A real master of suspense, I am.
Anyway, I didn't run straight to my sewing machine as I was finishing up The Project, but I did find time to do a little baking.
It's a vague approximation of pizza, since I had no cheese on hand, and ditto for mushrooms, bell peppers, and ground beef. What I did have were tomatoes, lots of them, and the ingredients for pizza sauce. And a starter-based baguette dough.
I'd originally planned to make 3 baguettes out of the dough but, like at most places, at our house pizza trumps all other forms of bread. At a given time I'll be kneading some dough for burger buns or a tomato-stuffed white bread, when someone will pass by the counter and see the metal bowl.
"Oh, is that pizza you're making?" they'll ask, just a little too loudly. And then a call from one of the bedrooms -- "Pizza?" -- followed by a cry of "Pizza!" from the balcony, and then another from somewhere near the storage room.
"Pizza, pizza, pizza," comes a small voice from under the floorboards.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that those three baguettes never had a chance.
I did end up making one baguette, though, and I have to say I'm glad most of it went to the cheeseless "pizza" instead -- the bread wasn't bad, but it was a little too bland by itself. I used a King Arthur Flour recipe that I struggled with the first time, too.
Usually I love KAF's recipes, and the strawberry turnovers I made a while back used their rough puff pastry, but I think this recipe might be a little too advanced for me. Because the dough's very wet it's hard to get the hydration right, and there's three consecutive rises, which also leaves a lot of room for error. I ended up with a slightly tough crumb, and a very tough crust.
It was nice and charred, though, and it was pretty airy. I finished off the last bit with butter and a fried egg yolk, and the butter seeped nicely into it. And compared to the first "baguette" I made, almost two years ago (below), it's a lot closer to the real thing. Of course, when I made that bread (the one below) I was incredibly proud of it, compared with my tepid reaction yesterday. I guess that's how things roll.
|My first baguette attempt, circa fall 2010|
I've also been working a bit on my skirt -- the pieces are cut from a silk fabric, and I've started pinning them. I'll post more on that later. Oh, and here's a very good link for a Middle Eastern style garlic sauce (the kind they put on shawarmas) that I used as a dip for my cheeseless pizza yesterday. It's light and very creamy, and the garlic went well with the tomatoes and bread.
|Yes, that's my measuring tape for fabric.|
Don't want my sewing equipment to feel left out, after all.
As an endnote, here's some tips if you're in the mood for something pizza-like (aren't we all, almost always?) but aren't using cheese, either for health reasons or because it's not on hand:
- Use a very good crust recipe. My personal favourite is Jay's Signature Pizza Crust from Allrecipes, and if I have time I let it rise overnight or from morning to evening in the fridge, to get a stronger yeast taste.
- Think of it as a snack rather than a full-out meal.
- This means using lighter toppings like vegetables -- peppers, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes are good traditional options.
- Also, even if you're a fan of chewy crusts, flatten a cheeseless one out a little thinner. Not super-thin, 1 cm thick should be fine, but a heavier crust will seem too heavy without gooey cheese heaped on top.
- Experiment with different sauces -- I stick with tomato, but I've heard of hummus being used, which sounds great.
- Cut it into narrow wedges rather than slices, and prepare a dipping sauce -- something different from the sauce you used on the pizza crust. For example, I used a garlic sauce since my crust was tomato-heavy.
And now I'm headed back to the sewing room! Finally!