Sunday, January 27, 2013

Christmas Bread

Barley Bread
Christmas is my favorite holiday because I have a quiet morning with family followed but a large dinner with family and friends. In the middle, there is a lot of cooking, cleaning, and moving. This year, for that middle period, I decided I was in charge of morale. It's a bit job getting everything in order, but it's still Christmas so we should have a little fun: a lovely picnic.

Pretty much everyone in the family gets a bit hypoglycemic; if we don't eat, we get tired, cranky, panicky, and, if things get really bad, trembley. So, food at lunch time was in order. There was some nice cheese for later so I stole a bit of that and combined it with one of the five loaves of bread I made and some carrots and brought a plate to each person in various places around the house. That loaf of bread was eaten so quickly that I didn't manage to get a picture of it, but you can see the rest below.
Whole Wheat Boule

Whole Wheat Batard
I made three kinds of bread (five loaves total) for two reasons. One, so that we could have plenty of delicious bread left over for the next few days. Two, something seems to always go wrong if you're making bread for an event, so it's always better to have extra. This time, the whole wheat and the Barley bread (my experimental loaf) turned out marvelously, but the country loaf was the tiniest bit underproofed and, as a consequence, it retained more of the water during the baking process and was denser because it had less oven spring. It looked beautiful, but it was best enjoyed toasted (as underproofed breads usually are).
Country Loaf Ear

Country Loaf
The bread was delicious. The barley bread, specifically, was a revelation. I often use barley to sweeten the crust and add depth of flavor, but this was something entirely new to me. I will post the recipe in the next few days.
Whole Wheat and Country Loaf, used for decoration and eaten over the next few days
Ultimately, Chirstmas, both bread and everything was a great success thanks to lovely friends and the amazing team effort of my family. It just shows that bread, cheese, and carrots are the perfect combination.

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