Monday, May 28, 2012

Tuscan Bread

Well, hello there.  My name is . . . not important.  And I'm often asked what do I do for a living?  And I answer: apparently never update my blog.  NEVER BAKE.  I'm sorry devoted fans, fair-weather friends, first time listeners, long-time-listeners-first-time-callers, and bots from New Zealand.  Your loyal, yet fickle (yes, I can be an oxymoron) baby baker is back with a bunch of bizarre breads!  I tried to tongue-tie there.  Hope you appreciated it.  Today's deal is Tuscan bread.  PEOPLE.  Soon I will actually be in the homeland of some of these breads.  I promise to take pictures of my bread-related experiences so you can live vicariously through me.  There is no way I will be through with this blog by the time I leave.

ANYway.  Tuscan bread starts off with a paste of bread flour and boiling water.  Sounds like a party, right?  SEE!?

This sits overnight.  That was an easy start.  See you on the morrow, folks.

Today, we have flour + yeast + paste + olive oil + water =

And suddenly, here we are:

This bread will flourish like the romance between a dried-up middle-aged American and a fiery young Italian.  In theaters September 26.

Well, actually, here we are:

Kneaded and ready to sit for dos horas, while I drive around maniacally (those of you who have driven with me know this is not unusual) running errands.  No sleep 'til Athens.

When I got back, HOLY SHIT.  It was HUGE.  Like hitting the top of the eight cup bowl thing I have.  I was supposed to punch it down if it more than doubled, but Peter doesn't like people who have lives.  So, stupidly, I punched it down like twenty minutes before it was supposed to be done rising.  Look!  You can see my handprint!

Yes, my hand is shaped like a monster.  Speaking of shaping, next step = shaping the dough into a boule.  Trying to go through this quickly so I can clean my house.  Look at me, people.  Sometimes I'm a real person.

This sits for sixty to ninety minutes, or until it doubles.

Look at me now, look at me now, I'm gettin' pa-per:

Pretty with flour on top (again, my tea strainer-as-sieve works amazingly):

Nights I spend alone, I spend 'em runnin' round lookin' for you baby:

So, this looks pretty good, right?  I had to manage my oven like some sort of Beyonce diva, due to its inability to just be at 500 degrees.  I know you want to get hotter than that, but Mama doesn't need a broiler right now, bitch.  I think that was one of the only times in my life I referred to myself as "Mama."  Ew.  This cools for an hour.  And!

My camera is obviously not meant to take pictures in a dark as fuck kitchen.  It's meant to be used by 16-year-old girls taking myspace duck face pictures at the mall.  Oops.  So!  This ended up pretty good!  It's a bit dense, like it didn't rise enough -- maybe my fault with the punch down.  Dense = 4/5

I guess, however, this did flourish like a Tuscan romance.  Whatever that means.  <3