The Great Bread-Bowl Caper, Part 1

In my family there is a history of crazy Christmas’.  With 3 sisters, all with families of their own, in-laws, and plans, it’s hard to get everyone together for Christmas, even after Christmas.  But this year, while missing a husband and a nephew, we are finally able to gather at the same time to celebrate Christmas, even if a week late. 

The problem?  The meal decision has been made for a hearty beef stew in homemade bread-bowls.  That involves me and my new baking skills.  Pressure!  So we have a total of 9 people coming over, thanks to an impromptu visit from our dearest friend from Washington DC, Rob.   So that is 9 bread-bowls I have to make.  Why am I nervous….well, I’m nervous over a few items….

  1. My bread, up until now, has been for me so if it turns out deformed there is no one to judge but myself and possibly my wife.
  2. I will be trying to make more than a couple loaves at a time, I’ll have to make 2-3 bowls at a time and my pizza stone is relatively small and I’m worried that they’ll get stuck together or burn, or come out warped and I’ll have to start all over. 
  3. Our friend Rob loves to make bread and I feel a little competitive, which normally I’m not.

I think I have the game plan all set.  I’ll start making the bread bowls in the morning and once one batch of dough is gone I’ll make another batch, and so on until I have all the bowls done.  This should also allow for a few horrendous mistakes. 

The great news is that my special King Arthur’s Flour package arrived last night.  Look!

Once this weekend is over I’ll try my hand at Olive Oil bread and spend next weekend making focaccia’s as thank you gifts for my coworkers/executives who gave me Christmas presents.  I’m looking forward to it but it is pushing off my pastry dough work.  But, it’s necessary.  Word of the loaf of bread I brought into work has made it to the execs and they’ve been asking about it.  Now is the perfect time to bake some great bread and give it as gifts.  

Now I need your help.  I know there are a few of you checking out my blog and I could really use your thoughts on what types of focaccia bread I should make, so I’m setting up my very first poll!  Please vote, let me know what you think, and I’ll make a few of the top choices and share them with you when they’re ready!

The Never-Ending Christmas

One of my lovely executives that I support in my 9-5 world (closer to 7-4) gave me an American Express gift card for Christmas, bless his thoughtful heart.  Personally I love gift cards because it shows that someone understands that they have no idea what you are into but they want you to have a blast doing whatever it is you do.  Gift cards and wine.  Close tie. 

So I sat, this weekend, mulling over what I might buy with this lovely gift…perhaps a few bottles of wine, perhaps pay a bill, perhaps spend it slowly each day buying the super-grande-extra-caffienated coffee I purchase to get me through the mornings.  Then I thought about my bread, my lovely, rising, yeasty bread.  Why not get a few flours I can’t find at the supermarket?  Why not get something fun from one of my new favorite places?

So online I went to King Arthur’s Flour’s website. (They’re having a big sale right now by the way)  It only took me 10 minutes of blissful browsing to locate my purchase items. 

KAF’s Italian Flour blend, perfect for making lovely loaves of Italian bread, foccacia, ciabatta, and so many other delicious things that I just can’t wait to get started!

KAF’s Rye Flour Blend, for the perfect rye breads, pumpernickles, or just for adding to regular breads for a little more flavor and texture.  Many of the breads in the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes book use a Rye flour which I have yet to find in stores.

  

KAF…or rather Queen Guinevere’s Cake flour, great for pastries and cakes.  Though, I understand it’s connection to King Arthur, one would think cake flour would be named after Queen Marie Antionette.   I can’t wait to try my hand at this, using it in a delectable treats that I’ll push onto my coworkers.

 

Everything Bagel Topping!  My favorite kind of bagel topping right next to Salt.  There are recipes for bagels I want to try…or maybe even a ciabatta with a dusting of it.   I can almost taste it.

 So that was my lovely Christmas present.  I still have a bit left on the gift card so I’ll have to decide what else to get.  Perhaps a larger pizza stone or one of those neat Danish dough whisks.

Well, until then I have visions of Everything Bagels dancing in my head.  Mmmmm.