Archive for November, 2010

To Your Health

100% Whole Wheat

Bread class this week was a trip down a path a little more ascetic than usual, with a pair of 100% whole wheat loaves and a double of compact spelt ones to keep them company.

Even though the 100% whole wheat was quite dense, the addition of vital wheat gluten helped to make it relatively springy, though nowhere near the unnatural bounciness of a loaf of one of those grocery store spotted foil bag wheat breads.


The spelt, on the other hand, never really rose up much, but its flavour is peerless.  I’m envisioning using the second flat loaf for a round of hors d’oeuvres crostini, since the first one went to work with the Everyman and a few jars of jam.

One of the things that I’ve been able to do since I started taking bread classes again is to build up quite a reserve of fancy loaves in our freezer.  At this very moment I have 5 or 6 ready to spring into action, and all they need is 10 minutes in a 350* oven to make them taste just like new.  It’s the dirty little secret of the bread baker’s world, but bread tends to be frozen a lot more often than you’d think.


Little Pockets Of Nom


After whipping up all that homemade pumpkin mash for the sweet buns earlier this week, I started looking for ways to use up the litre of excess puree that were a little more out of the ordinary.

Pondering what might be the optimal pumpkin delivery system, I settled on a filling for handmade ravioli that would combine it with creme fraiche, roasted garlic and fresh thyme; all things that I had kicking around in my fridge that also happened to sound vaguely complimentary.  Deciding on a course of action, I prepared the filling and left it to chill in the fridge for a few hours to firm up a bit.

Once I’d whipped the filling into a lather, I dug my hand crank out of a drawer and set to work rolling out gossamer sheets of dough.  Being that I don’t make stuffed pastas too often, my technique is a little less than stellar, yielding ravioli of varying shapes and sizes, but personally I think that makes them look all the more authentically handmade.

Two imperative things to note when making your own ravioli;

1) Resist the urge to over-stuff your ravioli, because it will come back to bite you later


This Just In: Turkey Day Treats

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Rolls

Our friends to the south will celebrate American Thanksgiving tomorrow, so with that in mind, I’ve whipped up a batch of salted caramel pumpkin pie rolls that would be equally at home on a breakfast plate or a dessert platter.

It all started when I found a small pie pumpkin lurking at the back of my overstuffed fridge on the weekend.  After brainstorming and rejecting my initial thoughts on its usage (pumpkin chocolate chip bars) I settled on the idea to make cinnamon rolls (which the Everyman loves) but tinge them festive and orange with pumpkin and pie spices. After googling for a while, I came across several recipes that had elements of what I was after, but no hard and fast winner.  Instead, I decided to come up with my own.

First, I roasted the pie pumpkin cut-side down until it was collapsed and yielding.  Once it had cooled a little, I ran it through the food processor until it had the consistency of baby food.  I’ve often wondered why homemade pumpkin puree is a light ochre-ish yellow and the stuff you get in a can comes out technicolor orange.  After pondering this for a bit, I’ve arrived at the hypothesis that they grind the whole pumpkin up, rind and all to obtain such a vibrant hue.

Incorporating my puree into a basic sweet dough, I left it to bulk ferment for an hour while I roasted some things in duck fat and salad spun some other things.  Some of the rest of this pumpkin mush will be making an appearance in another dish later this week, too.

When I returned, the dough was rolled out on a floured counter, brushed with copious amounts of butter and sprinkled with a brown sugar-based spice blend.  Rolled into a tube, it was sliced and placed in a silcone pan and left to final proof on top of the oven.


Bread Porn 2.0

I know.  It’s been a long time.  I shouldn’t have left you without a few eats to tempt you.

So, how’ve you been?

Me?  I’ve been swell, if more than a little tired as of late.

It occurred to me that perhaps it’s about time to share with you what I’ve been up to these past 10 weeks…

As I think I mentioned the last time I stopped by, I’ve been in school.  What I didn’t say was that I’ve been working towards my artisan baker’s certificate!  I’m doing this on top of my boring day job, and after a week or two, I began to wonder how so many people manage to do this without burning out or breaking down.  Needless to say, I was on the cusp of both of those options for a while, but, as the weeks have passed, I’ve slowly but surely been working my way into a routine and now it’s almost getting to feel normal.

Allow me to take you through a retrospective of the delicious things I’ve churned out over the past 10 weeks;


Back, Back, The Bitch Is Back!

Hope you’re ready, because I know I am…

Until next time…