There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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One person, Greg Craven, has suggested changing the question from "which side is right" to "what is the wisest thing to do given the uncertainties and the risks involved?" To me, this seems like a very productive way to refocus the conversation. So, if you are confused about, concerned by, or interested in the issue of global warming please take a few minutes to watch his VIDEO. If you find it interesting or helpful, please pass it on to others.

This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Medical" Marijuana Laced Brownies!! (30 of 42)

April Fool!
We are really baking Emmer Bread and Focaccia with Garlic Shards, Artichokes and Rosemary.

According to Wikipedia, Emmer is "a low yielding, awned wheat" (an awn is "either a hair- or bristle-like appendage on a larger structure," so the heads of grain are hairy or spikey.  

The article notes that Emmer "was one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East" and that "[i]t was widely cultivated in the ancient world, but is now a relict crop in mountainous regions of Europe and Asia."  That being said, the article notes that while "[t]oday emmer is primarily a relict crop in mountainous areas" and that "[i]ts value lies in its ability to give good yields on poor soils, and its resistance to fungal diseases," "[i]n Italy, uniquely, emmer cultivation is well established and even expanding."  

The recipe in HB in 5 gives a source for Emmer flour, but with shipping it was kind of expensive for one loaf of bread.  While searching for other sources online I noted that the Italian variety is called Farro.  And Farro, as a cereal, was available locally.  So I got some Farro and ground that to use in my Emmer Bread.

You know, sometimes a recipe just resonates with you, and the Emmer Bread was one of those recipes.  The recipe calls for beer.  I made a half recipe, which calls for 1/4 cup of beer.  Now I hate wasting any ingredients, so I had no choice but to drink the rest of the beer.  Also, many times recipes will call for different kinds of the same ingredient to enhance flavor--several kind of apples for a pie or applesauce, for example.  So I thought it might be good to use different beers, which meant I had to finish TWO bottles.   Baking can be nasty work, but someone has to do it.  I am not sure what the beer did for the bread, but it enhanced the mood of the baker.   

I baked the Emmer Bread  in my perforated bread pan.

 And the result was really very good.

Perhaps it was because we had been away on Spring Break (see YouTube for my wet T-Shirt performance) and this was the first homemade bread we had had for awhile, but we both really liked this bread.  In addition to the beer there was also a bit of vinegar.  Cooks Illustrated uses beer and vinegar in its no-knead bread recipe to enhance the flavor.  Since Emmer is just an heirloom wheat, I do not see why you could not make this recipe substituting whole wheat flour for the Emmer.  Seems to me to be worth a try. 

For the Focaccia I used the 100% Whole Wheat with Olive Oil.  Focacce (the plural of Focaccia, Ellen) are some of my favorite breads to bake.  They are fairly quick, and unlike most loaves, you get to eat them warm.   For this loaf I gently sautéed some thinly sliced garlic in olive oil.  I used the garlic for the "shards" and drizzled the garlic infused oil on the bread.  I used canned, not marinated, artichokes, which I patted dry with a paper towel so they would not make the whole thing too wet.  I flattened the dough on some parchment paper (to make getting it into the oven easier) dimpled it with my fingers, topped it with the garlic shards and thinly sliced artichokes, and let it rise.
 After about 20 minutes I slid it (easily) onto the pre-heated baking stone.  After 15 minutes I pulled it out to take it off the parchment paper.  I took this opportunity to do two other things.  First, I sprinkled on the rosemary, which I had forgotten, and second, I did some re-dimpling.  The oven spring usually un-dimples (de-dimples?) my Focacce, so I while the dough was somewhat set, but not fully baked (read half-baked), I judiciously re-dimpled.  I was a little worried that the dimples would be doughy, but I did not notice that, and the finished product was more Focaccia-looking. 
To go with, I made a modified version of Rachel Ray's Broccoli Rabe and Salami Pasta.  (When doing what Winnie the Pooh would call my Stoutness Exercises I watch the Food Network.)  I cooked some broccoli in the nuker, then sautéed it in some olive oil with some garlic and red pepper flakes.  While the pasta (whole wheat) was cooking I cut up some capicola I had and mixed it with half of a 16 ounce carton of low fat ricotta and some Parmigiano-Reggiano in a large bowl.  When the pasta was done, I added a cup of cooking water to the cheese mixture, to make a sauce.  Then, I added the broccoli and drained pasta, and Bob, as they was, was my uncle.  (I actually had an Uncle Bob.)

It went great with the bread.

So that's all he wrote for this time, be sure to tune in next time.
And watch out for those April Fools!


  1. You know with a title like that you are certainly going to attract some "new" followers! :)

    Your Emmer loaf looks great and it really filled out the baguette pan perfectly. Did you use all the dough from the half recipe in the one loaf?

    Your pasta sure sounds good and I'm sure the Focaccia tasted wonderful. I can eat Focaccia any time of the day or night, it truly is one of my favorite breads.

  2. Looks delicious as always :) Keep it up and do not be afraid to send me some bread!!!

  3. I thought about doing some re-dimpling myself, but thought that it might deflate the dough...I found myself wishing we all lived close enough to share shipments of the more unusual flours! Maybe your post title infused our group with some new bakers?