Weekend of Heat

Nothing says rejection like making dinner from fresh ingredients, serving it warm to someone, spooning it into their mouth, and watching them pinch their face, open their mouth, and scrape the food off their tongue before flinging it on the floor.  But this is life with a toddler.  And nothing says love like a tight hug from your child, or being tucked in for “night night” with a washcloth blanket carefully lain over your shoulder by your little girl.  So I still come out way ahead, even if I have cold omelet dropped on my head while I scrape food off the floor with my fingernails.

This weekend’s summer feel was helped by the record heat.  On the way back from the zoo on Sunday, the car thermometer was reading 107, but that was a bit inflated because we were sitting in traffic in the sun.  Still, the weather station at home read 95 in the shade.  Our house did tremendously well with the heat, highlighting that passive techniques like shading on the east and west, and wall insulation, make a huge difference.  We maybe got up to 80 in the house, but with a cool breeze and lots of shade, it felt wonderful.  Also in the wonderful-feeling category:  pool!  Amalia and I went in the pool yesterday, she in a floaty-raft thing with her legs dangling down.  While she seemed slightly concerned when I towed her out into the deep end, she liked splashing, and wanted to go back in when we got out to warm up.  The water is just about 70 degrees, which is a shock at first but feels just right after a minute or two.  I foresee a long summer of splashing and swimming, and an increasing stock of pool toys and floaties.

Breadstravaganza was a success, also helped by the heat.  The multi-day multi-stage rustic bread per Peter Reinhart’s book came out fantastically.  I’ve never had a crust with such nice crisp and crackle.  It is very much like a good pizza crust.  The texture inside had good holes and the bread had a creamy delicious taste.  I’m not sure if the 8-hour process is totally worth it, so I want to try some of these techniques with my rustic rosemary recipe and see if I can get a similar crust and texture.  By far, though, this is the best bread I’ve made, and it could compete with the high-end bakeries in town.

By the end of the day yesterday, my total bread tally was seven:  four Irish soda bread, one ciabatta, one rustic rosemary and one cinnamon. 

The rustic rosemary (not shown) was a housewarming gift and looked good, but I didn’t get to taste it.  If I add the ciabatta to the Aurora menu, I think I’ll specify it’s a Monday delivery only, and hopefully I’ll be able to make 2 or 3 loaves at once.  Total time for this bread ran four days, from the creation of the biga to a final product.  This week I hope to get better at streamlining my baking process.  I wonder if I can pick up a couple Keebler Elves to help me?

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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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One comment on “Weekend of Heat
  1. Babs says:

    OOOOeeee. Life sounds good! New bread bidness sounds like fun, but exhausting. The omelet in the fingernails could be a new look. I like the pool time best.

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