Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: bread, cranberries, currants, raisins, walnuts
FINALLY! I got back in the kitchen and made some bread! It feels like ages. I have been away the last two (three?) weekends and just couldn’t wait till this weekend to get back into it. I have been doing more cooking than the blog suggests, but it takes more than i have these days to post every good thing i eat. Maybe this weekend i will get around to retro-posting some highlights.
This was not a good recipe to choose to make during the week after work. Especially not while making dinner, trying to bike on the trainer for an hour, and getting up at 6 to run before work the next morning. I think the bread came out pretty well, but I sacrificed the run.
My experience of this bread was ruined from the start by the perfectly delicious Panettone that I ate last Christmas. It was my first ever panettone experience. One of our consultants shelled out hundreds of dollars to ship us (us = the architecture firm i was working in) – a REAL Milanese Panettone. Despite it’s massive size, the crumb was as airy like a croissant with a perfect distribution of candied fruits and nuts.
My first panettone probably weighed 20 lbs. and I can only imagine that it had baked for hours. My petit panettone on the other hand, took roughly 40 minutes. I checked at 20, 25, and 30 waiting for the tops to be golden brown, and i think 40 minutes was a bit too long and dried them out too much. The big one (below) took about 1:20 and seems just right (texture-wise, i know it isn’t pretty). I don’t have a thermometer for it yet, but I know my oven is on the cool side. I was VERY glad i chose to use my mixer for the whole kneading process on this one. It was sticky, tacky dough (I may have been heavy handed with the rum) and i would have added too much flour had i kneaded by hand.
This bread in particular has made me appreciate the amount of quality control that goes into professional baking. To make this bread come out consistently good WHILE making a profit on the effort must be a real challenge.
BBA #11 | Celebration Bread
I finally got around to making this celebration bread (I baked challenge #15 last weekend)! I would not feel like I had conquered the Bread Baker’s Apprentice if i never baked this bread. In part, I blame Joe for my procrastination. He did not like the Artos (Greek Celebration Bread) I had made way back when for challenge #2, and has been trying to convince me to skip it entirely. Now that i have baked it, it has turned into one of his favorites!
More than half the loaf is gone. I personally thought it was about 10 x better than the Artos. Either my baking skills have drastically improved, or using the lemon extract, or both made a big difference. The extract smelled amazing. The bread had a lot of flavor and was just the right amount of sweet, between the 3 T of sugar and dried cranberries. I think this will make great french toast (or regular toast) in the morning and it will definitely make an appearance at Thanksgiving! Thank you Peter Reinhart!
As a side note: I had to go out during the day, so after shaping the loaf, I kept it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. I took it out when i got home and let it warm up/ proof on the counter for 90 minutes (partly while preheating the oven).
More photos coming soon on FLICKR!