Just What I Kneaded (Or Rather, What I Just Kneaded)

August 14, 2009


Bread Close Up

This morning began with a nine-mile run, clocking in at just around 80 minutes, which isn’t so bad (just under a nine minute pace and right on track for an under two-hour half marathon), especially considering that, as I realized part way through said run, I haven’t run more than six miles all year, not since my last half marathon I think. And this might just be why after returning from my run and taking a shower, I promptly fell asleep on the couch for two and a half hours. This resulted in an uncomfortable neck cramp for the next few hours, but it at least eased all the aches and pains in my legs and feet.

Anyway, today was bread baking day—really, my baking occupied the entire afternoon! )Of course, much of that was just down time, waiting for the dough to rise.) I didn’t take pictures of every step of the process this time, since it’s pretty uneventful, but I did make sure to take a photo of the poolish pre-ferment I made the night before:


This was awesome! It was amazingly gooey, but not at all sticky. I had never really handled (and certainly never made) anything like it before, just I was really excited to start making this bread. Unfortunately, I started to get a little discouraged when I began mixing the poolish with today’s flour, salt, yeast, and water. The dough was just so dry and not mixing at all with the poolish and I ended up having to wet it a lot more than I was supposed to. Still, in the end it came out looking okay, although I’m starting to realize the benefits of having an electric mixer. Not that mixing and kneading by hand is hard, but rather (at least in my hands) it just seems uneven and inconsistent. I mean, check out this video of someone folding some ciabatta dough. It’s amazing. I don’t think I could ever make dough that good with my hands. Fortunately, though, hand mixed dough still makes delicious bread.

Anyway, here’s what the dough looked like right before it went in the oven, first wide angle and then up close:

Bread Pre-Oven

Bread Pre-Oven Close Up

Originally, I thought I would only be making two loaves from this bread, but it swelled so much during the second rise that I thought it better to make three. Here they are all baked and finished:

Bread Baked

Bread Loaf

So in the end, these came out okay. We cut open one loaf (the one pictured directly above) for dinner tonight to try it out, and, like my last bread, although it wasn’t the most amazing bread I’d ever had, it was very satisfying: soft yet dense on the inside with only the slightest bit of crunch with the crust. I hope this will make an appropriate housewarming gift for my Toronto landlords and roommates, because I’ll be bringing one of those loaves up with me for them!

The rest of dinner tonight was also a treat, although I was not responsible for any of it. It was mostly leftovers, but they were some good leftovers. And since they were coming from the freezer, they weren’t leftovers we had just had the other night, either. Well except for the sweet potato chili with red quinoa, which we did just have the other night. But that’s so delicious, I could leftover that every night. (Look at me, verbalizing a noun that was originally derived from a verb!) Anyway, here are some pictures of the spread:

Dinner Plate

My main plate with aforementioned sweet potato chili and red quinoa on top and some kind of delicious burrito on the bottom.

Watercress Salad

Watercress salad with avocados and grapes. One word: Awesome.

Zucchini Bread

And for dessert, another round of spiced carrot zucchini bread! These loaves were much better than the last one, although the crust turned out so crispy that it sort of reminded me of biscotti, especially given its oblong shape.

And that was today! I’m looking forward to tomorrow 🙂

Until we eat again,




  1. […] 1 slice of Italian bread (I used Willie’s Ciabatta) […]

  2. […] yes that’s right, I have, and not just once, not just twice, but again, and again, and again, and again. Nonetheless, it bears repeating: I […]

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