demystifying geng & chip

My journey to the wonderful world of yeast by geng
June 1, 2009, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Food, General, Geng's corner, The Fresh Loaf

Some of you may have heard me mention in the past that I am intimidated of baking with yeast. I know my limits as a home baker you see.  Or maybe I am just not patient enough. The thought of waiting to let the yeast activate and the dough rise is just daunting.  What if I didn’t wait long enough? Or what if I waited too long? Do I have the tolerance to knead? What if I didn’t knead long enough? Or what if I kneaded too much? There are just too many variables to consider you know? Besides, Harris Teeter has a wonderful bakery that makes really good bread. Or if we want excellent to die for bread we can just drive to Great Harvest Bread Company or Heidelberg Bakery. Both bakeries are only four or so miles away from us. 

You will be surprise to find out that last night I started the dough for my first artisan bread.  The recipe came from Mother Earth News dot com. It is called No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread. Did you ever in your life imagine that there can ever be such a thing? The idea came from a baker named Jim Lahey who allowed wet dough to rise and ferment for a very long time without kneading then the dough is baked in a cast iron dutch oven to allow the steam to come out which facilitates the crusty outside wall of the loaf. At least, that’s how I understood it.

The dough while rising

After 12 hours, folded and ready to rest for another 2 hours

The truth is this sudden urge for me to take the plunge is due in part to Dad Tomek.  He is the inspiration for my journey to the wonderful world of yeast.  Since his retirement Dad Tomek has been, among other things, experimenting with baking bread. He is very passionate about this new hobby. While we were visiting them over the weekend, he showed me all his bread books and the different recipes he found on the internet. I saw his pantry in the basement in Monterey, with all his baking accoutrements. He even introduced me to a friend (okay not really) he’s been feeding for a couple days – a sourdough starter. Yeah, making sourdough starter is like having a pet — you feed it to keep it alive, lol. Talk about patience huh? The locals in Monterey seem to enjoy his creations too. In church, when he asked Sarah if she liked the last bread he made, she said she did but the sourdough is better.  Dad Tomek’s zealousness turned me into trying the no knead method.

Ready to go in the oven

And so here we are,

Dad Tomek will be proud.

Nice and crusty on the outside, soft and moist inside. Now I understand what the nice air pockets Dad Tomek was talking about. We ate this bread with spaghetti with marinara sauce and italian sausage. We almost finished the entire pound and half loaf. Yummy!  Here’s the link to the recipe.

Next, sourdough bread. :)

Here are some pictures of our visit to Monterey, VA.

I don’t know why I’m obsessed with taking pictures of this view.

Derek was in charge of the chicken barbecue, they turned out fantastic.

Mom and Dad Tomek, look at that background

This is Bear, Bear is a very sweet dog. Look at those droopy eyes

And this is Luke, Luke is a grumpy ol’ dog. No I take it back.  Luke is very sweet, he’s just territorial and set in his ways.

10 Comments so far
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The bread looks great! Good job! I too was afraid of yeast but it’s fun to make your own. Looks like you had a nice visit to the country:)

Comment by Karen

Nice view. Sooooooo homey. Great for relaxation and meditation..

Comment by jo

We really enjoyed your visit to Monterey. The meal you prepared for us with seafood straight from the market in D.C.(that morning), was wonderful. Geng, your tirmisu dessert set it off perfectly. As for the bread, looks like you did a super job for your first try. I give you credit for getting right onto baking it. Luv, Mom T. P.S. Visit again soon!

Comment by Mom Tomek

I am PROUD of your making bread. The first one is intimidating, but your results look great and the pleasure of eating your own creation is super. Next on to the sour dough – that takes more work as it has to be kneaded either by hand or using a big mixer with a dough hook. Keep up the good work – Dad Tomek.

Comment by Dad Tomek

I totally agree with the pleasure of eating your own creation. We almost finished the whole loaf in one sitting. Chip is looking forward to the next one. :)

Comment by geng

Luke doesn’t know it yet but he is scheduled for a hair cut today ( more like shearing sheep ). He won’t like it but will be more comfortable after I get it done. After the haircut, his hair is about a quarter of an inch long. I leave his head and tail alone. He ressembles a lion when the cut is done. Going to be a rough day on him and me. Dad Tomek.

Comment by Dad Tomek

I’m sure he’ll realize after all is said and done that it’s for his own good. Goodluck!

Comment by geng

Ok I have to make the comment in the last picture when you were talking about Luke for some reason I was thinking of Uncle Larry:) You know Ol’ and set in his ways:)

Comment by Karen

He, he I’m not commenting on that. :)

Comment by geng

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