I may need an intervention
July 22, 2016
You will recall the other day I waxed rhapsodic about my new steam-convection oven, and the Anadama bread that came out of it.
I am happy to report the CSO has continued to perform beautifully, all the way from toast to roasted veggies and baked fish to…more bread!
I was revisiting Peter Reinhart’s Breadmaker’s Apprentice, a book I bought some good while back and only rarely baked from, as when I was working full-time from an office other than home, I generally didn’t have or take the time for a two- or three-day bread prep. Reinhart, on the other hand, bakes with pate fermentees, poolishes, bigas, and sourdough barm, all of which take anywhere from a day to two weeks’ preparation. I didn’t have time for that.
Now that my office is at home, I have time for that — time to grab 30 minutes from my workday and put together a soaker or a starter for a loaf of bread, and leave it on the counter to ferment all day.
Which is what I did with the poolish, which is mixture of flour, a minimal amount of yeast, and water. You stir it up, cover it, let it sit on the counter several hours, then stick it in the fridge overnight. The next day, you mix poolish with your other ingredients — more water, flour, salt, yeast, and depending on the recipe, some kind of fat and/or eggs.
Reinhart’s poolish makes a double recipe of bread. I really didn’t want a double recipe of anything, so I split the poolish and used part of it in foccacia and part of it in a French-style whole wheat baguette. Well, actually two baguettes, so they’d fit in the CSO. And, by the way, I need help on my baguette-shaping, as these looked more like torpedo rolls.
The foccacia (recipe here) is a very wet dough, and by the time it’s going in the oven, has a pretty high content of olive oil. And it’s pretty wonderful. It would be great to have with a hearty stew, or just some plain old marinara sauce. It’s thick enough (a full recipe makes a 12 x 17 pan, so I made my recipe in the CSO’s pan that’s about 10 x 10) to slice and half and use for a sandwich. I think it’d be primo with meatballs sliced in half, or some other filling that has a good bit of gravy or moisture with it, to seep down into the nice cracks and crevices in the bread.
Haven’t yet cut into the ww baguettes. They’re pretty things, and I think will make good sandwiches and toast. When I finish up this current loaf of anadama bread and my half of the foccacia (I gave half of it to Kate), I’ll tear in to one of those. It’s currently in the freezer.
It also makes a primo piece of toast, made even more primo with a poached egg on top of it. A poached farm-fresh egg with a runny yolk. M’mmm h’mmm. Sweet baby Jesus, right there.
No bread for a while. I’m baking sweet potato wedges in it tonight. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em stand by for the next adventure in the CSO saga.