For years I have been making the same bread recipe, altering only the sweetener and occasional substituting rye flour in place of whole wheat. For the holidays I make challah, but that’s about the extent of my bread-making at the home front. Now, after a few months at the bakery, I’ve become quite the brioche queen. Making about eighteen quarts of dough each day and leaning to roll buns with both hands simultaneously gave me a boost of confidence. I’m home now and ready to tackle a personal goal of working through the Tassajara Bread Book.
It’s about time! I’ve been talking about doing this challenge since we first purchased the book. Upon further reading I realize why I never took on another recipe. We don’t usually have millet lying around the pantry, or cornmeal, or potatoes. Yeah, I know…potatoes are usually staples right? I haven’t been able to properly digest them since pregnancy, so they’re a rare sight anymore. One of my favorite NYC food gems was Pomme Frites. Fresh, fat fries served with the most creative sauces imaginable. My favorite, the pomegranate teriyaki mayo. It’s the best. I know. I’ve tried them all. I warned everyone I ever took and no one listened until after they made their choice and then compared it to mine. The place is still open and busy I’m sure, but the last time I could stomach such a quantity of starch was the day before I found out I was pregnant. My last hurrah.
I decided not to work my way through the bread book in any particular order. There is a considerable number of breakfast breads and desserts, so it makes sense to bounce around the recipes to keep a balance of sweets and staples on the table throughout the process.
First one done, millet bread. Millet is one of the easiest whole grains to digest, so it seemed like a more suitable starting point than potato bread. Unlike the basic yeast bread, the millet is soaked with some of the dough’s liquid beforehand and then added in later. I worried the dough wouldn’t rise well with only half the liquid and a frigid kitchen. I never realize how chilly our apartment is until I try to proof bread or ferment yogurt. It doesn’t always work, but often time can be our friend when temperature is not. We were caught in traffic upon returning from errands, so the dough’s last rise was about two hours longer than intended! It worked to our advantage. The flavor is rich and the texture is fun and crunchy. Rivers likes to pull out the millet with his itty-bitty fingers before indulging. It’s a cute site. All in all a success.