Friday, April 16, 2021

Bread Baking Babes: Olive Oil Wreath



This month’s Kitchen of the Month is Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories.  Our challenge was to make a bread wreath using a lovely olive oil dough.  My personal challenge was the shaping part.

While I made the full recipe for the biga, I halved the recipe for the actual wreath, primarily because I don’t have any counter space that is 42” long.  Using a 21” strand of dough  gave me the opportunity to make the loaf several times, experimenting with the shaping part.  (Although I should have also scaled down the cutting distance from 3” to 1 ½”.  That occurred to me at 3 am one morning.)

The first test was forming the wreath, letting it rise, then making the cuts just before baking.  I have this fear of deflating the dough when I cut or score, and I’m sure that did happen, because the dough just didn’t seem to rise that much.


The second test was forming the wreath, making the cuts, then letting it rise.  This turned out to be a puffier loaf, but the cuts sort of blended together instead of being more separate.  The crumb was better than the first loaf.  And, if you squint, you can imagine the wreath shape.


For the third test, I used the remaining biga and made a whole loaf (no wreath), and I did the scoring before letting it rise.  I was happy with the result, but I’m still struggling with scoring time:  before or after rising?  I don’t understand how bakers can make intricate designs and not deflate the dough.


That said, this is a great dough for any shape of bread.  I’ll continue to work on my scoring/cutting so they don't look so demented.

If you’re interested in baking along with us, go to Karen’s blog for the recipe, and send her your information by April 29th to be included in the Buddy roundup.


I'm also sure you will enjoy seeing what the other Babes made!



Sunday, April 4, 2021

Novel Food #41: Spicy cheese scones



Even though our public libraries are still not open for walk-in browsing, there is still a way to peruse the new books.  We can put holds on books, and, when we pick them up, the library staff have filled the windows with all kinds of new books.  During a recent visit, I spotted my title book in the window, and immediately checked it out:  A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith.  It’s part of the 44 Scotland Street series.

One of the characters, Angus, is out walking with his dog, Cyril, when Cyril runs off into the bushes and makes a great discovery – a skull.  And, not just any skull, but a Neanderthal skull!  Angus’s wife, Domenica, has identified the skull as such, and has contacted the National Museum of Scotland to verify the find.  A representative from the Department of Neanderthal Affairs, Dr. Colquohoun, has agreed to come over and verify the authenticity of the skull.  In honor of his visit, Angus makes his famous cheddar cheese scone, liberally laced with cayenne pepper.  While the museum representative is visiting, there is a lengthy discussion on prehistoric peoples in Scotland, Neanderthal culture, and, of course, scones.  Dr. Colquohoun consumes at least three scones with his tea before returning to the museum with the skull, so it can be evaluated and authenticated.

To pay homage to this important meeting, I chose a cheese scone recipe from King Arthur Baking Company, substituting a healthy amount of cayenne for the hot sauce and mustard.  They did indeed have a kick to them.  


To find out what the outcome was, you’ll have to read the novel.  As for me, I need to get caught up with all the local residents, so I’ll be in search of more books in the series.  

 In the meantime, this is my submission for this edition of Novel Food (#41).