Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Food for the Body and the Soul

Both knitting and bread are good for mistake-prone, distracted people like me. Okay, maybe not lace, but knitting in general is pick up and put down, tear out if you get it wrong kind of stuff. Bread can be equally forgiving.

Take yesterday. Thing 1 and I were planning to make Pane all'Olio, or Olive Oil Bread. We mixed it up and set it to rise. Even substituting butter for the lard called for, it was a terrific dough. [As an aside, four recipes in, I'm finding that the doughs as written are too dry. I'm adding between 2T and 1/4 c of water to make them just right. Maybe our flour is holding a lot of moisture?]

At any rate, the dough rose beautifully. Thing 1 shaped it into 12 little lime-sized balls and placed them in a ring. We covered them and set them to rise. By this time it was her bedtime, so I figured I'd have time to get them in the oven.

Instead, I got me into bed and only after I was covered up did I realize "The bread!" I hopped out, punched it down, placed it back in the oily bowl, covered it, and popped it into the refrigerator.

Here's the nice part. This morning, it was happy to see me, so I shaped it again and baked it after rising. Brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, it was great with the cappucino the girls walked to the coffee shop for. It was so good -- all those rises? -- that some of it was eaten before it posed for its pictures:

With all I have to do (hello? camping trip, Shakespeare discussion group, housecleaning, homeschooling?), am I doing them? Nope, I'm reading.

I had the great good fortune of hearing Alexander McCall's The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs on CD before I read it. For some reason, the voices really added to my experience. I laughed so hard I probably shouldn't have been driving. So I've read At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances over the past few days, and chuckled my way through that. I may have to go back and read the first one. How I know this is funny? My fluent-in-German and German-culture sister thinks it's pretty funny too.

Maybe I'll come back from camping with a somehow-finished scarf.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Thing 4 is very advanced for her age to be rolling dough balls... (Yummm)


Stefaneener said...

Thank you for the heads up. She would if we'd have let her!

sewingsuzee said...

Yum! Glad the sniffles are fading!

Charity said...

Thanks for the tip on the new author! I'm an avid reader, and am always on the lookout for a new series to read :0) I've reserved one at the library, and can't wait to get reading!

Alisha said...

Yum...is all I have to say about this post....that bread looks so yummy!!!!

I have to add those titles to my ever growing to read list....I wonder sometimes if I ever will get through it.

Anonymous said...

The bread looks incredible. Flour that has been ground for a while tends to dry out, and will need more liquid than the recipe calls for; conversely, freshly ground flour is more moist and will require less liquid in the recipe. More risings also contribute to fluffier bread, ime.

Stefaneener said...

Thanks for the flour tip! Makes sense also because we're measuring by weight, not volume, so "dry" flour would take more to weigh 500g, and therefore need more water. Maybe we'll take 10% off for the next recipe.

Rain said...

The bread looks delicious.

allisonmariecat said...

Mmmm...the bread looks fantastic!

The flour could definitely be dry. I find my flour holds more moisture during the summer (when it's humid here) and I'm already needing to adjust recipes to add a bit more water.

K said...

That bread makes my mouth water! It has been a long time since I made bread, but love the rhythem of punching it down and waiting and punching. Very cool.