Pain de Campagne

In my search for information, I found a message board for people with knee injuries. The three to four weeks post-surgery, prior to the initiation of physical therapy are known as the dark days. It’s a hard time both physically and  emotionally. It involves going through withdrawal from a life full of activity, people, and adventure pre-injury to a life of home isolation, inactivity, and complete dependence on others. 

Suggestions for this time period include movie marathons, video games {I’m spookyzen if you want to play Words with Friends with me. ;) }, browsing on the internet, reading, and starting a blog. Hey! I have a blog. As life happens, I now have loads of time to blog but can’t really bake or cook. Luckily, I have a couple of items I haven’t had time to blog.

I’m slowly baking my way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice as part of the BBA Challenge. The next bread on my list was Pain de Campagne, a French bread known for its crazy shaping abilities. As I tend to be more rustic than artistic, I baked the loaves in basic crazy shapes. A boule with little peaks snipped up by kitchen scissors and the folded-over tabatière. In addition to looking semi-cool, the loaves were delicious. Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like good French bread.

I’m mid-way through my dark days and I’m starting to see the light. I’m able to tolerate more and more weight bearing on my injured leg, I’ve learned how to get in and out of bed on my own, and I think I should be able to get back to baking soon.

{bba} light wheat bread

This week I was in the mood for sandwiches for my workday lunches. As it was, the next bread up for me in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Light Wheat Bread–perfect for sandwiches.

When I first joined the BBA Challenge, I stayed on the weekly baking schedule. Then things happened and I joined the Slow & Steady Group.  Then I got busy and I think I’m now so  beyond the S&S time line that I’m baking a bread when the opportunity and time arises.

{bba} not lavash crackers

I’m good. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back for baking AND writing three posts this week. And I have the burn from a 500° F oven on my hand to prove it.

The next bread for me to bake from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice as part of the Challenge was Lavash Crackers. Instead of making the crackers, I decided to make the optional pitas. The recipe yielded six 2-ounce pitas. Which wasn’t enough because these were so delicious. Not dry, like store-bought pitas. Fluffy and light, these were perfect.

Baking pitas is fun too. You roll them in balls and then flatten them into 1/4″ thick circles. Toss them on the baking stone (it’s here where I burnt my hand). Watch them as they bake and as soon as they puff up and form pita balloons, you count to 10 and then they are done.

{bba} mini-kaiser rolls

Yeah, I’ve been busy lately. Barely have time to bake, let alone take pictures. I’ve been relying on my iPhone’s camera a little too much. It seems to be the only way I’m getting pictures of my food (a very weird sentence to write). I seem to never be home during day light hours.

Anyway, the short of it is that these are my only pictures of my next entry in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice ChallengeKaiser Rolls. The only change I made is to make mini 1-ounce rolls instead of big giant sandwich rolls. I used them to make little sammiches for a party I hosted last month.

The sandwiches are super easy to make (well, other than making your own bread :P) and are always a big hit with guests. All you need is pesto, goat cheese, and a jar of roasted red peppers.

The rest of the spread included: mini-mac and cheese bites, pigs-in-blanket using homemade croissants, hummus with fried chickpeas, mushroom & fontina crostini, caramelized pear & blue cheese crostini, plus lots o’ desserts.

In other news, I got a new tattoo last night. :)

Peace Love Happiness

{bba} italian bread torpedo rolls

Life got a little too busy or too complicated or maybe I just got a little too lazy. For whatever the reason, I decided to join the Slow & Steady group of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.When I joined the group, I already baked the breads they were baking and blogging. I had a good chunk of time before the bread I needed to make next–Italian Bread.

Ha ha! I sat on my duff too long. The Italian Bread was due the first week in December! I didn’t realize this until this week. But luckily, the some of other Slow & Steady Bakers got thrown off track because of the holidays and Nancy of The Corner Loaf (our fearless leader) is revising the schedule with the Italian Bread due in two weeks. So it seems I’m ahead again :P .

Shaped and ready for proofing

I made the bread for my supposed-to-be vegetarian Christmas Eve dinner and shaped them into torpedo rolls. The rolls rose and baked beautifully.

Fresh out of oven

My family loved the bread. My Mother couldn’t stop talking about it. My Mom is big on bread. She always used to say to me, “The key to a great dinner party is good wine, good bread, and good conversation”. All the other stuff is incidental.