Monday, August 12, 2019

All Day Affair

Both the projects I made for tonight's dinner took most of a day or more.

First, I made baguettes. To be fair, I made them for a little party yesterday, but the recipe made three baguettes so I had one left for dinner tonight. I used a recipe my friend had developed (he has some of Legion and so adapted a couple of recipes to use the starter instead of making a new poolish from scratch each time):
16 oz bread flour
6 oz starter
1 tsp salt
pinch of instant yeast
9+ oz water

Put the flour in the mixer, make a well in the center for the starter. Sprinkle the yeast and salt around the edge of the bowl (not touching the starter). Add the water and mix. Knead in the mixer for about 15 minutes until the dough is wrapped around the bread hook and is elastic and smooth. Turn out and quickly shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover. Then you can take as little as 6 hours, doing a fold of the dough hourly (pull up the dough from the sides and form a pouch like a dumpling) or a whole day or more by putting the dough in the fridge and doing the folds less frequently. I think I ended up doing 8 folds over an entire 29 hours (I was working in between all these steps). Then yesterday I got up at 4 am to shape and proof the loaves in a couche. At 6 am the loaves were in the oven (spritz with water and score with a lam first), 420˚F, boiling water tray for the first 10 minutes and then 15-20 minutes without the boiling water. (Then I went to work.) The general feedback was that the bread needed more salt but that the crust was firm and the inside was soft and full of big holes, which is what I was trying to achieve.

Then today I worked on this recipe for "Sunday Sauce." I'm not really sure how it's supposed to taste, but it smelled like one of the Italian restaurants we like, so I guess I did OK. I got it all on the stove and simmering by noon and it simmered all afternoon until about 6 pm. Maybe that was too long, but it seemed fine. We have a LOT of sauce and meatballs left over.

The other thing I made today was a sweet pepper relish, using the recipe in "The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving," page 164. Since I plan to enter this in the fair, I need to remember that I used 9 long sweet peppers, some dark green and some light, 2 very large onions, and 5 Hungarian hot wax peppers. Those were all from the farm share, as last week's distribution was rather pepper-heavy. There aren't really any cucumbers anymore. My last batch of pickles, the sweet icicle ones, are almost done. I have one more day in which I drain the syrup, boil it and put it back over the cucumbers. I'm not really sold on this one, I have to say. It reminds me of watermelon rind pickles which, while fun to make, were too cloyingly sweet for me.

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