My wife has taken to baking bread. From scratch. Like, flour n shit. Improver. That sort of thing.
We received a bread maker as one of our wedding gifts, and to be honest, I didn’t think we’d really use it. But after we had settled Kelly bought a few of those packet bread mixes to give it a crack. The results were ok, and the bread tasted reasonably good, but the loaves came out funny shapes, with the roof having risen and then deflated to leave a sunken top.
The next step was mixing the dough in the bread maker, but handling by, err, hand, and finishing it in the oven. This was better than just the bread maker.
But when Kelly made her first ciabata, things got serious. Ciabata is a really wet and sticky dough when it goes in the oven, and once Kelly had gained control of the stringy, gluey substance, it was time to move onto bigger and better things.
For her birthday, I bought a book called The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. This book goes further than the “make bread at home” books you might find at Readings or Borders. It is, quite literally, a baker’s apprentice book. It has recipes, yes, but also some history of breadmaking, and some of the science behind different ingredients, methods, and chemical reactions that occur during the breadmaking process. Cool stuff.
So, last night Kelly made her first loaf completely from this book. Raisin bread. And we had it for dessert. And the raisins were still warm. And it had lashings of butter. And mine had some sugar and cinnamon. And, I have to say, it was awesome!
Oh yeah, we had it again for breakfast :P