Monday, April 14, 2008


Ok, I’m a little more coherent today. It seems like I’m either working, knitting (no matter how hard I try I can’t knit and type at the same time), gardening, sleeping or leafing through a half dozen books on herbs or perennials. Not necessarily in that order and realizing why so many people stick with rhodies and juniper. It may be boring but it’s easy. But, nobody in this family ever took the easy way to anything. There is so much to learn. A life times worth it looks like.

It did sink in this weekend that the key to peaceful coexistence of bread baking and gardening is “start the bread first.” And put it in the chilliest corner of the kitchen to do its thing. It does its thing and you do yours.

Then all you have to worry about is making sure you punch the dough down before it totally escapes from the bowl and comes looking for you. Now there’s a picture; a yeasty version of the Michelin Man roaming free in the garden. ;-)

You can cut cheese into cute little cubes and dice little green onions whether you’re standing or sitting. (I would decide that it was time for cheese and onion bread this week.) So I’m slicing, dicing, finishing off the last of the chicken stir fry, snagging the odd cube of cheese or bit of onion, and just as happy as can be. Ok, my lower back was a little sore. That’s why I was sitting down.

Held back about twelve ounces of the dough for a homemade pizza. Mostly veggies, a tiny bit of diced salami and no mozzarella. I think I’ve figured out what all the cheese for. It protects the toppings at high temperatures. Ok, next time the salami goes on first and gets covered by the tomatoes. Goddess I’m looking forward to home grown tomatoes again. And I’m not sure if I’m making pizza or a really fancy foccacia. No mozzarella, just lots of freshly shredded parmesan and asiago.

And stone, shmone. I’ve been using a big iron griddle. I get everything prepped, stick the griddle in the preheated oven, get the dough and topping on the oven temp griddle. (really good hot pads are key here, and for heaven’s sake don’t forget the blasted thing came out of a four hundred degree oven) and bake. This seems to warm the dough and start the rising process right away. This weeks' came out with a wonderfully crisp crust.

Are the results as good as a baking stone. I don't really know. What I do know is that trying to get raw dough and toppings off the peel and onto the stone without totally cooling off the oven, or losing half the project off the peel and onto the oven floor, was more trouble than it was worth. Besides, that griddle is much easier to store when I'm not using it.

Oh, and the leftovers are very handy later in the week when mom would rather be getting her hands dirty outside instead of inside.


mlraminiak said...

You guys are really tearing it up this year, aren't you?  Have fun, and I'm sure it will look great when you're done.  Lisa  :-]

tenyearnap said...

I always thought that the Michelin man was just gross. Michelin Man with a yeast infection....more gross!
Your baking sounds soooo gooood. --Cin

mleighin21st said...

Stone Schmone-  I just love cast iron.  Primitive non-stick, there's not much better.  Try sprinkling the peel with some cornmeal, it helps the dough slide and adds a nice texture to the crust.  
Cheese and onion bread sounds yummy.  I'm jealous of your baking.
In fact I envy the garden paradise you've created, too.  There's nothing more satisfying than watching the spark of an idea grow into a mature, blooming environment.  And it does justify having all those books.  :)
                                        Smiles,  Leigh

dsonney01 said...

I usually do not like pizza, but you have made me hungry for it! I love to bake bread too! Can't do it now because I need to keep dieting for a while! Oh, for one of those fresh tomatoes! Dannelle