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Baguette

Originally uploaded by chifoodies

I haven’t been baking for a while (or blogging for that matter) for various reasons, mostly because I have been working too much these last few months. Also, I had reached a plateau with my baking – I just wasn’t happy with how my breads were turning out.

Inspired by the holidays and a couple of resources that I recently found, I baked up some baguettes for Christmas. Happily, I had an excellent result. Still not perfect, but such an improvement upon what I had been baking before that I know I can get it right.

Over on The Fresh Loaf, I found a great List of Tips for Better French Bread. The thing that finally struck me is that I can’t be afraid to get my hands dirty (duh). I can’t be squeemish about working with wet, sticky dough. In fact, it is moisture that makes the loaf tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. Also, I have to crank the oven as high as I can, and spray the oven several times throughout the baking to get some nice steam going.

Voila, I turned out two beautiful (if I do say so), crispy, and tender-in-the-middle loaves. Also, the tips for autolysing and folding (as opposed to punching down and kneeding) I think made a huge difference in improving my crumb, though I still have to practice.

Another new inspiration: A recipe for Sour Dough English Muffins that could not have been easier, but was still impressive. We had home-made English muffins for our Christmas breakfast! Pretty darn cool.

Since we were just lamenting with some friends about how hard it is to find decent bread in Chicago, I am more determine than ever to master this art. Now I just need to acquire that pizza stone. Mmmhmm.

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Baguette

Originally uploaded by chifoodies

I haven’t been baking for a while (or blogging for that matter) for various reasons, mostly because I have been working too much these last few months. Also, I had reached a plateau with my baking – I just wasn’t happy with how my breads were turning out.

Inspired by the holidays and a couple of resources that I recently found, I baked up some baguettes for Christmas. Happily, I had an excellent result. Still not perfect, but such an improvement upon what I had been baking before that I know I can get it right.

Over on The Fresh Loaf, I found a great List of Tips for Better French Bread. The thing that finally struck me is that I can’t be afraid to get my hands dirty (duh). I can’t be squeemish about working with wet, sticky dough. In fact, it is moisture that makes the loaf tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. Also, I have to crank the oven as high as I can, and spray the oven several times throughout the baking to get some nice steam going.

Voila, I turned out two beautiful (if I do say so), crispy, and tender-in-the-middle loaves. Also, the tips for autolysing and folding (as opposed to punching down and kneeding) I think made a huge difference in improving my crumb, though I still have to practice.

Another new inspiration: A recipe for Sour Dough English Muffins that could not have been easier, but was still impressive. We had home-made English muffins for our Christmas breakfast! Pretty darn cool.

Since we were just lamenting with some friends about how hard it is to find decent bread in Chicago, I am more determine than ever to master this art. Now I just need to acquire that pizza stone. Mmmhmm.

Please visit us at Shy Chi Foodies!

Welcome to Sarah and Gillian’s Chicago Culinary Capers! We have been talking about doing this for some time now, and finally decided to just do it! We have been collecting ideas and inspiration. Here we will chronicle our love of food and our experiences in trying to live healthfully, sustainably, ethically, and deliciously.

We bring to the table some knowledge of and experience in the kitchen, some of it self-taught and some professional training. We share a love and passion for delicious food, as well as a shared interest in writing and technology. As we continue to hone our cullinary skills, we are also exploring Chicago, a city that is relatively new to us. We will share here our experiences, opinions, recipes, and discoveries.