It’s been a surprisingly yeasty week!
After my rye success on the Sunday, I had planned on a lower-key loaf for the second week: a bread-machine oatmeal sandwich loaf with sunflower seeds in. (The Boy makes fun of me for my love of “bread with stuff in it” but I do think they make the best sandwich loaves.) After hearing his somewhat dismayed announcement that we were totally out of white bread however, (i.e. the bread what makes the toast for nutella, in our house) I figured I’d give the machine’s French bread recipe a whirl.
The recipe is from the WestBend bread machine manual. I followed* the directions for the 1.5lb loaf. With minor substitutions. Here’s what I ended up throwing in the breadmaker:
- 11oz. warm water
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 3 cups white flour
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp (scant) salt
- 2 tsp yeast (which I think was a little too much)
* I am pathologically incapable of following a recipe verbatim.
As promised, it turned out crusty, yet fluffy — I don’t know if the manual’s claims of “chewiness” are particularly accurate — but because there is so little fat in this bread, it dried out ridiculously fast. A few days after baking, I ended up cutting the remains of the loaf (maybe 2/5s) into croutons. Ah well. Not that anyone cares, but I bet an oatmeal loaf wouldn’t have dried out that quickly…
Inspired by all the yeasty fun, I decided to make something I hadn’t in probably over a year: pizza! Went with the trusty Nancy Silverton recipe, though I also dumped in a large slop of Bob after feeding him. No idea if it really affected the flavour (we put too much stuff on the crust to really tell) but it was delicious in any case. Aside from the obvious benefit of the product (because who doesn’t love homemade pizza??), it also did much to reassure me that yes, it IS still possible for me to cook a real dinner on occasion. The key? Meal planning, of course. I plan on giving one of the unused whiteboards in my lab a new home in the kitchen. No more haphazard dinner times!
Lastly, our West Coast guest arrived in the mail! I was a little concerned — she appeared to have escaped her confines in transit, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to recover… but I ended up with about 30g worth, so I scooped her into a jar, started feeding her according to the suggested instructions, and after a little time closer to our woodstove*, she’s blossomed into quite the bubbly presence! I’ve named her Fran, because apparently I was in a Baz Luhrman kind of mood?, and it doesn’t show in this picture (I’d just fed them both) but I’m pretty sure Bob’s been spurting some extra bubbles since his newfound company showed up.
* I don’t know if it’s normal for a mantel to be the regular home of jars of starter, but that’s what’s happened in our house. Aside from the warmer temperature, the location also helps me to not forget about them. (Note that I don’t say it “ensures” it.) So far, so good.
When I was expressing my concerns to The Boy about trying to keep not one, but now two sourdough starters alive, he blinked and said “…so you’re saying you’ve got too much culture?”
No good can come of this.