12 October 2013

Yeast & Apples

My mother makes incredible Parker House rolls.  We have eaten them as a family for every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter meal since I can remember.  This is the one dish that is always requested and mom is really good at baking them.  She could probably make them with her eyes closed.  She knows how the dough should feel and if it will be a good batch of rolls.

I tried to replicate her recipe when I made an Easter meal in 2009 and it was not a success.  They worked fine but they were not as good as they could be.  I refused to work with yeast again because I failed that first time.

I received this amazing birthday present in 2011 from Evelyn and Francesco.  It's a cookbook called The Bread Baker's Apprentice:  Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.  Francesco would bring incredible bread to my dinners and it was because of this book.  I knew the day would come that I would finally bake with yeast again.

I've had a lot of time on my hands these past two weeks and I felt like it was finally time to get over my fear.  I opened to the first recipe in the book for a bread called Anadama which originated in New England.  It is made with cornmeal and molasses and I have never eaten it before.  It took two days to make and I was waiting for something wrong to happen.  I followed the directions explicitly including baking without any distraction.  And it worked.

Before baking (above) and after baking (below).

I tried my patience waiting for the bread to cool but I waited long enough and ate it with mom's blackberry jam.  It was the most perfect bread I've ever eaten.  Thank you Francesco and Evelyn for helping me to overcome my fear.

I had friends over Monday night and served the bread with this apple and fig crisp.  I found the crisp recipe in a cookbook gifted from Jenica called The Craft of Baking.  I recommend this book as well.

Not a great photo but the lighting in my kitchen is not the best.  I felt very baking accomplished that night.

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