Opera makes for some awesome bread

As I’ve been performing for the last two weeks (you know, the “Opera” part of “Kitchen Operas”), the routine has gotten a little out of whack.  There have been lots of quick meals, and lots of eating on the run.

In order to regain some stability in my life yesterday, I thought it was time to bake a loaf of bread.  Apparently, I’m not the only performer who feels this way!  My friend Louise (at Pâté chinois et Cie, a great place to practice your foodie French) is also in the show with me, and thought yesterday was a baking day as well.

My favourite loaf so far in my Bread-experiments has been the Multigrain Hearth Bread from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads.  Reinhart calls for 170 g of “any combination of cooked and uncooked grains”, the perfect canvas for experimenting with whole grains and my wholewheat sourdough starter, Fluffy.

I’ve made the loaf a few times as an Oat and Flax Wholewheat Sourdough Boule, and it is a dense and filling wholegrain loaf.  Perfect just with a little bit of butter, or some sharp old cheddar, it is my standard go-to bread right now.  I think it needs to become an avocado/tempeh sandwich at some point, but I haven’t gotten there yet…

Yesterday, though, I felt like trying something new (and was out of flax seeds), so I tried a combination of whole amaranth and oats.  Voilà!  Amaranth & Oat Wholewheat Sourdough Boule:

This loaf turned out less dense than the oat/flax boule, but was still a hearty wholegrain bread.  The amaranth grains are quite small, and because I soaked them overnight, they acted more like a flour than a whole grain.

My shaping skills have also improved drastically after I spend Thursday night reading my new copy of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day.  Turns out that the spreading factor I was trying to fight (and losing, getting blobby ellipses of bread instead of perky, round boules) was due to a lack of surface tension in my boule shaping!  So I went to town with creating extra surface tension on this boule, and wow did it make a difference:

(You can also see my high-tech cooling rack in this photo… it may be time to find myself a proper one!)

I think that the appeal of baking bread comes down to the joy of having a finished product at the end of hard work.  No matter how hard you work at developing your voice, honing your acting skills, or creating a show, there is always more you can do to get better… but in baking, once it comes out of the oven, there’s nothing more you can do.  It’s done, and you get to just enjoy the fruits of your labours, in delicious form!

Special thanks to reader and commenter, Fran, for coming to see the show last night!  It was wonderful to finally meet you!

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Categories: Bread, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

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9 Comments on “Opera makes for some awesome bread”

  1. Fran
    February 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    First of all—you were absolutely wonderful last night Lindsay…you sang like and angel and looked the part as well…
    these breads look great, I will make at least one for tomorrows Superbowl game and let you know about it. We just finished a bowl of your delicious split pea soup…I actually just added water to your puree recipe..
    you are so talented Lindsay…way to go!

  2. February 7, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Wow! What a boule, Lidsay! It looks amazing! (and thanks for the link to my blog 🙂 )

  3. Kristen
    February 7, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    The bread looks wonderful, but more importantly, I covet your Marimekko potholder!!

  4. February 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Thanks, Fran — what a great idea to turn the split pea puree into soup! Mmmmm. 🙂 I’m going to have to try it!!!

    Louise — any time, now you have to post about your amazing bread 😉

    Kristen — yes, it is really lovely, but not terribly heat-resistant… there was some burninating of the top edge of fabric when it hit the element in the oven… sigh. I’m sticking to kitchen towels from now on…

  5. misterrios
    March 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    The boule looks awesome. Well, both do, actually. I laughed when I saw your “cooling rack” because I used to not even bother with one, but never thought about using a colander. I’ll have to remember that when I’m baking elsewhere.

  6. March 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks, Daniel!

    I have since upgraded my cooling rack to a real mesh one!! Rectangular, of course… but there were lots of round ones available too.

  7. alzee
    December 23, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    I have an amazing breads extremely full of iron in Ethiopia it’s made of tife seeds have u ever heard of seed teff if 1000000% working for diet coz we skinny Ethiopia ans eat it lot i if any one need to tried it tank s

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