Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baking with Swine Flu

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!


Nicole said...

Again, I love the photos! Makes me want to visit you and bake a loaf of bread in that beautiful setting! :-)

I also like the changes you made, subbing in the pineapple, papaya and macadamia nuts. YUM!!

I can't believe you baked this while you are so sick...I'm really impressed (but next time, just stay in bed!)

Jeff said...

Sorry to hear about the bout of sickness. Never a good thing.

I love the Hawaiian flavors in this dish and I second the whole if it was not for the challenge I probably would have skipped right over this one. Oh who am I kidding if it was not for the challenge the book would still be mocking me from the bookcase.

Devany said...


Thanks for the comments. Come on over and bake! When the wood burning oven is finished later this summer, we could REALLY do some fun stuff!

Devany said...

Hey Jeff,

Nicole's challenge has done a lot for all of us. I agree, the book would probably be sitting on the shelf as one of the most beautiful bread books, but I sure would not have made more than a few of the breads on my own. This is a great group of bakers too.

Anonymous said...

Way to go girl, nothing can keep a good baker down. Made my mouth water and thinking about next week, maybe Damon and I will stop over for a touch of yummie.

The Lack

Susie said...

Great looking loaf. :) Love your photos.
Have you been TESTED for Swine Flu?
That stuff is contagious isn't it? Hope you get to doing better.

ATigerInTheKitchen said...

Brava! The end product looked lovely. Glad you survived the process.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Poor you! Hope you continue to feel better. Thought I had it but they "swabbed" me--not fun! and it turned out to be a sinus infection.

Your bread looks great--love the Hawaiian flavors and the pictures are lovely.

Anonymous said...

Devaney I hope you are on the mend and went to the Doctor today! Your bread is so beautiful and sounds very tastey!! How does the DH stay so slim with all these goodies tempting the tongue??

Devany said...

Cleo, Deb and Susie,

Yes I am on the mend, or at least with drugs ' plenty and high hopes. I was swabbed, but before the Dr. sent it in she was sure that is what I had. Actually, I am glad to get it out of the way before the fall when it is supposed to come back with a vengeance.

Susie, yes, it is contagious, but no more so than the regular flu. I have not left my house in 6 days except to go to the Dr. and to take pictures outside of the bread.

I am glad I am back on schedule! Bagels for the weekend.

Susie said...

I'm glad you are back on schedule too. We love your breads and your photos. :)
Hope you can get out and about real soon,

Anonymous said...

I almost hate to do this... and you know I have a dirty mind... but image "Blog023.jpg"... oh what I see! Can I use it on my other blog? Please please please?



chefectomy said...

Hi Devany,

First time to your blog and I love the Hawaiian islands, specifically the Big Island (but have not made it over to Hilo yet)...Not that food doesn't look delicious (it does) but I am blown away by the million dollar backdrop the bread is photographed with! I'll come back and visit.


Pete Eatemall said...

Pics are beautiful! Loved this bread! Loved your additions! Hope you are back to 100%! Happy baking!