Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 1st HBinFive Bread Braid

It's a busy time of year, and I'm really struggling to make time for baking and writing. I'm determined to keep up here, though, with our HBinFive assignments.

Last week was nearly 90 degrees and humid most days, and I still had that oven going. Is that crossing a line into being fanatical? Husband had a look of alarm on his face when he came home from work, noticing I had the oven on. He didn't complain too much, however, when he was savoring his slice of focaccia sitting out on the patio.

The Cherry and Black Pepper Focaccia was wonderful, just as everyone said it is. I put all the topping on mine, so pressing the cherries into the dough didn't work. As a result, the cherries and shallots were falling off with each bite, but we just put them right back on.

This recipe reminds me of a carmelized grape focaccia that Metropolitan Bakery sells. It also has that sweet and savory flavor combination. I was thinking about trying to experiment with grapes in the Fall.

I know some of you weren't happy with your Cinnamon-Raisin Whole Wheat Bagels. You were disappointed by the uneven shape and bumpy appearance. I know at least one of you really disliked the mess the process created.

I suppose I'm not a perfectionist because I was quite forgiving with all those faults. I've made the bagels from ABinFive, so this was my second time around. The results were pretty similar as I recall--same bumpy texture. The fact that they were recognizable as bagels and tasted more or less like bagels was satisfying enough for now.

I organized my mise en place as they say, so I just chugged along with my dunking and boiling. The only thing I wouldn't do again is boil such a large pot of water. I couldn't fit any more than 4 or 5 bagels at a time in the pot anyway, so next time I'd just use my 5 qt. stockpot. I spent forever waiting for that 10qt. pot of water to boil.

Not being a lover of sweet bagels, and since raisins are not going into anything that is meant for O. to share, I made these plain.

Husband and O. loved them. The only thing Husband wanted to know is why they weren't puffy like professionally made bagels. I said I don't know the science of what makes bakery bagels puffy.

The Moon and Stars Bread was pretty to make. Yes, it's the same bread as the master loaf, but I enjoy entertaining myself with different shapes. O. loved looking at it.

Heat and all, I enjoyed myself with this assignment. What's a little perspiration endured for good bread?


  1. Good for you to persevere in spite of heat and humidity! Your breads look wonderful.

  2. It is over 105 here in Arizona and I still turn on the oven to make bread. Crazy. But it is worth it when you are eating. Great job on your bread.

  3. I was paging through my HB in 5 book and came across the picture of THEIR bagels. They look pretty much the way ours do. I guess that is what makes them artisanal. Nice job.

  4. I love your moon and stars bread. It is absolutely beautiful. The bagels are certainly a project and you are to be commended in turning your oven on in the heat.

  5. We've been waiting for the sun to come out in our neck of the woods, and now that it's here I'm starting to wish for the cooler temperatures! Crazy. You've done better than me in making bagels, they look great and your star, moon bread looks picture perfect.

  6. Your breads look great! It's been hot here as well. Too hot for baking but that hasn't stopped me either. I didn't make the focaccia but yours sounds wonderful especially with all of the toppings falling off. Yummy!

  7. All of your recipes turned out so well! Yes, sometimes it's just to hot to turn the oven on and bake in the summer but you did a great job.

  8. Your breads look great. It's hot and humid here too, but I too turn on the oven. Just can't help myself.

  9. Everything looks wonderful! My bagels just fell apart while sitting on the flour after boiling. You are giving me incentive to try again. Yours look great.

    It's hot and humid here, too. I bake in the morning now. Would love to try grill baking, but it's too hot out there!

  10. your breads look great. I had cherries falling off my focaccia too.



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