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Makeshift Bread Baking Experiences

February 10, 2011 - 7:54am -- bobchristenson
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I'm currently on vacation and am finding myself with absolutely no adequate tools for making a loaf of bread, but I'm doing it anyway :)  I thought it would be fun to hear people's stories of making bread when they have none of their normal, or even acceptable, tools and hear about how it came out.  Please share!


I'm currently in a vacation home and have none of my normal 'old reliables'...I'm not going to buy a bunch of stuff just to make a few loaves while here, so, here's what I've done:

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We're back from 5 days in Fort Bragg with family. I took along 7 breads and, because of menu compatibility and dining out, I only baked once while there. I made a couple loaves of Sourdough Italian Bread which went well with baked coho salmon and grilled veggies.



We did breakfast one day at the Fort Bragg Bakery. They make very good bread and pastries, as well as pizza. They do the pizza's in a gas fired oven built with bricks salvaged from the bakery that was on the same site a couple generations ago and eventually torn down.



On the drive home, Susan and I stopped for lunch at the Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg. Along with our bill, the waiter left us a 2 lb sourdough epi to take with us. It was outstanding with a comfort food coming home dinner of scrambled eggs and tomatoes from our garden.



On a non-bread note I just have to share, I found myself taking all but a couple photos with my new iPhone 4. It's pretty amazing, especially the macro capability.



Begonia at the Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens



Fly on Begonia petal


So, we're back home, doing laundry and re-packing for my week at SFBI.


David

mcs's picture
mcs

Last week my wife and I took a short vacation to a small farm on the outskirts of Victoria, BC.  We stayed with Diane (aka intern#2 last year) and her husband Ed - both gracious hosts, tour guides, and entertainers for our (almost) week long stay.  On one of the days I taught a couple of classes at The French Mint, a culinary school in Victoria run by chef Denise Marchessault.  In the morning I taught a class on croissants, in the evening a class about sourdoughs.  Both went great.

Other than that, I mostly sat around or marginally earned my keep by taking their Yugoslav Shepherd for a walk.  Sharon (my wife) was happily busy cleaning fresh eggs, milking the goats, feeding the newborn goats, and pulling weeds in the greenhouse.  Diane force-fed us fresh bread, brioche, eggs, and everything else under the rainbow, which of course led to more of me sitting around.



Zeva taking me for a walk



Butchart Gardens



Diane baked this much bread everyday



Sharon and an 8 hour old nubian



Ed and some calves


We had a great stay, and to top it off I got to try some Roger's flour (from BC) and came home with some Alberta flour also.  I used the Roger's flour for both of my cooking classes and was very pleased with their unbleached white and rye flour.  Nice texture, flavor, and color. 


Thanks a lot Diane and Ed. 


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


PS If you'd like to see more pix of the trip I'll be posting them on my Facebook page

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


A bowl of cherries


Hi, loafers!


I just returned from a week on the Oregon coast vacationing with our sons and their families. <sigh> It always seems too short.


I took along some previously baked breads - a Miche, Pointe-à-Callière, a Susan from San Diego's Ultimate Sourdough and Salome's Sourdough Potato-Walnut Bread. I also baked a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough while there, again hazarding an unfamiliar oven and no baking stone. The breads I baked there suffered most from the scoring not opening up well. One I baked under a stainless steel bowl to steam. The other loaf was steamed by pouring boiling water into a heated skillet. The magic bowl technique worked better, I think.




I believe my older (3 years old) granddaughter ate the lioness' share of this loaf as PB&J sandwiches!


I also made AnnieT's Sourdough Pancakes with local blueberries twice. One time, I made some with roasted pecans. Yum! Highly recommended.


I took along starter in two forms: I dried some starter, and I made a very firm ball of starter about the size of a golf ball. I only ended up using the latter. It traveled for two days at room temperature without appreciable expansion. (No problems with Homeland Security.) I cut it up into very small pieces and soaked them in water for a while, then mixed the slurry well and added enough water to make an intermediate starter of about the consistency of my usual 1:3:4 (S:W:F) starter. This fermented overnight and was reasonably happy the next morning.


The other essential equipment I took along included a large Silpat mat for stretching and folding and forming loaves, an instant read thermometer, a plastic scraper and some instant yeast. I purchased a couple of large stainless steel bowls and a large cookie sheet in Oregon before heading to the beach. 


There was nothing I didn't take along that I wished I had. I think this is a good, minimal equipment list for bread baking on vacation.


My only regret is that my vacation coincided with Shiao-Ping's SFBI adventure. It would have been so neat to have met her face-to-face while she was in California! And tomorrow, I start Jury Duty. Not my choice for how to ease back into the real world after a wonderful vacation.


David

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