Lien, of Notitie van Lien, is the Host Kitchen this month for the Bread Baking Babes!
What, you may wonder, am I doing with Bakers????
Anything to be called a Babe.
Besides, I was promised booze and sexy underwear…
Or was that a sexy apron…
But how can an apron be sexy without the underwear….
Do you sense some procrastinating here?
First some general information to help you understand my position:
These people are all ‘Daring Bakers’. I am not.
I foolishly thought they would be kind to the new kid. They were not.
I was presented with a recipe (the same one everyone else was using) and told ‘it’ll be fun’.
The recipe called for flours I don’t have and can’t find.
It’s a ‘wet dough’ (understatement of the last 5 centuries). Have you ever tried to turn soup into bread?
Well, at this point I did what I always do in these situations: Climbed up on my very high horse, sniffed arrogantly and claimed that ‘I will manage with what I have available; and it will be good!’
Fortunately I didn’t seriously damage any body parts when I toppled off that damn horse.
On that note, I’ll let the pictures tell the sad tale of the Coccodrillo, or Crocodile Bread. (I now realize why it’s called Crocodile Bread: not for any physical resemblance, but because taming it is a loosing battle.)
1. The recipe involves 2, sequential starters, bubbling away in a warm place for 2 days. I live in a drafty, old, French farmhouse. It’s late winter. I don’t have a warm place. So I put them on top of the boiler. (It’s also a great place to warm paint cans).
2. At least I have a heavy duty mixer.
3. The batter got very nice and bubbly. Isn’t my flower pretty?
4. Okay, still procrastinating… Did I mention this was a wet dough?
5. According to the recipe, once it’s risen for the second time one should put it on the counter, shape it, and then place it on parchment paper. The fact that what I thought was parchment paper turned out to be cling film is neither here nor there….
I put about 10 cups of flour on some foil and poured the dough on top.
I spent a frantic 5 minutes just trying to keep it from running off the counter into the waiting jaws of the dogs. Shape this oozing mass? I don’t think so. I was a bit worried that if left unattended it would creep out under the doors and destroy the village, but, by that time I no longer cared. I spoke sternly to it, tossed some more flour on it and put it back on the boiler.
6. Oh yes, I was meant to cut it in half (yeah, right!) and bake two separate loaves.
You can see that I tried to separate them.
You can also see that I failed.
So I made a conscious and considered decision to go for the conjoined approach.
7 . According to the mavens I was to let the bread cool for 2 hours before cutting. They don’t know mon mari! The first bit of fresh bread must be consumed within 5 minutes of removal from oven. His rules.
That’s okay, I fixed him. Have you ever bit into a piece of tin foil with a tooth that has a filling? I’m told it’s a rather awful sensation… Actually, I was told that repeatedly last night.
It seems in my efforts to control the croc I was, perhaps, overly exuberant and scraped some bits of foil into the dough. I could pick them out this morning in the cold light of day…but, he wouldn’t wait….
8. Was it good? Oh yes… Delicious last night slathered with butter and eaten with our risotto.
Equally good this morning, without the butter. It has a lovely, slightly sour, slightly salty taste. It’s very similar to a bread I used to make lots, in a pottery cloche, that we loved. The croc had a much nicer texture, though.
What did I do wrong? Nothing, naturally. Oh, I was meant to use Durum and Stone Ground wheat flours and I used Bread Flour, but, hey, what difference could that make? Gluten? Did someone say Gluten? Nah, didn’t think I heard anything…
Will I try this again? Probably. It really was pretty effortless. And it was yummy! Now that I know what to expect it won’t be quite so
scary disconcerting. I may modify the recipe and use a bit more flour at the end…
If I ever live in a country where bread baking is more common and more flours are available I might even try it the right way.
For now, though, I live in France where fresh bread is delivered to your door and making it at home is not all that common. I’ll continue to work with what I have.
To see what it’s supposed to look like, visit some of the expert Babes.
A Fridge Full of Food (Glenna), Bake My Day (Karen), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn), I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), Lucullian Delights (Ilva), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Thyme of Cooking (Katie), and What Did You Eat (Sher)
Watch this space next month to see what my next proud accomplishment will be – but don’t hold your breath….
PS: I forgot…. I’m hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week! Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Come on and play with me! I’ll be nice…. I promise!