Blizzard and Bread in New England

This morning we woke to a real New England blizzard.  Weathermen argue about whether we’re getting a foot or two.  I look out my window and see our little river coated in snow and ice, the construction yard coated in a foot of the cold white stuff.  Seems the perfect time for warm bread and hot coffee.

In a happy accident my attempt to form a ball of dough turned into a very large donut.  Instead of trying to fix it I looked at it and saw a wreath of sorts.  Still in the Christmas spirit I decided to try something new.  So into the oven it went without it’s customary cup of water to create a steam bath. 

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes recommends that you leave both your pizza stone and a broiler dish in the oven while preheating.  Once you shift your dough onto the stone you are supposed to put in a cup of hot water directly into the hot broiler dish and immediately close the oven.  This creates a steam bath which helps create a very think crust.  It is also supposed to make the bread crackle when you take it out…this fun crackly sound that really doesn’t do much but sure sounds nice.   

Until this morning I haven’t gotten that sound issuing from my breads.  But this morning I didn’t add my cup of water, I simply baked the bread without it and while the crust was not as thick as usual it was still crunchy and made the loveliest crackling sound when I took it out.

Today we had fresh bread and coffee for breakfast and watched the snow whip around our windows.  We’re sitting on the couch, sweet and toasty cats curled up next to us, and while my wife is watching ghost stories on television I am connected to work and trying to get as much done from home as possible. 

This is my kind of way to start the work week.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and that Santa brought you everything you asked for!