In my last post I talked about Garth Hudson, and his amazingness, so take a look at this video! The second example makes me want to move to Arkansas, and give Levon a hug!
I grew up in a rather intimate Jewish community. Our shabbat dinners were always small or medium sized. In this community, near Atlantic City, they have big shabbat dinners, with the drinking of wine and the offering of h'our d'oerves which is very different for me. It's great to mingle, but let the dinner speak for itself. I am used to a table that is big enough to move my elbows yet small enough to enable a single conversation. I miss that about my Mom and Dad's shabbat table. Plus, it is hard to come too close to my mothers cooking. It is simple, hearty, tasty, healthy and filling! You can say that I came by my gift of food honestly, and I simply love to share the product of my labors. This reminds me of a line from one of the only rappers that I can stand, Common Market. Actually the only time I like to listen to hip hop is when I spit about bread, yal'kno'wut I'm Sayin!!!!
"The schools failed me, than G-d the farm taught me
The value of a calloused hand, how to work and plow this land
How even a modest crop will make your pop the proudest man"
Unlike the cranberry rye that I last posted on, this bread is loaded with nuts, (upwards of 20%) which makes for a very nutty bread that is just screaming for cheese, wilted arugula and cranberries! I toasted these nuts whole, and then chopped them very minimally, just enough to expose the nuts' inner oils to the dough. This light chop allows for the maximum extraction of flavor during the fermentation process. This bread called for a little yeast, and normally I would not have added it. Since I was baking at night and because I had to be at work very early in the morning, I was forced to use some yeast. I used about one third of what was called for in this formula. I also want to note that I had spent a few days re-feeding Liza May. She is re-charged, refueled and unlike me, she is rather happy to be filled with lactic acid. If only my muscles lactic threshold was as high as hers. Just take a look at this dome of plasatic wrap, she is ready to roll!
The mix was delightful and fairly uneventful. What I mean by that, is that nothing went a rye (oh geeze, I just did that, I am actually quite impressed),
The breads were ready to shape after 45 minutes and ready to bake in another hour. I used my brotforms, like a good German baker. This bread bakes at 460 and is then lowered to 440 for the last two thirds of the bake. The purpose of this temperature reduction is to keep the walnuts from burning. Other than that, this bread is simple, and just lovely! I am finding that a 50% whole rye and 50% bread flour blend is perfect for incorporating other ingredients such as nuts, seeds, fruit and even spices. It is great for bringing out the flavors and textures of the other ingredients. I hope to make another spice loaf soon and some authentic German pretzels when Alex comes to visit in the very near future.
-DW, The Rye King