This particular assignment was a bit tricky to fit into our schedule since, in celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary, my saintly wife and I went on a Baltic cruise and they would not let me use the galley to bake my bread.
One of our stops was Gdansk, where they were holding the 750th St. Dominic's Fair (which makes 35 years seem like not much of a big deal).
They had some pretty good looking bread on offer, but we did not have any spare zloties (or groszies) so we just looked. (They also had bungee jumping, we just looked at that, too.)
Something to aspire to.
The first task of this assignment was a Rosemary Flax Baguette. I baked it for one of our Mag-7 dinner parties. (As always, I ate too much, especially of Greta's hors d'oeuvres.) I followed (to the best of my ability) the directions for shaping baguettes posted at Judy's Bakery and Test Kitchen. After using my gluten-free "batter" last time, it was nice to work with a dough of a more normal consistency.
I don't think I did too bad a job forming the baguettes. I put them on parchment paper to rise, and used my trusty 1x2s to keep them from spreading. Once they had risen, I slashed them and decorated the slashes with rosemary sprigs.
They baked up beautifully, and tasted great too.
I did not use all the dough for the baguettes, so the next day I rolled out a piece and threw it directly onto the grill grates while I made some Grilled Potato Hobo Packs. Both turned out very well.
Planning ahead, I had made some Baked Caramelized Onions, reducing 6 pounds of yellow onions to about 2 1/2 cups. It took quite a bit longer than the recipe indicates. Also, I do not think it is necessary to stir as often in the beginning as recommended, and I removed the lid about half way through because my onions were pretty juicy. On the other hand, baking the onions was much less hands-on than doing it stove-top. Fortunately, we have an "I cooked so you wash up" rule (be SURE to spray the pot with cooking spray).
So, to make a Pissaladiere I rolled out the rest of the Rosemary Flax dough, grilled it on one side, flipped it over, topped it with the onions, which I warmed up in the microwave, some anchovies and Kalamata olives, and finished grilling it. Took about 7 minutes, start to finish!
The next project was Vollkornbrot. "Vollkorn" is German for whole meal or whole grain, "brot" is bread or loaf. Jeff and Zoe translate it as "whole kernel bread." It has wheat berries and rye flakes in it. If you do not want to go to the trouble of baking this bread you can buy a loaf from Zingerman’s for $7.50, plus $12 shipping.
This loaf definitely lives up to its name. It is dense, dark and heavy, all in a good way.
The only issue I had was that it seemed some of the wheat berries had not softened, though I let it rest plenty long. I wonder if the crunchy ones might have been on the crust, and got dried out again in the oven. My saintly wife liked the crunch. We also thought this bread was particularly good toasted.
So, neither jet lag nor airport security nor currency exchange rates nor distance from the kitchen kept me from the completion of fortnight's assignment. Next time it is 100% Whole Wheat, Plain and Simple (kind of like me). Be sure to check out what everyone else did with these breads at Big Black Dog.