Sunday, January 16, 2011

Read the Recipe

Also, try not to bake bread late in the afternoon after a full day of deck demolition (or similar physical exertion). Well, that's true if you are me...maybe you are made of sturdier stuff.

Today's post is dedicated to Saint Hildegard von Bingen, who probably was made of sturdier stuff. Saint Hildegard von Bingen lived from 1098 to 1179 in Germany. She was head of an abbey, she corresponded with numerous important people of her time including kings and the Pope, and was also a healer and a mystic. She had firm beliefs about God and about eating. The Bread Baking Babes, for their last post of the first three years, are baking her Spelt Bread today. Jump over to our Kitchen of the Month, Astrid's blog Paulchen's Foodblog, for more information on both Hildegard and her bread.

This is an unusual bread because the sponge is barely wet...actually it is like dry crumbs... and the dough is stiff but you can see the gluten strands, too, when you knead it after adding more water, and my two bread pans of dough rose almost to the top by the time I put them in the oven. At that point it was 8 pm and my brain apparently had turned in early. The directions call for a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes, followed by a 195 degree oven for another half hour. What I was too tired to realize was those degrees were in Celsius, not Fahrenheit! My poor bread never stood a chance being baked at such a low temperature (should have been 350 degrees and 325 degrees Fahrenheit). By the time I figured it out it was almost 10 pm so I baked them another half hour this morning at the correct temperatures to finish cooking them. The results (caved in at the middle) do not honor Hildegard nor Astrid. This Babe should probably be on my knees saying the rosary in penance, but I'm hoping that Hildegard's spirit will be kind and that when I make it again, with the correct oven temperatures, that it will be the lovely bread it should be.

The recipe is at Astrid's site and you can send her your links once you have baked it yourself to be a Babe Buddy. You have until the 29th for that and if you remember to use the correct oven temperature you will have a delicious, moist, fairly dense bread perfect for toast and open-faced sandwiches.

Be sure to check back next month on the 16th to see how the Babes celebrate their anniversary...three years! There will soon be some information on Facebook, too. Since I don't do Facebook (I know, Neanderthal!) you will have to visit another Karen of Bake My find out all the deets. In the meantime you can use the links in the bar to the right to visit any of the other Babes and see how much better they did with the Spelt Bread. Thank you Astrid for choosing this bread. Even when twice baked the way I did it the bread is delicious if a little gummy.

Oh, in case you were wondering about the demo, Sweetie and I spent Saturday removing a decayed deck off the bedroom of the old farmhouse and then the old deck between the old farmhouse and the laundry room in preparation for termite treatment. The demo of the bedroom window deck was complicated by having to remove lots of ivy (uugh) and part of an overgrown rose bush. Which is worse...ivy snarls, rose thorns, or rotting wood?

Strangely enough I find I like demolition and have become quite good at pulling old nails from lumber. Moving soil, another part of the day, was less fun. The soil had become built up between the joists of the larger deck, due to our active gopher population. Since those joists are sound we wanted to dry them out so that we can re-use them for new decking later this year. Never a dull moment here!


  1. I for me love demolition!

    My excuse for a brain read: "horror Hildegard or Astrid" and thinking your bread wasn't that bad. THen read again. HONor not horror.

    Still a great job, on demolition house and bread!

  2. I'm amazed the bread cooked at all, Elle! (I think the baking temperatures should be 400F and 375F)

    And your dough was stiff? I wonder WHAT I did wrong? The dough I ended up with was incredibly loose - almost as puddly as Crocodile dough.

  3. Oh Elle, I am so sorry!!
    I should have stated better that it was supposed to be °C rather than °F - I am still not used to the thought that there are some people out there who do not measure temperature in °C...

  4. I'm sure you are forgiven! We've all done stuff like that at one time or another. After a day of hard work like you had I wouldn't have had the energy to tackle bread at all, so you done good!

  5. Pray, forgive me.... but I really needed a good laugh this week, sorry it was at your expense... And great effort ;-))

  6. I once made a similar mistake when studying abroad. I wanted to bring in a cake during the first week of my stay and it took a whiel before I realized the numbers on the dial of the oven were meant to be in Fahrenheit.

    Glad youre bread turned out well in the end.