Pudding is not just for dessert

Asparagus Gratin
(or Savory Asparagus Bread Pudding)

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So what do I do with old bread ends and two of my sisters give me fresh asparagus from their gardens and fresh eggs from their chickens? I make this gratin, its easy and delicious! It completely transforms old bread into a really delicious dinner, well you really can’t go wrong with fresh eggs and asparagus and cheese!

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The Hole-y Grail

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I’ve baked over 15 loaves so far and I learn something new every time, no surprises there ( I bet I’ll still be learning after 215 loaves ). I’m beginning to understand how important temperature is to the taste and crumb structure of my bread. The above picture shows a really great crumb and the bread tastes great. The funny thing is that I thought the loaf would turn out dense and sour due to the low temperature and mediocre rise after bulk fermentation.

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Olive Loaf Excellence

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I started to feel confident enough with my bread making skills to add a little something to the mix. Olive bread seemed like a good starting point, and for my first loaf this turned out pretty good. I did notice a few differences in both taste and texture when compared to the country loaf. The crust is thinner and not as crunchy, but tastes great, more like that of a whole wheat bread. The crumb is more compact and feels heavy, but has a very tender bite to it. In short, it’s better suited as a sandwich loaf than the crunchy, chewy feel of the No-Knead country bread.

I also made another departure from the No-Knead method by using a recipe from Nancy Silverton’s “Breads from La Brea Bakery” cookbook. The recipe has more steps but was a lot of fun and not too difficult to do. I highly recommend the book and think her insights, instruction and methods are fantastic.

Ingredients for 1 loaf:
3 1/2 c. bread flour
1/4 c. raw wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 5 Tbs. starter
1 1/2 c. warm water (70 degrees F)
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/4 c. pitted oil-cured olives
1 tsp. herbs-de-provence

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