Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arts and Crafts... and Artisan Bread

Ross and I had a very homemade Valentine's Day.

Homemade heart-shaped pizza from this recipe.

Homemade Valentine from Ross (with help from the kids at the Y) and awesome pipe-cleaner and tissue paper tulip. Featured: Beautiful new vase for "spontaneous" flowers only. 

My homemade Valentines. 

And, Artisan Bread 

From this recipe, pull out grapefruit sized chunks and shape into balls, using additional flour to coat. 

Leave to rise for 40-60 minutes on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Make sure that you can easily slide the balls on and off the pizza peel. Don't worry if they do not grow much in size - they will in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450ºF when there are 20 minutes left in the rise time. 

After 40 minutes, use a very sharp knife to slash in designs: your choice, no rules.

 A cross

Then, slide the dough balls onto a pizza stone, bake for 30 minutes with a pie-tin or other oven safe dish placed on a lower rack filled with some hot water; this maintains moisture in your bread. 

One slash of the claw grew much more than the others.

I have never tried this before, yet it seems that there is a delicate balance between the depth of the slashes and how much that part of the loaf expands. The cross doesn't look too much like a cross anymore.

However, I still think they are beautiful. 

Any tips on slashes and free-form loaves? 

One thing for sure, they fill the house with the scent of fresh-baked bread, and the taste is uncompromising - and that's what counts.


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Craig and I made a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine's Day last year!

I've slashed loaves before, but I don't have any tips--sorry.