Neapolitan Bread

This has nothing to do with Naples; it's a bread version of the ice cream (which I think is a weird take on spumoni?). It's also evidence I am a genius, with a little help from Cam and my sister. This bread is fantastic.

Cam came up with the idea of a neapolitan bread and mentioned it in the comments of my blueberry fougasse post. We then kicked the idea around, figuring out the details of how to best make it, and this afternoon I finally went ahead and baked some off.

New Books on Bread

I haven't been baking much, but I have been reading. A friend recently went to Paris for a wedding, and I sent her with a short list of books to pick up. Among those related to baking was 100 % pain : La saga du pain enveloppée de 40 recettes croustillantes by Eric Kayser. I found it on because I wanted a French baking book, but looking through it, it is more amazing than I had hoped. I've just skimmed the beginning so far, but it has what looks to be a fairly thorough description of the history of bread and its cultural significance. I was just eager to get to the recipes.

Ugly Breakfast Rolls

These are something I've been wanting to make since I started my current job in January. I have to get up at a ridiculously early hour, even before my stomach is awake enough to know it wants food. One of the few things I have an appetite for at that time is freshly baked bread. Unfortunately, even when I have good bread to eat, I'll still be hungry well before it is time for my 'lunch', which happens to be about the same time I'd be eating breakfast, normally. So I thought it'd be a good idea to make bread that was full of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, as an attempt at a somewhat nutritious breakfast.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Frosting

I hadn't planned on putting these on the blog when I made them. I usually don't bother writing about muffins or cakes because I don't find them all that interesting, and anyone can make them fairly well. There's just not a lot to share about the process. You will also never see cookies on this blog, but that's because I bake terrible (well, on the low side of average) cookies. Even following the same recipe, my mom's or sister's will turn out better than mine.

Pain Aux Pommes

Two weeks in the making, this is the bread I mentioned in my post about the blueberry fougasse that is made on a starter of fermented apples. It was the first time I had ever fermented anything (on purpose) and I was excited about that (though the actual process mostly involves a lot of waiting) and I like the idea of starting bread on fermented fruit. I'd never heard of that, and it is definitely an idea that merits more attention and experimentation. Just think of everything that's been fermented to wonderful effect, and how many breads that could mean!

Stout Chocolate Cherry Bread

Lee mentioned this recipe in a comment on an earlier post, and I got it from her when we made banh mi together last week. The sandwiches were delicious, thanks to a hot dipping sauce we made (I forget the book the recipe was in, but hopefully Lee will post something on this?) and a huge variety of real Vietnamese pork products! Unfortunately, the bread didn't turn out, and I learned that glutenous rice flour is not what you want to use to make them. (At least, I assume that's why they failed.) That's the third time I've tried that recipe, and it's been nothing but trouble. Next time, I'm mixing rice flour and white flour together in advance and using that mixture in a more reliable baguette recipe.

Merlot Muffins

Though I am fairly certain these would be better classified as cupcakes, I really enjoy alliteration, hence the name. While making the fruit juice bread in my previous post, I was complaining to my mother about the fact that there is beer bread, but no wine bread or cider bread, and she rememebered having had a wine cake years ago. She found the recipe a friend had submitted to a church cookbook -- one of those frighteningly midwestern collections of recipes for meaty cheese dishes and cheesy meat dishes the whole family will love. The recipe called for some cooking sherry and eggs to be added to a yellow cake mix to make a cake with a poundcake-like texture and density.

POM Blueberry Fougasse

When I was still in the process of making these and thinking about the blog entry I'd write for this bread, I figured I'd either start out by declaring myself a baking genius, or saying I'd found out why no one uses fruit juice instead of water in bread. Now that I've made and tasted it, I'm leaning towards the former, but the idea could still use refining.

Miche / Pain Poilâne

So I finally baked the bread off the cover of The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'd been sort of lusting after it for a while, reading more about the bakery where it originated, Boulangerie chez Poilâne. Their website, available in English and French, includes a form for ordering loaves to be shipped. What I made would cost me $35.95 to have shipped to my home. I'm not sure how to react to the fact that that doesn't seem excessive for a loaf of bread. I wouldn't eat it every day, certainly, but I'd consider trying it once, even just for the coolness of having bread come in the mail. I also like that their website has food pairing ideas for all their breads.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition I had never tried before, preferring to stick to the equally traditional chocolate (while avoiding frightening things like Peeps). But in the weeks approaching Easter, various food blogs and forums I read were full of hot cross buns and terrifying recipe ideas for Peeps and suddenly the hot cross buns looked fairly attractive. I saw a lot of unpleasant attempts with melty-looking frosting crosses, but quickly found a more traditional pastry-crossed recipe at A Spoonful of Sugar.