#21  
Old 04-07-2008, 12:31 PM
CanuckJim's Avatar
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Location: Prince Albert, Ontario, Canada
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

George and all,

Food writer Betty Zyvatkauskas sat in on the second day of my first bread baking course of the season, last weekend of March. It was supposed to be spring, but you'll see from the photos we're a long ways away from mowing the lawn. Since then, most of the snow has melted (except for the glacier in the yard), so we've got snowdrops blooming and miniature crocus poking through the still frozen ground. This weekend's course participants (Chris and Roger from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Adam from Ottawa, Ontario) braved the muddy thaw for an Italian line-up: Neapolitan pizza, focaccia, ciabatta, Genzano potato pizza, Altamura bread made with madre acido and stromboli. As usual, there was a lot of laughter, and we finished off the course with a sweetish red bubbly.

Have a look at the article here: Explore Durham

I'll post some pics from the April course once they're downloaded.

Jim
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  #22  
Old 04-07-2008, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

Sounds nice Jim. I'd really love to make it out there in the next few years for one of your courses. My whole problem with bread is kitchen inefficiency. I seem to work my butt off for a few loaves of bread, espcially when combined with pizza, toppings, oven management etc. I'd love to see how a pro makes life easy in the bakery.
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  #23  
Old 04-08-2008, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

A couple of weeks ago I fired the oven up only to make bread - it was quite a relaxing experience.

Easy life in a bakery probably means you're concentrating on baking, and not making pizzas, looking after the kids, working out how to use the heat in the oven for the next four meals and answering the door and telephone at the most inconvenient moments as well.

Those kneading machines must help, too.

But then bread volumes will probably be slightly higher in a bakery, so it may even out in the end...
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2008, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

George, Frances,

Well, it's never exactly easy. The biggest hurdle is the same hurdle you mention: scheduling. With the kinds of breads we make, which can be temperamental, it's really a matter of planning which bread to make first, combined with which bread likes what hearth temperature. The spanner in the works is wild yeast doughs that rise at different rates during different seasons. They can really take off or really be reluctant, so timing it all can be a bit hairy occasionally.

For hands on instruction purposes, I've designed the course to run the gamut of doughs, from the wettest, like Ancienne baguette or ciabatta, to the middle ground, like sourdough boule, to the stiffest, like bagel dough. That, I'm finding, gives the participants a "feel range" that will be applicable to any kind of bread they want to make later.

One participant was a woman who had baked bread for twenty years. The single most important thing she learned was that for twenty years she had been making her doughs too dry, hence a dense crumb.

I've had people from as far north and west as the Yukon, as far west as Alberta and Saskatchewan, as far east as New Brunswick, and states like New York and Connecticut. On the 19th of April, a man will be coming from Texas. It's a small world in bread land, and George is not that much further away.

And, yep, those kneading machines make it a lot easier. I can't imagine all those guys making stiff, stiff bagel dough by hand years ago--and a lot of it. Must have been exhausting.

George, it might sound odd, but it's almost as much work to make two loaves as it is to make a dozen, because you still have to follow all the steps.

Jim
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2008, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

and it does not take any more wood either!
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  #26  
Old 04-08-2008, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

[QUOTE=gjbingham;28845]

XJ - the grasses themselves invented lawns, in a round about sort of way. They're weeds, just like every other plant in the world. Some weeds we've found uses for, so we give them nicer names and take better care of them. We just kill the ones that don't look nice and do damage to the weeds we like. Some weeds make great homes if you cut them up into lumber first. Some weeds create great fruits that will eventually become the best wines ever made. On and on. Weeds are just plants that we don't have a use for (yet). [QUOTE]

George: in Spain weeds are called "contra hierbas" anti herbs....the ones you don't eat. I was at the garden center that our friends run and reached down and pulled a weed out of a flower pot....she said it's good for salad and kept it!

They eat all sorts of things we don't....there's a native succulent that will grow on the roof (no water) and she said she had a recipe to pickle them!

Anyone like morcilla?

XJ
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  #27  
Old 04-08-2008, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

Full English wouldn't be complete without a bit of black pudding...........

Is it available in the States and OZ?

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  #28  
Old 04-08-2008, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inishta View Post
Full English wouldn't be complete without a bit of black pudding...........

Is it available in the States and OZ?

Black pudding? Never heard of it! The West Coast is a bit foreign to international foods, so its not surprising that I'm ignorant on the pudding.

CJim - Thanks for the note. Who knows, maybe one of these years I could actually get up there for a lesson. I do realize that making a quadruple recipe is just as easy as a single, but the volume of bread produced is difficult to store so that its presentable when its needed.

Somehow I can't justify firing up the oven for just four loaves of bread either. I have close to five chords of wood seasoning, but it still seems a waste. So if I want to do bread, I'm back to planning whole dinners and next-day roasts to justify the wood spent.

Overly conservative (cheap) and somewhat anal retentive. Its a lifestyle, though not a careless and fanciful one.

XJ and other weed lovers - I saw on the news last night there's an invasive weed that got transported from Sweden here in the NW now that actually emits toxins as it grows, which kills all the native flora around it as it spreads. Apparently the plant is kept in check by a microbe in Sweden. No such bug here. They're worried that it will overtake vast areas of the forest lands. Hmmm, I wonder if its edible?
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  #29  
Old 04-08-2008, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjbingham View Post
XJ and other weed lovers - I saw on the news last night there's an invasive weed that got transported from Sweden here in the NW now that actually emits toxins as it grows, which kills all the native flora around it as it spreads. Apparently the plant is kept in check by a microbe in Sweden. No such bug here. They're worried that it will overtake vast areas of the forest lands. Hmmm, I wonder if its edible?
GJ, A lot of plants make toxins to give them a competitive edge. One very common example many people are familiar with is the black walnut... the juglans toxins keeps other plants in check around the tree. It sound like your news story may be case of over-hype by the media ala all the scares a few years ago about the snakehead fishes in Maryland. Over the years, I've had several plants that have been on our state's noxious plant list because they are supposedly so invasive...some of them were impossible to keep going as all the condiditons weren't right for them. Not reccomending that people go out and plant the bad plants but just shows we can waste a lot of worry on some pretty minor things.
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  #30  
Old 04-08-2008, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: How's your Spring shaping up?

In...it's not as common in the States but I'm sure you find it in the more ethnic areas. Canada yes. OZ I would assume too since it's colonized by the brits.

I've found a spicy one this year....very tasty. Morcilla Piquante.
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