Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baguette with grains and seeds

This month Cinzia of Cindystar is the lovely host for Bread Baking Day#58. She asked us to bake with seeds and flakes. Like most artisan bread bakers I too have a full pantry. It looks like it’s filling itself. Thank you, Cinzia for this great theme. Now I can use some of the delicious and healthy grains and seeds out the pantry.

Since I always enjoy baking with BBD I immediately got started because next week we’re off to see our family and friends in the Netherlands. We’re looking forward seeing our loved ones and hugging them. Even though it’s our choice to live here and we enjoy it a lot, still there are moments it would be great if we could say: ‘beam me up, Scotty’. And in a few seconds we could be there and join in a celebration or give some comfort in grieving. Now we have to travel for more than 20 hours, not including the waiting time. But, it will be worth it!

At this moment it’s the hottest season in Thailand and everybody is enjoying Songkran; Thai New Year. The temperature in our house is every dayabove 35°C and humidity is around 30% which makes it even hotter. This means I have to keep a close eye on the proofing of the dough. I bought an insulated box for this purpose. I will try it when we come back. But today I bake straight from the refrigerator. It made scoring easy and with a very hot oven there was a nice oven spring. The taste and smell is great and the extra flavor came from the grains and seeds I added. We loved the smell and taste of the seeds. It gave this great baguette something special.

I found the recipe for the best baguette of France 2006 on the blog of Plotzblog, who found it on the blog of MC’s Farine, who went to France and talked with the bakers of the contest and blogged about it, who found it …. We are happy with the recipe and thank all people involved.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Essential Columbia

It’s the second week of April and everybody is preparing for the big Songkran celebration.

The Songkran festival (สงกรานต์) from the Sanskrit word sakrānti, or literally "astrological passage") is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 16 April. It coincides with the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia.
Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the Thai New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture.
The traditional way of celebrating, is pouring some scented flower water of the hands of the elderly people. It symbolizes the washing away of troubles and worries of the old year. And the old people give their blessings to the younger ones. Nowadays you can’t cross the street without a few buckets of water over your head.
The mother of one of our Thai friends, Jaai Deng (meaning Red Grandmother), lives in Bangkok at the moment and we cannot visit her this year. Jaai Deng loves good bread and our pizza. The last time we visited Bangkok she even called before and asked me to bake her some bread. We decided to send the bread by postal mail for Songkran. 

A while back I baked this delicious Essential Columbia which is filled with different flours and has a great smell and taste. This is the loaf of bread I want to bake for Jaai Deng to celebrate the astrological passage. Instead of pouring some flower scented water we send her flour scented bread.

Yesterday evening we heard the bread had arrived and Jaai Deng loves it. Since I baked two loaves we can enjoy it together and share the celebration even though we are almost 1000 km apart. This beautiful world is like a big house full of rooms, you just have to open a door or window to see the ones you love.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Soft rolls

For many years I’m looking for soft rolls. It’s difficult because they are hidden in my memory and to make a comparison they have to be exact the same as the ones in my memory. Not only the shape, but also the smell and taste have to be the same. Recognize this?
As soon as I saw the soft rolls made by Lutz I knew these were the ones from my memory. I could almost smell and taste them. But, could I make them too? I used the Google translation because my knowledge of the German language is very rusty and dates back to my schooldays. Even though the Google translated recipe looks like a bit like a puzzle I think I knew enough to use it and went for it.

When they were ready and we finally took them out of the oven we recognize the smell of butter and milk. They are really soft and when we pull them apart there’s a thin piece of crumb hanging there. And the taste is great!
These are the soft rolls from our memory, the ones Peter used to eat with corned beef and he hit the rolls flat as he often had done as a child. I have no idea why someone would like to hit a roll flat, but he loves it. My memory is a soft roll with Dutch cheese and strawberry jam. And Peter has no idea why someone would combine strawberry jam and cheese together on one roll and not hit it flat. Together we sat quietly enjoying our soft rolls and enjoyed those memories.