Baking in Bequia 1

No, not that kind of baking – the weather is actually quite cool today, and rainy.

Arrived on Bequia last night and, since Dennis is out of bread, I decided to start baking first thing this morning to replenish the freezer. Might as well go back to our favourite recipes, I thought, revisit, test and enjoy all over again some of the best breads we’ve baked over the years, then write about the experience for the blog every day. I’ll be doing this accompanied by some of my favourite music, because I always like to listen to what I call cookin’ music, whenever I’m working in the kitchen. It must be something I can at least sing along with, if not dance to, so this morning I chose a new CD/DVD set that I just received for renewing my membership with KSPS-PBS in Spokane, Carole King & James Taylor: Live at the Troubadour. I remembered most of the words.

Must say, too, that the view from my Bequia kitchen is rather inspiring…

The bread I chose to bake today is what we call toasting bread, because it comes out of the oven nice and tall, stands up well to being sliced thin – although it’s so tasty you’ll always want those slices to be on the thick-ish side – and it toasts perfectly for the very best Toasted Tomato Sandwiches evah! You can even add extra mayo and the bread will never become soggy. I discovered this recipe when I bought a hardcover copy of Baking With Julia – Julia being Julia Child, of course – in which she enlists the help of famous bakers to create an extensive volume offering recipes on every type of baking. The first recipe I tried making then was White Loaves – traditional white-flour sandwich bread. It’s simple to make, with few ingredients, but what I remember from baking this bread the first time is that was when I actually discovered method really makes all the difference in successful yeast-risen bread. There’s also quite a bit of butter incorporated into the dough towards the end of the kneading process, and that’s probably the single ingredient that leads to this bread’s superior toasting quality. This particular recipe has never failed me, either, so, it was a good one to begin baking this time around. Unfortunately, it won’t be ready for lunch today, because I began too late. Good thing that the internet (in fact the entire phone system in the country) has been off for most of the morning. I kind of like that I haven’t been able to check email/Facebook, etc., every five minutes. I wonder if my constant attention to the dough will result in a superior loaf.

Ahhhh, and a cup of espresso has been delivered to me while I watch the dough rise! Heaven!

So here’s the finished bread. Not bad at all. But the proof will be in the taste.

Now I must read through some of my other favourite recipes to see what I can come up with for tomorrow’s baking session. Have to haul out all of the CDs, too, and find more music for my listening, and baking, pleasure.


One response

  1. There’s nothing, NOTHING, better than fresh bread.

    I think you should try these next 😀

    1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 cup lukewarm water
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup butter
    1 tsp salt
    1 large egg, beaten
    4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in water. Scald milk and add butter, salt and remaining sugar. Cool until lukewarm, place in a large mixing bowl, then combine with yeast mixture and egg.

    Gradually add flour, mixing until ingredients come together. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead about five minutes, incorporating more flour if necessary, to form a soft dough.

    Cover and set in a warm place to rise until doubled. Punch down. Pinch off balls of dough the size of large walnuts. Place on a greased pan, 1-inch apart. Pinch off slightly smaller balls, set on top of larger ones, and press down through both balls with thumb. Cover to rise until doubled. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Traditionally served for Faspa, with cheese and preserves.

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