Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bread and Soup

Scali bread "It's like a baguette," Hubby said. "I didn't know you could do that."

Eh? I can shape bread any way I want, I thought.

Then he want on about how he was more excited about this loaf than my previous loaves, "Which looked like a hat."

Eh? A hat? But I guess my most recent attempts (which were absolute disasters) have been round, which is the easiest shape.

He then proceeded to pick up the entire loaf and start gnawing on the end.

I suggested perhaps he would like a slice with butter, but he said we didn't have time since we had to go grocery shopping.

He wrapped the loaf in parchment paper, put it in the center of the kitchen island against the utensil jar, and put the cooling rack on top of it. All the while Samson was watching intently from the Green Room. So Hubby informed him that if Samson stole the bread while we were out Hubby would kill him. I said Hubby would have to get in line.

This story is not going to end the way you expect, because I put the loaf on top of the fridge. With a clever, determined, bread loving pup in the house it just wasn't worth the risk.

Bread Success
The bread was very good, if I do say so myself, and really knocked Hubby's handmade socks off.

He was quite blown away by how good the bread was. This is understandable considering how bad my last loaf was (old yeast, possibly stale flour, let's not discuss it). The success of this loaf totally opens the door to future loaves. And I was able to say, "See, I haven't been lying all this time when I claimed I can bake good bread."

I follow King Arthur Flour on Twitter (@KingArthurFlour), but they did not bribe me with coupons to say nice things about them. I've been using their flour for years. Couldn't tell you why I first started buying it, maybe price, possibly because it's unbleached.

At the end of January they sent out a link to recipes for this Scali bread and Italian Wedding Soup.

I was all over it because I like Italian Wedding Soup but it isn't in any of my recipe books.

The bread recipe was easy, well as easy as scratch yeast bread is. I didn't mess with it at all, which is to say I did not sneak any whole wheat flour into it. After the last loaf was such a disaster I figured I have to get my chops back with some simple, basic white bread recipes.

I mixed up the starter Saturday night. Then started in on the loaf Sunday between the six loads of laundry I had to do. Much abuse of my souvenir tea towel with the French wine appellations took place. Since it's flour sack material it was just perfect for covering a rising loaf. I even set the time for 10 minutes to make sure I stuck with the kneading long enough. I think the egg wash, which I don't normally use, went a long way toward the nice crispy crust.

Making the braided loaf probably went a long way toward impressing Hubby as well. We have blown through it with only a roll size amount left after breakfast this morning. Hubby might even finish it as an after school snack.

In fact, this recipe was such as success that I don't know if I should repeat it this weekend or go with the basic sandwich bread recipe KAF link to earlier this week.

Soups On!
I also made the soup on Sunday. I did not time them to finish at the same time, but it didn't matter.

I went wild changing the soup recipe, so I'm not sure where to start.

First, I didn't make the meatballs from scratch. I cheated and used the frozen Party Size Meatballs from Trader Joe's.

Second, since I wasn't feeding a wedding of any ethnicity, I reduced all the ingredients by a quarter—so half a cup of each veggie and 4 cups of broth. This was a good amount for the two of us. Hubby had some for lunch Sunday, we ate it for dinner, and I finished it for lunch on Monday. It was a light lunch, so maybe a wee bit more would have been good.

Third, I used fresh spinach instead of frozen. Couldn't tell you why. I bought one of those 6 oz cello bags of baby spinach and use most of it.

The soup was tasty, but we agreed it was a bit bland. We put this down to me not using enough bullion. Hubby points out I usually do that and suggested that I put in what I think it needs, then put in more. Usually he comes along behind me and fixes my seasonings, but he was very busy with school work Sunday and dropped the ball.

Still, I'll make it again.

Of course the parts of Sunday that were not devoted to being a domestic goddess were dedicated to finishing Hubby's Chunky Cabled Scarf.

1 comment:

  1. Nice Braid! Glad to hear that you all follow the tag team philosophy of recipe adjustment. Frank @ KAF, baker/blogger.