I haven’t been this excited by something I baked since I received my Easy Bake Oven from Santa after months of begging. And, in contrast, my baked goods actually tasted good this time! At the OSU Extension Master Food Preserver bread baking classes over the past two weekends, we made a range of yeasted breads, flatbreads, and crackers. Bread shot, clockwise from top: ciabatta, “transitional” rye made with half wheat/half rye, cloud rolls, and whole wheat. Grissini (Italian yeasted breadsticks) are on the bottom with a nude descending a staircase.
As we did in last year’s class, we used the professional kitchen at Food For Lane County instead of our usual haunt at the Extension building. It’s a great space for many people moving around and many mixers or food processors humming to the beat. I feel much more confident about baking bread now. Which is good, since the quick bread I made with a laboriously roasted and pureed sweet meat squash this week did not turn out that great. : /
In my fantasy life, in the very near future, I will be baking Polish rye, a light sourdough rye with no seeds. It might very well be between loaves of raisin-black pepper-walnut bread that I churn out after tasting the wonderful version at Pearl Bakery in Portland yesterday and immediately knowing how to make my own. In my real life, however, I will be grading papers. Ah well. As much as I clung to my evangelical belief in the End Times of the relentless schedule of deadlines this term, it didn’t happen. (Sorry to those of you who donated the annual tally of $0.11 to my church.) We’re now in the last week of the quarter before finals week, and I’m rushing to finish up and start again immediately after spring break. We have three terms, not two semesters, so there’s an additional turnaround of courses and students in March. Whew.
So with this future ahead, I decided to cut my losses yesterday, and take a break before diving back in. I was Most Deeply Pleased by the opportunity to stroll around Portland on a sunny day, picking up books and tchotchkes and Chinese food and baked goods and a wonderful cauliflower ham soup. I’m a little disappointed that today isn’t quite as sunny, but I suppose the motivation to work should outweigh the motivation to garden, and that won’t happen if it’s nice.
So on that note, onward!