Monday, May 18, 2015

A New Month of Bread, Inluding a New Bread

First, a red alert... This week's bread has TREE NUTS in it. LOTS of tree nuts. I know at least one person in the Share is sensitive to tree nuts, and I apologize in advance. :) Not only is this bread loaded with nuts, it's loaded with hazelnuts, which, I read, are the nut that doctors use to test for tree nut allergies. If you're allergic to any tree nuts, you'll also be allergic to hazelnuts. So I read. Hazelnuts are also called filberts. I prefer that name, actually, because it's funny. Here's some filberts, quaking in their boots at the prospect of the hot oven they're about to face.

Hazelnuts headed to the oven.

I'm buying raw hazelnuts and toasting them. Conveniently, the skin of the nut mostly falls off when you toast them. Way easier than blanching...and who has time to blanch? Not me. In addition to a ton of hazelnuts, we've piled a bunch of dried Mission figs into this loaf. Now, while we do have a Mission fig tree here on the bakery grounds, these figs are from Trader Joe's, not my backyard. Maybe next year.

Full disclosure: I do not like nuts and fruit in bread. I really do not like fruit and nuts in bread. No foodstuff is less appealing to me than a fruitcake. I'm not just hating on fruitcake because it's cool to not like fruitcake. I really dislike it. It's a little like cilantro, which tastes like soap to me. Just like cilantro, I'm genetically predisposed to dislike fruitcake. But I like this loaf. It's not too fruity, and the nuts are pretty subtle. I wish they still had the crunch to them that they had when they're fresh toasted. I cut into a still-warm loaf and buttered it. Coupled with some crispy hash browns and scrambled eggs with smoked spare rib meat, it was part of one of the best breakfasts I've made in a long time.

Could not resist sharing this example of how you might want to use your loaf this week.

We went for a nice hike up below San Bernardino peak yesterday, and took a  couple of sandwiches made with this bread. We sliced it relatively thin then piled on some thinly-sliced leftover grilled chicken, added a bit of salt and pepper and just a little bit of mayo. Not surprisingly, it made a delicious sandwich. So this bread is not a one-trick pony; if you use your imagination, you'll find things to do with it besides eating it with butter,but I still highly recommend eating it with butter. It was an amazing day in the mountains yesterday. I had only my phone with me for still photos, and i haven't configured the new phone yet, so i think the HDR effect was on when I took this photo yesterday, but the picture still does a nice job of conveying what it was like around 9,500 feet up there yesterday.

Clouds over Yucaipa Ridge from San Bernardino Peak's Southern Flanks

The week will be an ongoing experiment with this loaf, actually, so Monday's loaf may look nothing like Fridays, but all should be quite tasty. This was the loaf that I started working on last week, fresh from the oven on Saturday morning.

Hazelnut Fig Levain

And here's the crumb. You can see that the crumb wasn't ready to be sliced.

Hazelnut Fig Levain Crumb, loaded with figs and nuts.
Home project and climbing trips loom large on the summer horizon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we're able to keep all the balls in the air through this busy season. The bread share started in October last year, when most of the summer mayhem was winding down. Since beginning the share, we've made more than 700 loaves of bread here at the C&C kitchen. That's a couple of average days at a small bakery, but this is just our little home oven here, so it's quite a bit of bread!

June through September are prime months for getting stuff done, and my days might get too packed to maintain the bread share for three out of every four weeks. As I said, I'll keep my fingers crossed, as I have a bunch of ideas that I would like to try, mixed in with a few weeks of the old reliable loaves.

Ingredients in this week's loaf:

Toasted Hazelnut and Mission Fig Levain

Fresh milled whole hard red wheat, wheat flour, water, toasted hazelnut, mission figs, sea salt, natural levain

This is my "I hope I break even" loaf. Ha! If my math is right, the ingredients to make the loaf cost almost what I'm charging for it. That's not much of a business model... :)


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