The return of Miz Scarlett

September 6, 2011

Sennebec Hill bread. There's a connection. Hang with me, here.

In one sense, it was a rotten weekend, in that I got sick and missed the blues festival, toward which I’d worked and looked forward all year. Dammit. Free beer, too, being that I’m a board member. Double dammit.

Actually, not to get into the TMI realm here, but I “fainted and fell out,” and as a result, have a quite impressive Technicolor black eye, with some c0loration migrating to the other side of my face. No, I will NOT post photos. Also, please note that I am telling people it was a result of an altercation that involved a bar fight, a broken longneck, and a dwarf. Get my back on that one, please.

Anyway. That aside, it turned cool, or what passes for cool in LA (that would be Lower Arkansas) in September, particularly when it’s hovered around 100 for about seven years. So when it was in the 60s when I got up, and stayed in the 80s all day, I decided it was time Miz Scarlett went back to work.

Breakfast love. I'm just sayin'.

So I broke out the Bernard Clayton bread book, the one that’s interspersed with all kinds of little post-it-note flags, and I commenced to study. I knew I wanted something dark, multigrain, as I was cooking a vaguely Germanic dinner. I settled on pan noir,  a several-grain loaf that promises an almost pumpernickelish color. I made one substitution (and I don’t remember what it was, but it was minor) and followed the directions to the letter.

The sumbitch Did Not Rise. Not whatsoever at all. It said it would take an hour and a half. After three, I threw it out.

Used the same yeast and made a different recipe — the Sennebec Hill bread, from the same book. Subbed ground flaxseed for wheat germ, which I did not have. Worked fine. Rose like a champ. Nice fairly neutral flavor, good solid crumb that’s not heavy, good toast, good vehicle for a sandwich or toast with whatever. I have no quarrel with that, though I’d likely ferment the first part overnight to develop a bit more flavor next time.

And then I made a cheese and sausage bread from the same book. It was supposed to be a sausage bread, but I never knew a sausage-and-bread product yet that wasn’t improved by the addition of cheese. It didn’t rise much, second time around in the pan, but nevertheless, it makes a nice breakfast bread. Next time, I’ll add some turbinado sugar or some molasses, and again, ferment part of it for a while, just to up the flavor quotient. Still, it was good. And I even opened one of my jars of fig jam, which made me plumb proud when I tasted it.

This sista here has posted the recipe for Sennebec Hill bread, so I won’t bother to retype it. I don’t find a sausage bread recipe on hand, but it’s a sort of brioche-y kind of loaf, with three eggs and a half-stick of butter. It blimps up nicely the first rise, and you knead in the cooked sausage (and cheese, in my case) and bake it in cake pans. It rises very little in the second rise, but it’s nevertheless a nice light bread with the good taste of sausage and cheese throughout; a fine vehicle for fig jam. I have no quarrel with it.

Anyway, I was glad to get back in the breadmaking swing of things. Anxious to make one of those triple-rye loaves and put corned beef and swiss in the middle, soon; I’m thinking football season calls for that.

The other adventure of the weekend was to start indexing recipes on the blog. You’ll now see a “recipe index” page, right side, up close to the top. Don’t get real excited; I’ve just got Jan-April of ’09 so far, and am working my way forward. It’ll be a work in progress for several weekends, and I’ll try to keep it updated.

So, when you and y’mama ‘n ’em want to look up something you just KNOW that I wrote about, maybe it’ll be easier to find.


One Response to “The return of Miz Scarlett”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Also, please note that I am telling people it was a result of an altercation that involved a bar fight, a broken longneck, and a dwarf. Get my back on that one, please.

    I’m having a helluva time trying to visualize that, but for my part, I’ve gotcher back. 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your illness. I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad GI nastiness plus the chills, so I feel your pain. Feeling better though; I think I just ate something last night that disagreed with me.

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