Saturday, June 21, 2008

Baking Weekends

Weekends are for baking. I strongly believe that. That quiet calm that allows you to go along with a recipe, have you see it through until the end. That peace that lets you sit and eat and enjoy your creations. This is why I love weekends. I finally get to take out baking recipes and have some fun.

Last weekend, I tested a friend's recipe for her book and website project. George is always cooking up something delicious. I honestly don't know how she has the energy or the motivation, LOL.

Back in March, she baked an awesome looking bread -- and though I can't keep up with her cooking-wise -- I thought I'd try this bread recipe. It's a French-style rustic bread, and it is not one that you can whip up that quickly, so save it for days when the kitchen acts as your home.

You can find the recipe for the Pain de Campagne here.

I didn't follow the recipe completely as I did find I would need more water at certain occasions, or less flour than the recipe called for. But, obviously, bread recipes are different for most people depending on the quality of the flour, the humidity of the air, etc. What I love about baking bread is that it is not an exact science, unlike baking muffins or cookies.

I would really recommend the recipe if you're looking for a very traditional tasting, homestyle bread. And it looks beautiful and impressive too!

My baking this weekend involved baking bagels -- something I have never done before. I wasn't really planning on baking bagels, but I got a catalogue in the mail earlier this week from the King Arthur Flour company, and there was a recipe right in the catalogue.

The recipe for making bagels is pretty straightforward -- again, it's not one of those recipes that you can really have ready first thing in the morning for weekend bagels, but if you don't mind eating brunch a little bit later (and more importantly, sleeping in!), you're good to go.

One thing I have never done is boiling yeasted dough - LOL. I was kind of amazed I didn't mess that up completely, which just goes to show you how user-friendly bagel baking really is.

And they look amazing!

I sprinkled a couple of the bagels with zaatar just before baking to see how it would turn out -- and you'll notice these are actually whole wheat bagels. After doing the initial starter, I only had about 1/4 cup of white flour left, so I made up the sum with the whole wheat flour.

For our light lunch, I made a simple tomato and mint salad, flavored with lime, olive oil and salt. Nice and simple.. and delicious!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ilana!! That bread looks gorgeous.