Monday, August 22, 2011
This year I thought it would be a good idea to 1) learn French and 2) master the skill of baking. These goals were inspired by my love of Paris and by all the amazing bakeries around Greece and Turkey. Kelly and Kendra will confirm that, upon my insistence, we went inside every bakery we passed. The bread, pastries, baklava, etc. were all so beautifully displayed, and tasted as good as they looked. My favorite were the old guys who baked hundreds (maybe thousands) of loaves of bread every morning at the bakery around the corner from our hotel in Turkey. They would load them onto trucks early in the morning and by the evening every loaf was gone. So back to my baking goal, I decided that I would initially start out to master morning buns and challah, and that these would become my "specialities." The year started out strong, Barbara and I tried out at least 3 different challah recipes, so far none as good as the loaves for sale at Noe Valley Bakery right down the street from my house. I started to loose steam, but shifted my focus to morning buns. Well after reading several baking books, I realized that it's a 3 day process to make a proper morning bun. Again, I thought of all the bakeries around San Francisco that make wonderful morning buns that can instantly be yours for a small, reasonable fee. The dream all but died at this point. Then Barbara found a baking class offered through Groupon. We signed up for a beginning "starter" class at Victoria bakery in the Mission. I've made a lot of bread in my lifetime, mostly quick breads, pizza dough, and some yeast breads. But I'd never made a bread from a starter. What a fun new process. We learned to make our own starter and took one home to "feed." Did you know that starters need to be fed daily! It's like a Tamagotchi or one of those flour sacks they give you in high school to carry around to teach parenting responsibility. My starter was born on 8.21.11 and is named Manny. He'll be ready for his first loaf in about a week. I'll let you know how it goes. While Barbara continues to travel every week for work, I'm also babysitting her starter, Penelope. Wish me luck, this seems like a lot of responsibility.