Monday, July 19, 2010

Desayuno en Español

Many of the days we were in Spain, I ate the perfect breakfast (not nutritionally speaking of course). It consisted of café con leche and a napolitana (what we might call a chocolate croissant). There’s just something about this combination that really works (worked) for me. The best was when I could get a warm napolitan, but then, the place where they served them still warm was also the place where there was a tad too much milk in the café con leche. It’s a bit tricky working out the perfect combination. The two together cost about 2 euros (about $2.60). Hard to beat that!

But every time I had one of these little flaky babies, it was delicious—cold, warm, with lots of sprinkles, with hardly any, on a plate with knife and fork, out of my hand when walking down the street—all amazing.

And the discovery I’ve made about coffee is that I like a really short one, shorter than any of these behemoths that Starbucks sells. And I like the combo of espresso and milk, with one hit of sugar. Sublime. I’ve ordered a little electric machine to see what I can replicate here at home. I don’t think it is possible to replicate the napolitan, but that doesn’t mean I might not try.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

No-Work, No-Knead Bread


I bought a new bread book--Jim Lahey's My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. This necessitated buying a new pan too--a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset. Clever, huh? The actual making of the dough took all of 5 minutes including weighing the ingredients, and then, as instructed, it sits out for 12-18 hours. Because I made it at noon on Tuesday, I knew that I wouldn't want to be baking it at midnight, so I refrigerated it until the next morning. Then I took it out and left it out all day. Last night, I started it on its second rise at about 7 pm so that I could bake it at 9 pm, late enough that I could open up the kitchen and let all the heat out overnight.

The bread was out of the oven at 10:15 and gorgeous! But you shouldn't cut into hot bread--it just ruins it. Luckily I was having trouble sleeping, so at 11:15 I got up and had a couple slices. Divine! And then more for breakfast. The outside is crusty and crunchy, but not too thick like some artisan breads are.

This first loaf was all white flour, all purpose King Arthur flour. Next time I will make one with 25% whole wheat, which the author says is just the right amount. I would love to do 100% whole wheat and see how it turns out. Maybe with whole wheat pastry flour it won't end up like a door stop.