Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia



Last fall, I decided that I would start to do things that scared me. Not Jackass-type or illegal things; things that at first thought really excited me, but when that annoying, loud voice would chime in with, Are you nuts? You can’t do that! I would bail on the idea. When I read that Tuesdays with Dorie, the online baking club, was starting up again and was going to bake through all the recipes in Baking with Julia, I knew it was a sign. I love and respect Baking with Julia as a book, but the thought of actually baking stuff from it terrifies me. There’s bread in that book and pies with real crust, which scares the crap out of me and which I chronicled last week. And, oh, yeah, there’s a flippin’ wedding cake in that book! Horror, horror and more horror. I joined Tuesdays with Dorie immediately.

 My first attempt at the starter recipe, White Loaves (pages 81-82), was an epic fail. The dough didn’t rise, the bread was as heavy as a brick, and the kitchen looked as though the gents of the World Wrestling Federation had stopped by for a scrimmage.


The recipe calls for a stand-up mixer, which I don’t have. Instead, I halved the recipe and used my food processor. When the bread was not the equivalent of the bread in the book, I thought, Of course, I need a KitchenAid mixer. I can’t make bread without a KitchenAid mixer. After I took a few minutes to breathe, I realized that my hearty Western European and Finnish ancestors made bread without the help of any electric devices, and if they could do it, heck, so could I.

I used bread flour of the second loaf, which was a vast improvement, but it didn’t look exactly like the bread in the book. True, I had used a larger loaf pan, but I didn’t get exactly the results pictured in the book. The bread, however, was delicious—the golden crusty outside protected the spongy, fragrant inside. Dan and I ate it, buttered, with my favorite lentil soup, and Max happily brought the remainder of the loaf back to his bachelor pad to share with his roomies.


 I was feeling a little disappointed in my bread until I saw the January 29 episode of Downton Abbey. When Mrs. Patmore, the cook, brings a loaf of bread into the kitchen during one scene, I quickly paused my DVR. Mrs. Patmore’s loaf of bread looked almost exactly like mine! She cut it into thick slices as she talked to the kitchen assistant, Daisy. I watched that scene about three times, not paying a bit of attention to the dialogue. I just wanted to see Mrs. Patmore slice that beautiful bread.

Next recipe: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets. With real piecrust. Gulp.


5 comments:

  1. If its good enough for Downton Abbey its good enough for all! We loved this bread even though we don't eat white bread too often. It was so good.

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  2. I think your bread looks beautiful and delicious! I really liked this bread and plan to make it a gain. I did one of mine with cinnamon swirl!
    I just bought my daughter Downton Abbey season 1 for her birthday. She loves that show! Welcome to Tuesdays!

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  3. That loaf is so beautiful it's bringing tears to my eyes. Warm, with butter, and lentil soup? Perfection. Looking forward to the next in your series!

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  4. I think your loaf looks wonderful - nothing to be disappointed about there!

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  5. I haven't watched this week's Downton yet, but I'll be looking for that bread! It looks great, and I'm sure you will feel like an expert baker after this book is through.

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