Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bread Baking, Bread Breaking Part 2

Today I'm wrapping up my photos and comments from our weekend at Hains House, where Pat Hains hosts a Bed and Breakfast and teaches a monthly class in baking artisan bread. Tom was enrolled in the March class, along with two young women. They baked from 3:00 Friday till 3:00 Sunday, with time off to eat and sleep, so they had time to make lots of marvelous breads. You can find more about our memorable weekend here, in Part 1.

If you are going to bake artisan bread, you need the right equipment. A wood-fired oven is certainly an advantage, but not everyone will be able to have one. Fortunately Pat Hains does. And there's Skip, keeping the fire going.

Timers and tape measures, two essential tools. You want those pretzels to roll out to 21 inches, and you'd better mind the timer when it goes off. Pat stressed the importance of following the recipe. This is not the time to be creative! Don't estimate, don't guess. Use the listed amount of each ingredient and let the bread rise and bake at the stated time. (You may find that the recipe needs adjustments for your oven, but you'll never know if you don't follow the recipe.)

If you've got a scale, get it out; if not, you will want to have one on hand. It is the best way to accurately measure your ingredients and will make a difference in your final product.

Pat stretches the pizza dough, being careful not to tear it

Pizza veggies, roasted in the wood oven. Yum!

Pizza ingredients, waiting for the crusts so we could build our pizzas

My gluten-free pizza with vegan cheese, baking 

The best pizza I have ever had!

Focaccia ready to bake


A pretzel, scored and sprinkled and ready to bake

Now these are fine pretzels!

A pull-apart with gooey cinnamon and sugar on the bottom

The tired but happy class on Sunday afternoon

I was shopping in Stanwood one afternoon during the winter and went into Jungle Luv, a florist. I found this cute, tiny bicycle (just 2 inches high and 3 inches long) carrying a tiny French baguette. It made the perfect graduation gift for Tom! I asked the woman at the shop about the bread. She told me that when she was on a flight home from France she was served a snack -- a little bag of tiny baguettes! She collected all the snack bags she could and has found the perfect way to use them!

Happy graduation, Tom! Here's to a long and happy life of baking bread and breaking bread together!

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