Saturday, March 26, 2011

Help Wanted: Experienced Baker

Ah, the smell of warm bread... there are few things better or more basic to human beings.  Krissy is back and in full baking mode.  Here are some of the loaves she made Thursday.  When I get to work, she's usually just finished delivering the breakfast pastries to the Main House.  We usually chat for a little bit and then she goes around a corner from my work station for about an hour.  The next time I see her, she has a stack or two of tubs, five tubs high, all full of dough.  Then, she weighs, forms, lays out and proofs all that dough.  By mid-afternoon, the kitchen is full of the aromas of all that lovely baked dough, in rolls, loaves, baguettes, batards and pullmans (pullmen?).  She speaks in ferments and preferments and poolishes and sourdoughs, a language I can barely follow.
  We are looking for someone who can follow that language, to work the weekends, including Krissy's days off, so if you know anyone with bread baking experience, who can chat that special language with her, send them our way, please!
  In the meantime, the p.m. staff has been designing new desserts.  Melanie has made a plate of spring time, with sheep's milk yogurt cake, infused with fresh thyme, dressed with candied rhubarb and yogurt gelato, drizzled with local honey.  There's a crunchy baked streusel under the ice cream that is everyone's favorite part of the dessert, especially the sweet-salty contract it gives to the gelato.  
  Suzie made pineapple upside down cake, made with crunchy, locally ground cornmeal, served with dulce de leche ice cream, pineapple juice caramel and caramel corn.  It was delicious, and goes on the menu today.

We're also changing the room service menu to make it faster, easier and more in-room dining friendly.  I made a French silk pie, though I'm not sure what's French about it.  I just wanted a diner-ish, eat-in-your-pjs kind of dessert!  Josh's spoon is poised and ready, as usual.  Everyone agreed it needed a little something:  more salt, more sweet, more chocolate, but there was none of it left at the end!
Last week, Melissa Clark in the New York Times had a recipe for a bread-wrapped baked chicken, and I've been intrigued with the thing all week.  On the way to work yesterday, I picked up a chicken and at lunchtime, I crammed fresh thyme under the skin and inside the carcass.  I salted and peppered it and Krissy wrapped it in wild rice bread dough.  Here it is, about to go in the oven.  Now, Melissa Clark's recipes usually get my attention, and I've tried her no-soak bean soup recipe several times, with mixed success.  But this one really sounded good, especially the part about eating crisp, hot baked bread that was infused with chicken-y goodness.  She said it took an hour, but ours took 1 1/2 hours, and the bread was, well, kind of gross.  It was soggy and and doughy inside.  The chicken was pale, the skin was slimy and the thighs weren't cooked through.  It was a fun experiment, but I won't try it again.  I do think it looked pretty funny before it went in the oven, though.
  Tonight, John Hiatt and Nancy Wilson perform at the Barn, and everyone will be having lemon meringue pie for dessert, so I've got to get cracking some eggs.  Have a lovely spring day!


LA said...

Sounds like the chicken needed to be baked first, then the bread should have been added the last little bit. I've had your baked chicken, so I know how yummy it can be! The desserts sound so yummy!!!!

Roxie said...

Oh the smell of fresh-baked bread! Unfortunately, I can't resist tearing into a hot loaf and slathering the chunks with soft butter. I always have too much of a good thing and wind up covered in grease stains and groaning in pain. But God it's a glorious way to go!!

Bonnie said...

Sorry, I don't know a baker. If I hear of anybody-----. Bread covered chicken sounds good. Maybe if the skin had been removed before the bread was put on?? I don't know.

Sharon said...

You're cooking for those celebs? Zounds Batwoman.