For Bread 42 of 2014, I made Golden Pita Bread to go with some hummus that I had leftover in the fridge. I recall making this bread before several years ago, but I didn’t have a chance to write about it at the time.
Last week for Bread 41, I made Italian Bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice again. I was visiting my family in Amarillo for an early Christmas, and since I started blogging in 2010, it’s become tradition that I make bread to go with Christmas dinner. It happens that our Christmas dinner is lasagna, and Italian Bread is the perfect thing to turn into a garlic bread accompaniment.
I first made this recipe in 2011, but I generally prefer it over the French Bread I made the year before since Italian Bread makes larger loaves for larger slices of garlic bread. This recipe, like the French Bread, still involves you starting part of the dough the evening before you want to bake the bread – but trust me, it’s well worth the time you take to do that.
For Bread 40, I decided to try the Pizza Napoletana recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ve made a few different pizza crust recipes over the years, but never got around to trying this one, even though I’ve meant to; I just couldn’t plan my pizza-making one day in advance, which is what this recipe (like most of his recipes) requires. The original recipe made 6 individual pizzas; I pared it down to 2 pizzas below.
For Bread 39, and for the first loaf of bread I made at this new house, I decided to pull out another favorite of mine – Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread. I happened to have an overripe banana in the fridge, and I prefer this bread over any kind of sweet banana bread any day. I wrote about the banana sandwich bread back in 2011, but I’ve made it since then – more than once, I’m sure – because it’s easy, and the results are so satisfying. Not only is this the banana bread that I always fall back to; if I make sandwich bread, this is what I usually make. It’s tender, moist, and a little sweet. It’s a perfect loaf of bread for toast with raspberry jam, for a PB&J, or for French Toast.
For Bread 38, I made an old favorite of mine, Big Sur Hide Bread, that could be made vegan. I’ve made and written about it on here twice, including early in 2010. Every time I make it, I wonder why I haven’t made it more often. It’s incredibly easy to make, and takes very little time overall.
It’s amazing how much time and energy moving takes. I don’t recall moving being so involved before. The move from Missouri to New Jersey is certainly the longest I’ve ever done, but I think that moving when I have a baby due in just a few months is the biggest complication of all. After finding a place to live 15 hours away, finding movers, wrapping up with work and (fortunately) training my replacement, and taking a two-day road trip with girlfriends and my dog to make it here, I still have to navigate health insurance (keeping my old versus getting new) and a new OBGYN and hospital. And I still need to unpack the house. While also traveling for Thanksgiving and early Christmas.
With all the travel, I’ve lived in New Jersey full-time for one consecutive week! I’m beginning to settle in, and I finally have a little time to tell you a little about the breads that I made while I was still in Missouri and play a little catch up in December.
For Bread 37, I decided to make King Arthur Flour’s Whole-Grain Pumpkin Yeast Bread. I was excited to make this since it would use up some pumpkin and whole wheat flour that I moved with me to my friend Kate’s house, and it was vegan, meaning that Kate could eat it. I made a decent loaf of bread, although I’m rather dissatisfied with the recipe. The following version of the recipe suggests changes.
I’ve fallen behind on my bread project for this year, unfortunately. Life has a way of making that happen. I had great momentum starting out this year, and I even managed to mostly keep up with it during a hectic summer. In fact, I’ve even continued bread making despite a major life change on the horizon, as we’re expecting a baby in February!
However, the thing that has put me the most behind has been a little more sudden. Alex got a new job, and within the past few weeks, we’ve been putting all our energy toward a move from St. Louis to New Jersey. This very exciting development has meant that I’ve had little time to cook, aside from throwing together random ingredients to use up things I have in my pantry. I’ve had even less time for blogging – or much of anything else. (For instance, today was the first day I’ve picked up a novel to read in weeks.)
I will still meet my goal of 50 bread recipes in 2014, but I’ll have to play some catch-up in November and December, just as I did in 2010. It’s a little disappointing to not stick to the schedule I’d originally planned, but I’m looking forward to having the time to focus on cooking (and unpacking, of course) later this year.
For Bread Week 36, I made Cinnamon Bread. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes; I’ve made it a few times before. This is a recipe that I give for bridal showers and weddings, whenever I can, because it is easy, reliable, and above all, very delicious.
I didn’t have a lot of motivation for Bread Week 35, so I decided to take the opportunity to use up a few extremely overripe bananas in a Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe that was on the back of the bag of whole wheat flour I bought at Target.
I had some great tomatoes and cucumbers in my CSA box recently, and decided that I had to have bacon-cucumber-tomato sandwiches, which are perhaps my favorite sandwiches ever. A sandwich is only ever as good as the bread it’s on, so I tried Peter Reinhart’s Poolish Baguettes from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice for Bread Week 33.
For Bread Week 32, I finally made Peter Reinhart’s Focaccia again. I’ve made this recipe a few times, but never as a full pan of bread.
Most breads from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice take more than 1 day to make. This is no exception, but where most breads simply involve mixing the dough and letting it rise briefly on the first day before refrigerating the dough overnight, this focaccia involves making the dough, stretching it out 3 times, and shaping and oiling the dough before refrigerating it. This extra involvement on the non-baking day is why it’s taken me several weeks to finally bake this bread. I knew that once I did, though the extra work on the non-baking day would be worth it.