artos: Greek celebration breads

Greek celebration breadWhen making my way through a cookbook, I often have trouble deciding which recipe to complete next. This is especially true for Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  The great thing about bread is that it rarely breaks the bank. So theoretically, I could complete the rest of the formulas from start to finish in the order they appear in the book. This, I believe, was the route taken by those who participated in the BBA Challenge (by the way, is this still a thing?). So far, however, I have just been wandering from this formula to that one, deciding which to make on a whim.

However, in the interest of order, I decided earlier this week that I would complete the remaining recipes in the order they appear. Noting that I had two remaining Greek celebration breads to make, I decided to bake both in one day. Pictured above is the standard bread, shaped into a boule.

Below is an adapted version of Lambropsomo. I kneaded dark raisins and slivered almonds into the dough, and braided it with the 3-braid method.

lambropsomoI finished the standard bread with the optional glaze, but left the second without. I must say, there is, indeed, a place for a good glaze; but for the most part, I think I am a no-glaze kind of person.

Here are a few photos from the process:

bouleraisins and almondslambropsomoabout to braidbraidedbraidedAnd now, I have completed 35 of Reinhart’s formulas. Percentage complete: 63.6%

Also, the peas are growing on my deck!

deck garden: peas

deck garden: peas

rich man’s brioche – and blog’s first birthday

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On June 20th, 2012, “flat-leaf parsley” was born. To celebrate its first birthday, I made some brioche. This is the rich man’s version of brioche in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (33rd recipe; 60.0% of total formulas complete). I made this bread completely with unbleached bread flour. I rarely make bread without attempting to add at least some whole grain. But, with its sixteen ounces of butter, this bread really had nothing healthy going for it anyway. 🙂

2013-06-20 16.52.56Also, allotment update: fava beans seem to be growing well.

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ciabatta – biga version

ciabattaIt took me a while to gain the courage to cut into this ciabatta — my 32nd recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (2001). I wanted some time to savor the possibility of having produced air pockets in the crumb. I made the poolish version of this ciabatta last July. And while the bread certainly turned out well (you can check it out here), the presence of air pockets seemed as elusive as ever.

So while I delayed the cutting of this latest venture, I checked the progress on my “deck” garden.

2013-06-15 18.45.25I was able to pull a few radishes:

radishesAnd as you can see, the twining of the green beans has begun. Very exciting.

green beansBack to the bread:

2013-06-15 14.42.33When I returned my attention to the bread and finally cut through the crust, I admittedly was incredibly pleased. To be sure, there were no huge air pockets. But, the suggestive presence of a few holes throughout the crumb provided me the hope that perhaps my bread-baking skills are slowly but surely improving.

ciabattaAir pockets! 🙂

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Kaiser rolls

kaiser rolls

I made these Kaiser rolls last Sunday. The sun — a distant memory now — had been shining that day.

kaiser rolls

I was pleasantly surprised by these rolls. The key to their deliciousness, I think, is their hardness. I had never baked a hard (on the outside) roll before. My knotting skills might need a bit of work — but not bad, overall.

kaiser rolls

I now have completed 31 recipes from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Percentage complete: 56.4%

Tuscan bread

Tuscan bread

Tuscan bread

The sun shone today after nearly a week of rain. My way of celebrating by baking bread seems perfectly reasonable. These two boules of Tuscan bread are a bit denser than ideal (what else is new?), but still very tasty. They are about 30% whole wheat.

Tuscan breadI now have completed 30 recipes from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (percentage complete: 54.5%).