Sunday, May 6, 2007


Betty is my pink KitchenAid Mixer. I bought her immediately after I tried to make Brioche by hand. Yes, I attempted to incorporate something like a pound of butter into the dough by hand. I thought I was going to die. I'm sure there are purists out there who do all their baking by hand, and make indescribably wonderful brioche... but... uh... I'll take all the help I can get!

Here's a close up of her chrome. She's such a trouper, can mix the stiffest doughs, the fluffiest merrangues, the creamiest potatos. She's wonderful.

Today we're making focaccia from the Bread Bakers Apprentice.* He says to drizzle herb infused olive oil over the top of the bread prior to baking, but I like adding a bit of Rosemary (fresh - but from the store... my little plant still hasn't recovered from what I clipped last year!) to the dough even before it rises. It's a two-day recipe, so I mixed the dough yesterday, and let it ferment in the fridge overnight. I also used a little bit, about a cup, of wheat flour - you know 'cause I like to live dangerously. ;) I used sea-salt instead of regular salt, and the dough tastes a bit salty. I'm not sure if it's because sea salt is a finer grain & thus more ends up in a teaspoon than regular salt, or if I made one of my classic mistakes using a tablespoon when I was supposed to use a teaspoon. I don't think I did. In any case, I used the same spoon when I measured out the yeast - so it should be okay. It actually rose quite a bit in the fridge. Now I've got to leave it out for about three hours before shaping it & panning it. Um... well... according to the recipe I was supposed to do that part yesterday and then refridgerate it once panned. But, you know... living recklessly again.

It's going to make a LOT of dough, I'll split it, and make one pizza and one pan of focaccia. Maybe I'll bring the focaccia to work tomorrow. Don't you wished you worked with me? You don't, by the way, you really really don't.

* Side note about the Bread Bakers Apprentice. There's a part in the cookbook where he absolutely rhapsodises about THE GREATEST BREAD IN THE UNIVERSE, I mean, the story involves a man throwing a baguette against the wall and the phrase "you've ruined me" (for all other breads). Anyway, the story cracks me up, but it also made me curious about THE BEST BREAD IN THE UNIVERSE which of course comes from a bakery in Paris. So when I was in Paris last year I tracked down the bakery. It involved a few different metro transfers & wandering down a decidedly non-touristy business & shopping district. The bakery was, seriously, just a hole in the wall (although a very fancy hole in a very expensive looking wall) down a side street. When I went in there were no other customers! Just four very stern looking older French women wearing aprons and looking... well like they weren't going to want to hear my story about the cookbook and the guy throwing the other bread against the wall, and did they know which bread I was talking about? So I glanced around for a bit and ordered their Pain Poilane (the baker's speciality), not THE BEST BREAD IN THE UNIVERSE. The Pain Poilane (aka pain ordinaire was in fact a 7 lb round - had to be at least a 14" in diameter. It's supposed to feed a family for a week. It was really really tasty. Like a whole-wheat mild sourdough. It has an amazingly complex flavor considering all he uses is flour, water, salt & yeast. But I won't bore you with the science of bread making. Just wanted to leave you with the mental picture of me on my return trip to Gorgeous's apartment carying a giant loaf of bread in a bright pink tote bag.

I miss Paris.


Gorgeous said...

Oh, Paris misses you, too! I so remember that bread (and not just because my maman ordered a Croque Monsieur made with Pain Poilane when she was here). Mostly I remember it because I was eating it for like a week after you left. And every bite was delicious!!

Magatha said...

That's one hot tomato of a stand mixer there! Better keep her in at night!