat, no AP flour.

Made 2 of these light rye breads, gave one of these loaves away.  They were good with the leftover nutloaf.

I have given the recipe for this nut loaf before, it seems to be one of our family's traditional holiday foods now.  We eat it hot with cranberries or mushroom gravy, in place of the turkey that everyone else is consuming.  I like the nutloaf the next day, too.  It is good cold, with a bit of mustard, on a slice of these rye breads.

Nut loaf with Rye loaf
I also mixed up some whole wheat dough the same time as this loaf: but I didn't make the bread on the same day.  instead, the dough sat an extra day in the fridge.  I baked it one full day later.  It smelled really sour when forming it.  Perhaps I will blog about it tomorrow, after I slice into it.

Unless I get busy again.

Notes to Myself
  • Once again as end-of-year approaches, I am beginning to re-think the bread blog.  I know the reason the blogging started was because I wasn't able to write anything at work, and I love to write.  And I wanted to make some whole grain bread that I could eat.  Is all that still true?  Or is my writing actually needed at work now?  All December I have been researching and writing, work-related things.  And I have been eating the Tartine-style bread that I happen to love (I can never call it a Tartine bread any more, since I only make these loaves with whole grains, and there is no actual recipe for a 100% whole grain recipe in the Tartine Bread book).  So end of year, start of year: a time for reflection on what the hell it is I'm doing with this blog.  Is it at an end?
  • I was going to do a '10 best loaves' feature this year (whereas last year I did a '10 worst loaves').  But I just haven't had time.  Maybe if things settle down a bit.  Or if I get fired.
  • I really want to explore the chemistry of bread and sourdough more.  Perhaps that is my next general direction in blogging.


  1. The long absence is finally explained. I fell back in blogging towards the end too and barely caught up.
    Happy New Year to you.

  2. Happy New Year to you and your wife!
    And by the way, what I think that Christmas season is not the best time to bake good breads. Breads needs time and concentration. I was very disappointed with my Christmas baking. I failed in trying to connect the tradition with my personal preferences.

  3. stop playing skyrim and get back to blogging! We miss your bread :)
    P & L

  4. If you are getting your bread from my blog, that's only virtual bread.
    Speaking of virtual bread, you can find it in Skyrim too.
    Unlike the bread I make IRL, Skyrim bread only gives you a tiny bit of health though.
    That's because it isn't whole wheat, you can tell from the pictures.

    I don't think anyone will really miss my blog if I stop writing it.
    Or, I could always say something again about bread (or anything else) if I really wanted to.
    Currently I have to do some extra research for work-related stuff, and it (along with Skyrim) is a time-sucker.