Archive for October, 2012

Little Pleasures

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

I love having a fully automatic espresso maker.

Aaah … life’s little pleasures …

A little pick me up.

A few more chores & errands.

Then, I’ll reward myself with a ride.

Dough Variation – Whole Wheat & Rye Piadine Dough

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Here’s the variation on the Piadine Dough I made on Thursday. This recipe makes enough for 2 focaccias or pizzas (10-14 inch diameter, depending on how thick you like your crust).

2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons rye flour
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 7/8 cup bread flour (2 cups – 2 tablespoons)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup additional bread (or all purpose) flour, if needed for handling

Mise en place*

Combine the rye, whole wheat, and 1 7/8 cup bread flours.

Sprinkle the yeast over the 1/2 cup of water, stir in 1/2 cup of flour mixture until smooth and set aside for about 15 minutes.

While the yeast is proofing, begin the autolyse:  place the remaining 1 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, not paddle. Add the remaining rye/wheat/bread flour mixture and mix on low until combined. You don’t want to overmix at this stage. You do not want to develop the gluten, just allow the water to hydrate the flour. (Note: I was a little concerned when I first did this because it seemed quite dry, but that turned out to be OK, the end result was lovely!)

When the yeast has proofed, pour the mixture into the mixing bowl, add the olive oil, and mix on low speed. It may take a few minutes for the mixture to come together, but it will. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape the dough off the hook and sides once or twice until the dough comes together (starts to look smooth and evenly mixed). Depending on your mixer, this may take 5 or more minutes on low. When the dough is smooth, add the salt and mix about 30-seconds to 1-minute on low until the salt is mixed in. If necessary, turn off the mixer and scrape the dough off the hook. Then, turn the mixer on to high speed and knead for 2 minutes on high.

Whole Wheat & Rye Piadine Dough

Flour a board and turn the dough out onto the board. Let it rest just a moment, then gently shape into a ball. This is a wet dough, so it will come together quite easily. Let it rest a moment, then divide into two pieces, gently reshape into balls, and set to rise in olive-oiled bowls. Cover with plastic. If you are going to use the dough right away, then set it to rise at room temperature. When it doubles in size, gently deflate the dough by pressing down with your fists or palms. Cover the dough again and set it to rise again. When it’s nearly double in size again, then it’s ready. You can skip the “punching down” if you’re in a hurry and just use the dough after the first rise. If you are going to use the dough later, or the next day, then place it in the refrigerator right away. You’ll want to “punch it down” when it’s almost doubled in size, and then return it to the refrigerator.

So far I’ve been using this dough for focaccia and pizza. I think it will also make a lovely ciabatta, also, but I’ve got to get my couches out of storage, and also need to get a new hand peel. I think it would make nice small rolls, too, but I don’t know that it would hold a shape (baguette, batard, boule, etc..) very well because it is such a wet dough. Although, there is a free form baguette shape that would work. I can’t remember the name, but I think it’s an Italian style. I’ll have to play with this, but as I recall, it’s similar to shaping ciabatta, but you cut the dough into longer strips and then gently stretch it into a baguette-like shape.

One thing for certain about this dough is that it requires gentle handling and TLC.

Now … enough goofing off it is time to get outside and enjoy this gorgeous autumn day!

* Mise en place = “to put in place” (i.e., get all your stuff together before you do anything else.)

Time for Chicken Soup

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Hopefully this will fix things so I can ride this weekend …

Homemade Chicken Soup, with mahogany rice, ginger, and vegetables.

A variation on the Piadine Dough. I doubled the rye and whole wheat, and reduced the white bread flour. I also tried a slightly different method, sort of combining an autolyse and sponge methods. I'll post details later.


Looky What Just Went in the Oven …

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Focaccia with heirloom cherry tomatoes, green olives, fresh thyme, black sea salt, and some really good extra virgin olive oil.

Focaccia & Minestrone Soup

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Tonight I made a variation on the dough I made a few weeks ago (see: I used 1 tablespoon of rye flour, 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, and the rest (except for dusting) unbleached bread flour. Oh, this dough feels, smells, and tastes amazing.

Fresh out of the mixer ...

Gently shaped ...

Getting ready for the first rise ...

Fully risen ...


Gently shaped and dimpled for focaccia ...

... a few green olives, a little coarse sea salt, a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil ...

Voila! The finished focaccia.



Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the focaccia to rise about 10-15 minutes while your oven heats. Bake about 25-35 minutes.

A twist on Giada's Winter Minestrone Soup ... see






Serve with fresh, hot Minestrone Soup. Tonight’s soup is a  twist on Giada’s Winter Minestrone Soup. I had to  substitute some ingredients (baby kale for chard) and I didn’t quite follow the exact proportions (doubled the tomatoes). All I can say is that it sure smells good in here now.

Just Over 50 Miles Yesterday

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Road 27 @ Road 89, near Winters


We rode just over 50 miles yesterday. The weather was perfect! I wish we could have done 100!!

About halfway through, we enjoyed a rest stop at Steady Eddy’s in Winters, snacked on an oat cake and ginger ale, then homeward bound.

I'm not a big soda drinker, but this one is wonderful!


I think today is …

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

… a red jersey day! I’ll wear red to show my support and to honor my brother. He is why I ride the Tour de Cure.

How  many red riders are out today training for their 2013 Tour de Cure ride?

It’s Getting to be Soup Time!

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

There’s a cool breeze tonight that’s leaving me longing to make some soup this weekend. I have some beautiful baby kale, so I’m thinking a modified Minestrone? Oh, how I wish I had all of my cookbooks here so I could use my favorite Minestrone recipe. It’s from a book called “Soup Salad & Pasta” by Ursel Norman. This is one of my favorite cookbooks.

My Tassajara Bread (circa April 2010)

Oh, and bread … definitely some bread, too. I’m thinking some Tassajara whole wheat …  a true classic. The ultimate comfort food. The Tassajara Bread Book was my very first bread book. What I love about this book is that it gives very detailed directions on basic bread making skills. Once you master these basic skills, the world is your loaf!

I miss my cookbooks … sigh …

Harvest Moon

Monday, October 1st, 2012
Harvest Moon over Davis

Anyone for a moonlight ride?