You know the saying, "Don't throw pearls before swine. " Well, someone threw the swine my way last week...flu that is. I am pretty sure I have the swine flu. I have had all of the symptoms since last Friday with no let up in sight. I have to believe this is going to end sooner or later!
If you have been following my blog, you already know that I am involved in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, and that involves baking one bread a week and posting on Mondays about that week's bread. Even though I was sick, I was determined to bake my loaf of Artos Greek Celebration bread. I started out on Friday morning getting my sourdough starter out of the fridge and waking it up. It took a couple of feedings, but by Saturday morning I was feeling sicker than ever, so I put the starter back in the fridge and had to start the whole thing again on Sunday morning. I got as far as making the dough and going through its first rise (or proofing) and felt so sick that I put it back in the fridge to retard the dough. This process actually increases flavor in most breads but that was not my reasoning. I just needed time to feel well enough to complete the task.
Finally, this morning I got the dough out of the fridge, punched it down, removed a portion for the decoration, added chopped dried papaya, dried pineapple and toasted macadamia nuts. Yes, I was taking liberties with the Christopsomos version of the bread which normally is a Christmas Bread, studded with golden raisins, walnuts and dried cherries. Hey... it is May and I am in Hawaii! I promise to make the Christmas version next December. I made the bole and set it out to rise.
The dough itself is enhanced with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, almond extract and orange zest. Some versions of the Artos are sprinkled with sesame seeds. Some have a citrus glaze. I did not want mine sweeter or nuttier and the version I was doing was decorated with dough appliques. So I opted for an egg wash half way through the cooking time.
Through the flu, I trudged on... a day late, I can now post for you the victory of another bread from the fabulous book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. If you love baking, especially artisan bread, you will love this book. It is not too late to bake along with me, and as I said before, if you are on the island, come bake with me in person! Next week I hope to be Swine Flu Free and baking bagels, one of my favorite breads. I am going to include the bagel recipe, as I think that is a very special one. After that is brioche featuring Liz' most beautiful Puna eggs (another story in the making).
Meanwhile, here are a few notes on the Artos I made:
- Because I had to retard the dough for two days, my bread may have developed deeper flavor. It had great texture and crumb.
- The loaf was HUGE. I am not sure why, but perhaps my sourdough starter is stronger than the poolish or barm that the book suggests using. And the recipe adds additional yeast to the mix.
- This like the first bread, the Anadama is probably a bread I would not have made except for the challenge. I am glad I did make it and will try it again for holidays.
- I "Hawaiianized" the loaf and was pleased with the results. The pineapple, papaya and mac nuts were a pleasant addition to the loaf.
- This bread is lovely on its own with some sweet butter, but also could be used for french toast, bread pudding and for making crostini to be eaten with cheese.
Next post in a few days will be an interview with "Taro Sam" the Lau Lau King. I did the interview last week. See you then!