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December 13, 2012

Bread and Meats

This is such an odd time of year. A couple days ago I was working outside in shorts. This morning it was 19*. Sometimes its hard to keep up. Well there's only one thing to do - keep on baking.

The other day I made a ciabatta bread. It turned out beautifully.

My riff on The Bread Bible's cover photo.

I received the book,The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum a couple years ago. Its a beautiful book with lovely pictures. Rose and I probably wouldn't get along tho - her approach is too clinical for me. There doesn't seem to be a lot of love in it. Not like Marcella. Her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is like cooking with your very own Italian Nonna right there beside you.  But if you are a food nerd The Bread Bible's scientific approach is just the ticket.

There were lots of lovely holes in the bread.

There are some great recipes, including a complicated pumpernickel, and I learned some great stuff. For instance, when I made this ciabatta she suggested that after 15 minutes in the oven to take the still baking bread off the sheet and put it directly on the baking stone. This was a great idea and I'm not sure why I never thought of it before. The crust turned out really crunchy.

In other news, we butchered four of our meat chickens yesterday. I'm thrilled - I've been hungry for a chicken dinner since we got them back in October.  This puts them at just about 8 weeks when  folks normally dress them for dinner. We usually wait a little longer to grow them out a little bigger. We've had some monster meats before but with feed prices so high we are going with "good enough is good enough."

Not meat chickens but I think these two are really beautiful.

We think that out of that whole bunch of meats we only had four roosters! The hens tend to grow out slower so we'll gradually get thru the rest of them a few at a time.

Today will be about parting up those chickens and getting some stock going. And maybe some more baking.

Happy Thursday everyone!