Sunday, August 24, 2008

Highlights from Canada, part 1

We went to Crosby Lake in Ontario last week for vacation with my friend Janet and her family.
Of course we cooked a LOT, and that included baking.

The top picture is the bread I made more or less every day; the next one is the pizza I made one night. After that are some onion rolls from a Martha Stewart Living magazine Janet brought for cottage reading material. Finally, I had to throw in a picture of the flour I used. I'm such a tourist. I hadn't been to Canada in many years (or anywhere else outside the country, to tell the truth) so I got a total childish charge out of the foreign currency and the grocery store where everything's packaged using the metric system. That there bag of flour? 2.5 kilograms! Ha! And everything is labeled in English AND French. Duh, I know, it's not that exciting. But it takes so little to amuse me!

Baking was pretty low tech. I didn't bring a stone or a peel, and we didn't think to buy cornmeal. So I made very basic bread: 2 c all-purpose flour, 2 c bread flour, 2 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp yeast, and maybe 1.5 c of water. I saved a little chunk back each day to use as a starter for the next batch. I let it rise once, then shaped the dough and put it on a buttered cookie sheet to rise again. I baked it at 425 for 10 minutes and then another 25-30 at 350.

I haven't made pizza without a stone in years. There was a round pan, which I greased generously with olive oil. I pressed the dough out a little less thin than usual, and baked it with toppings for about 10 minutes at 500, at which point I pulled it off the pan and just slid it back in on the oven rack for 2 more minutes to crisp the bottom crust. The result was so good that I think I might occasionally do that again. I can only imagine how good the crust would be in a pan ON the preheated stone. Yum.

The onion rolls were yummy, though they needed more onion and possibly some gruyere.

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