Monday, 4 January 2010

Of Bread and Books..

Catching up with my commitment to baking through the Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, I finished a couple of loaves over the holidays - the first one being his Pane Siciliano. This bread, three loaves to the recipe, is very much like a baguette with very cute curly-cue styling. Reinhart finishes his with sesame seeds but I just added a little more semolina flour.
The bread was chewy and light at the same time, we had it for our Christmas Eve picnic with cheeses and patés and crudités. It was very tasty indeed. Another favourite from the BBA.

I love the stylized look of this loaf, easy to do and very impressive for guests.
The bread has a pre-ferment, which gives it a more complex flavour like a semi-sourdough.
It had a great crispy crust, probably the best crust I have gotten from one of Peter's breads.

So sexy!
I skipped the Panettone for now, not in the mood for fruited breads.. maybe for Easter. And I still have to do the Multigrain Extraordinaire. (Just waiting for some leftover brown rice!) The Pizza Napoletana I have made before, a couple of times, so, moving on....

The next bread was the Poolish Baguettes. Who doesn't love a baguette? These were made with a poolish, a wet preferment that gives a complex flavour and good rise. The original recipe calls for some whole wheat flour with the bran sifted out.. which I didn't do. Seemed like a waste of bran to me, especially in this day and age when people are adding healthy ingredients to their breads. The bread turned out very tasty indeed. In fact I have a little poolish left in the fridge and will be making some more today.

They made for excellent, and satisfying, sammies!

I used the baguettes for making Shrimp Po'Boy Sandwiches from Da Cajn Critter, a book I had received to review this winter.
It took me a while to find something to try in the book, I found that the majority of recipes had packaged foods in them which is not the way I like to cook. I continued to put the book at the bottom of my to-do list for this reason.
I do like the idea of this book, it is cute and quaint and the ringed binding allows it to lie flat on the counter which is nice.. but it is not a book I would buy in a store due to the overwhelming amount of packaged foods required, many of which are not available here anyway.

That being said, the Shrimp Po'Boys were delicious, (especially on my homemade Poolish Baguettes!) I just had to find out how a Canadian could find some Fish Fry. Luckily my friend and fellow blogger Katherine helped me out with a way to make my own.
This was a recipe I had always wanted to try and I am very happy with the results. I would say the book is more "family-style" recipes than authentic Cajun recipes, be prepared for recipes that contain boxed cake mixes, cans of soup, tinned mushrooms, and a fair amount of regional packaged foods that might not be widely available. Cute and fun, but not a book to buy to learn all about the culture and food of Louisiana.