No, I am not trying out a new recipe. As I was manipulating dough for a loaf of sourdough this morning it occurred to me that there is something sensual about a smooth soft ball of dough. One can tell by the way the dough feels under one's fingers whether or not it is going to be a successful loaf of bread. This morning at 6am I stirred up the dough using a formula I committed to memory. Why so early? I was up at five, unable to go back to sleep, so what better way to fill the time than make bread? Plus, I noticed last night that the house was breadless- well, except for the pretzel rolls that I baked last night- more on that, later. I refuse to buy bread any more since it is so much cheaper ( and much more staisfying) to make my own. This morning I decided to use the stretch and fold method rather than kneading the dough in the KA ( KitchenAid) since I had been having problems with my sourdough getting flaccid as it did its final rise. Flaccid and sensual in reference to bread? Hmmm, maybe I do need to get out more... It is an amazing transformation when the dough begins to come together- it goes from a shaggy messy-looking ball of yuck into a smooth, shiny, obedient thing that promises to behave once it gets into the oven. I love the way the little bubbles of gas appear under the suface as the dough does its thing. I have found that on any given day I can use the same recipe, the same timing, the same temperatures, and I will get totally different results. Sometimes the dough just refuses to open up- it remains tight-grained, which is acceptable but not preferable. Other times it almost leaps up in the oven, rising and spreading perfectly, opening up at the slashes, and showing the gluten strans and tinny blisters on the outside. I love it. I know I will never be a master bread maker but that is what makes it so fun- I love a challenge and as soon as I feel I have conquered the challenge I become bored and I move on. Unfortunately I sometimes forget to write down a recipe and I never go back to it. That is one purpose for this blog- to remind me what I have and haven't done. I was searching through my pictures on the computer this morning and came across a dessert that I had loved but I had forgotten about- so here it is! Well, there it is up there ( my first attempt at uploading a picture to my blog!) I even forget about equipment that I have. I made this bread baker from flower pots and it works wonderfully- I had just forgotten that I had it since it is too large to hang around in the kitchen and was lurking in my garage...It isn't pretty but it works and I will use it to make the loaf of bread that is now working its magic on the counter. I will try to remember to take a picture when it is done so you can see how good the clay pot works. Still haven't found the damn camera but I can take a picture with my phone. Ciao for now.
Not Quite NigellaThe cooking, eating and travel blog of a hungry blogger from Sydney, Australia featuring original recipes, interviews and articles on all things food @