I'm a bit off my game. The new job is taking quite a bit more of my attention than my previous job. And with spring here, the yard and garden beckon me constantly. To top it all off, my boy figured out how to ride his bike without training wheels last weekend, so every spare dry minute is spent at the high school track letting him practice riding laps. Good times, but less time for baking right now.
I baked three loaves of sourdough yesterday. The dough was lower hydration than I typically do, but they turned out real nice.
I also made pita bread for lunch. The kids loved rolling them out and eating them. I have to remember to make them more often.
The new job at Mercy Corps is keeping me very busy, which is why I am less active here. I'm extremely excited about being there though. It is a great organization full of great people. I couldn't ask for a much better place to work.
My Sunday baking suffered a bit today because we spent the morning out at the Chinese Gardens watching the lion dance for the beginning of the lunar new year celebration.
I had a batch of my pooish bread in the fridge as well as some sourdough with 20% whole wheat. Since the poolish bread was on the damp side, I ended up dimpling it and shooting for something like a ciabatta. Inside, it looked about right.
The crust was wonderfully thin and crispy, but it didn't look like your typical ciabatta since there was no raw flour on the crust. Alas.
The sourdough loaves I baked in pans. I also made some mini loaves of banana bread.
Anyone here ever tried making a yeasted banana bread? I thought about it today but though better of it. Actually, now I'm remembering that there is a sourdough banana bread on the site. I should try that next time.
I've been absent from the site for the past week or so for a number of reasons. First we were out of town at a place with a not terribly good internet connection. Then we got back and the whole family got leveled by a nasty cold. We're finally recovering, but I still can't taste much of anything. Even the tablespoon of Sriracha I put in my coconut chicken soup last night was hard to taste.
To top it all off, I accepted a new job this week. Begining in March, I am going to work for Mercy Corps, a company that does good work all over the globe. Disaster relief, fighting poverty, microfinance, truly a noble company that works hard to help the least fortunate and forgotten. I'm honored to have a chance to use my technical skills to make a difference in the world.
What does that mean for The Fresh Loaf? That means that in February I'll try to spend a couple of days getting the upgrades that I've mentioned recently done and get the site to a better place. It probably means that in March, at least while I'm ramping up at the new job, I'll be less active here. I'm certainly not abandoning the site, but I may not be able to spend as much time during the week working on this site and responding to questions as I typically do. The community has been doing a great job keeping discussion going here and helping each other out (hats off in particular to JMonkey, who has been particularly helpful... mountaindog has made some great posts too). I hope we'll be able to keep that kind of momentum and community spirit going here even if I disappear for a few weeks.
Hmmm... yes, well... baking on the road seemed like a good idea.
My starter made it fine, but I guess I didn't really think about how many little things I take for granted in my home kitchen. Yes, I knew I was going to be without a baking stone or my lame, but those were the least of my problems. Not being able to find a warm enough spot in the house for the loaves to rise enough set me back a bit. Not being able to find semolina flour or regular corn meal (only course ground) didn't help either, and I was unwilling to damage someone else's iron skillet to make the necessary steam, so the crust was going to suffer. But it was the oven that set me back the most. Well, that and the smoke detector, which screamed like a banshee as soon as I opened the door to put the bread in the oven (I guess they don't turn their oven up to the max as often as I do). In the end, the bread got tossed out. The bread may have been salvageable, but after airing out the house for 20 minutes to get the smoke detector to stop I wasn't in the mood.
I'm chastened. If I try to bake again this week I'll bake something simpler in a loaf pan.