23 May 2011

Birthday Breads

Most people, for their birthday, like receiving things. You know, material goods, money, strippers, what have you. I'm not such a big fan of these things. Material goods take up space and you have to move them; work gives me money; strippers aren't really my thing and I don't have a stage or pole in my apartment for them to use. So I just made food for people, and bought some new beers, and got incredibly full on a variety of bread products. Some very nice people brought me food stuffs to eat including an amazing cake (good for breakfast as well, although not a good idea).
I didn't do anything crazy or inventive for the breads - rustic baguettes with rosemary, olive and fennel bagels, and the multi-seed rustic loaf from a few posts ago. I heard no complaints on the bread, nor did I expect any. I did modify the multi-seed recipe - upped the whole wheat ratio to 75% whole wheat, 25% bread flour and added 10g of water (or so) to balance it out, as well as upping the sunflower and pumpkin seed amounts to 21g each. Equally delicious as the last loaf; on the heartier side, perhaps a better match for toast and jam than the last.
The last time I made olive bagels, they didn't quite pick up the olive flavor - so in went 10g of the liquid in which olives come. It isn't quite olive juice - it appeared to be more salty water flavored with olive juice, but it did its job. It also colored the bagels quite a bit. A dash of fennel seeds topped out the overnight flavoring, with guests doing a variety of toppings that all seemed to involve some combination of sea salt, sesame seed, and poppy seeds.
Some people actually took me up on the offer of shaping bagels - one can probably guess, in the above photo, which bagel I shaped. Luckily, the shape of the bagel doesn't really determine the taste, only how well cooked parts of it were.

On the beer front, I went and picked up two nice bottles from Healthy Spirits - a porter from Firestone Walker and a smoked urbock. The porter was amazing - I'm no expert and grading, ranking, or otherwise critiquing beer beyond the [bad, drinkable, interesting, good] rating system. This one was firmly in the [good] spectrum of beers. The urbock was... interesting. I enjoyed it quite a bit, tasting something like smoked meat mixed with a malty beer. Other people enjoyed it less than I did, but it was not as universally hated as the "chinese medicine" beer I've served before.

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