Now that it is too hot to garden, my summer plans are to bake my way through Ciril Hitz "Baking Artisan Bread".
My goal when purchasing this book was to perfect my baguette. The flavor and texture of the dough that I use is good, could be better (ten fold better than my local French bakery) but my shaping needs considerable improvement.
My family loves my baguettes but I am striving for consistent perfection with not only a good taste and crumb but a perfectly shaped bread.
I bake two baguettes a day and it is near impossible to have enough left over to make crostini. With fig season coming up, I may have to double up on my baking.
Below is my favorite baguette video, I am too embarrassed to tell you how many times I have watched it.
I have a couple of bread challenges that I have to tackle. Many of my baking issues can't be changed, such as having the smallest kitchen in the U.S. My entire kitchen is 8 foot by 8 foot which includes a standard sized refrigerator, standard stove and a dishwasher, so I can tell you that I have a tight working area. In addition, my countertop is unusally high which makes mixing, kneading and shaping dough difficult, not to mention a small work surface.
With the heat of the oven, I am not able to use a baking stone because of the time it takes to heat the stone. Living in a tropical area, having a hot kitchen is the summer is hard on the utility bill. I am thinking of getting a second gas oven and putting it in my garage until we can build a summer kitchen. Mulling over the pros and cons of this idea.
The above issues are easy, my biggest challenge in baking was when I was living in the gypsy wagon and had only a small electric convenction toaster oven to bake with. With a bit of practice, I was able to make a good boule using a dutch oven artisan bread technique.
and I even experimented and came up with a lovely chocolate cherry version which made the best grilled cream cheese sandwiches.
Sorry, no recipe for the chocolate cherry as I just added to the basic boule recipe.
Back to the "Baking Artisan Bread" book, I have read it cover to cover, devoring every word. This is going to be a summer of bread baking and I thought I would start with perfecting and tweaking my baguette and work my way through the book chapter by chapter. I have decided instead to start on chapter/formula nine: Brioche.
The pans have been pulled out of storage and I am ready to bake tomorrow.
I love good bread and I am planning a bread vacation where we take the gypsy wagon on the road wandering and sampling bakeries along the way.
My dream is to attend one of these workshops.
Guess you could say I am Ciril Hitz biggest fan.