2005: A Bread Retrospective

You got it! Another bread entry. In my one and only entry on this topic, I was waxing poetic about My New Hobby, and showed the breads I had been able to produce. That was about early August, last year. For the last one-third of the year, I have been hard at work baking bread and learning more and more about it. Vin no longer buys any bread, and I have experimented with a variety of breads in my bread book.

This entry shows a selection of the different breads that I baked August through December of 2005.

First off, my guide in the bread experiments, my bread book:

[[image:bread19b.jpg:My Big-ass Bread Book:center:0]]

Here are my Onion Twists.

Onion Twist after being twisted but prior to rising:

[[image:bread20.jpg:Before rising:center:0]]

After the loaves rose:

[[image:bread21.jpg:After rising:center:0]]

Baked, with a dinner fork next to it for some perspective:

[[image:bread22.jpg:Onion Twist, Baked:center:0]]

Challah bread (a rich loaf with eggs, butter and a touch of saffron):

[[image:bread23.jpg:Looks a bit like a whole roasted chicken:center:0]]

[[image:bread24.jpg:Close up:center:0]]

And I imitated what I’d seen at the delis I’d been to, I made French Toast out of the Challah (actually Mango and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast sprinkled with cocoa powder and powdered sugar)

[[image:bread25.jpg:This was yummy!:center:0]]

Experimented with rye flour – this is Old Milwaukee Rye bread, which begins with a 3-day sponge:

[[image:bread26.jpg:Traditional round loaf:center:0]]

[[image:bread27.jpg:Other side of the loaf:center:0]]

Vin really liked this bread, and liked it for his sandwiches, so I made it into a “baton” shape rather than a round loaf.

Here’s the Old Milwaukee Rye, prior to rising:

[[image:bread28.jpg:Old Milwaukee Rye baton:center:0]]

After rising, with diagonal slashes, brushed with water, and sprinkled with caraway seeds:

[[image:bread29.jpg:Slashed and brushed with water:center:0]]


[[image:bread30.jpg:Old Milwaukee Rye, Baked:center:0]]

This was the perfect shape for sandwich bread, and made Vin quite happy. 😀

At the end of the summer, we bought a grill, and I combined the Naan recipe from my bread book with a recipe I got from the FoodNetwork for this Grilled Onion Bread:

[[image:bread31.jpg:This grilled bread has yeast, so here it is rising:center:0]]

[[image:bread32.jpg:Being grilled on one side:center:0]]


This bread was really nice eaten by itself, or dipped in curry or raita. As it was a yeast bread, the inside was fluffy and soft, and the sauteed onions just gave it a lovely flavor just by itself. And leftovers warmed up nicely and made a nice wrap too.

Some breads in the “Little Breads” section of the book. First some Grandmother’s Southern Biscuits:

[[image:bread34.jpg:Bunch of biscuits cooling on the wire rack:center:0]]

[[image:bread35.jpg:Close up of the biscuits:center:0]]

Next, “Pau“, which is a steamed bun that I grew up eating in Malaysia. However, rather than making a traditional filling like kaya or sambal, I made it a little more asian fusion and filled it with a spanakopita-esque filling of spinach and feta cheese, thus ensuring that Vin would want to eat them.

The spanakopita (or greek spinach pie) filling:

[[image:bread41.jpg:The filling:center:0]]

[[image:bread43.jpg:Little bread rounds being filled:center:0]]

The bread waiting to be steamed:

[[image:bread42.jpg:Bread in the steamer:center:0]]

Steamed pau, waiting to be eaten:

[[image:bread44.jpg:Steamed pau on a plate:center:0]]

For those wondering, my bread book actually had a recipe for Char Siew Pau (which is roast pork pau), and of course I left off the Char Siu. But I thought it was pretty amazing that this book written by a mat salleh would actually have a recipe for pau! This was actually a big hit – Vin loved it, and he actually shared it with his workmate who also really liked it. I brought a few in to work and shared that too. Unfortunately, it was quite leceh to make so I have only made it once. I’ll wait until I get another craving for pau before I go out and make it again!

Finally, in the Little Bread category, Egg Shell Rolls. I made them of various sizes so we could eat some with dinner, and Vin could use the larger ones like a burger roll later 😉

[[image:bread47.jpg:Rolls cooling on a wire rack:center:0]]

[[image:bread48.jpg:Rolls, close up:center:0]]

I also played with some cheese bread. This is Pain Battu au Fromage (or Cheese Batter Bread), which is rich with parmesan cheese. First here it is in the loaf pan:

[[image:bread36.jpg:Rich batter in the loaf pan:center:0]]

In case you missed the cupfuls of parmesan in the batter, why not sprinkle another handful or two on top?

[[image:bread37.jpg:Sprinkled with more parmesan:center:0]]

Here it is right out of the oven. See how nicely the loaf rose during the baking process? I was quite amazed.

[[image:bread38.jpg:Cheese batter bread still in the loaf pan:center:0]]

Take the bread out of the pan:

[[image:bread39.jpg:Out of the loaf pan:center:0]]

This has become my favorite shot of the process, the cheese batter bread sliced up:

[[image:bread40.jpg:Sliced while still a little bit warm:center:0]]

More Rosemary Focaccia, which is great to bring to any dinner-party:

[[image:bread45.jpg:Before baking:center:0]]

Once it comes out of the oven, sprinkle some handfuls of Romano cheese on top so it will melt onto the bread:

[[image:bread46.jpg:Rosemary-Cheese Focaccia:center:0]]

For a little sweetness, the Raisin-Orange Bread. Vin liked this bread so much it is becoming our traditional festival bread (I made it for Thanksgiving after this first experiment with it).

[[image:bread49.jpg:Raisin-Orange bread:center:0]]

One of Vin’s favorite things about this bread is the glaze that’s on top. It’s really quite good:

[[image:bread50.jpg:Raisin-Orange, out of the pan:center:0]]

And again, my favorite shot, of the bread sliced.

[[image:bread51.jpg:Raisin-Orange loaf sliced while still a little warm:center:0]]

We cut slits on the top of the bread so the glaze would seep in the bread, and you can see the glazed spots on the inside of the bread. Needless to say, Vin and I had to compromise so we could each have some of the portions with the glaze in the bread.

Playing with herbs, some Rosemary-Garlic bread. This bread is beautiful and herby, and is healthier than some of my other breads because of the whole-wheat flour used. Here’s a look at the herbs that go into the bread, clockwise from top parsley, rosemary and garlic, all fresh and all chopped fine:

[[image:bread52.jpg:Fresh herbs for the bread:center:0]]

The loaf after being formed, is dropped into the loaf pan:

[[image:bread53.jpg:Prior to rising:center:0]]

Look how high it rose!

[[image:bread54.jpg:Rosemary-Garlic Bread, after rising:center:0]]

After a turn in the oven, the bread is ready:

[[image:bread55.jpg:Rosemary-Garlic Bread, baked:center:0]]

[[image:bread56.jpg:Rosemary-Garlic Bread out of the pan:center:0]]

[[image:bread57.jpg:Without the wax paper:center:0]]

And of course, my favorite shot of the bread, sliced:

[[image:bread58.jpg:Is there anything better than sliced bread?:center:0]]

Some french baguettes called Pain Ordinaire Careme (which I wasn’t too happy with – they’re not as pretty as I had hoped they would be):


And the last bread I baked in 2005, the Italian Olive Loaf (the large brown loaf to the left of the baguette):

[[image:bread60.jpg:Italian Olive Loaf:center:0]]


[[image:bread62.jpg:See the olives popping out from the middle of the bread?:center:0]]

2006 is turning out to be another productive year for bread, so far. As I look back at the breads from last year, I remember the occasions, and the friends with whom we broke bread, and the different things happening at work that I escaped from during the weekends, and most of all, how much fun I had playing with bread and how much Vin loves the home-made bread. I look forward to another year of bread-baking, and will report back when I have a decent collection of breads for this year.

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