If you want to know what I'm doing right now, just about every day, for hours upon overlapped hours at a time; I'm working. Restaurant schedules, otherwise known as ROTA's in London, are quite a bit different than they are in the US. Most restaurants have 1 shift per day-- it is a day. Lunch & Dinner is what you work, if you work that day. Especially in Michelin rated restaurants.
My job is a little more human. If you work from morning to morning it's considered 2 shifts and it's called a 'double.' But we don't work them every day. In fact most of us only work 1 double a week, with a cap on 7 shifts.
But tomorrow I go in for a double which will be followed by a double, so I won't re-surface until my 'lie in' on Saturday. And then I work Saturday night.
But I wanted to pass something on to you.
A bread I'm obsessed with making/perfecting.
Heidi, over at the inimitable 101 Cookbooks, has kindly passed on a recipe from the new (anyone wanna send me one?) Big Sur Bakery Cookbook. It's called Hide Bread and you'll have to read her post, or better yet the cookbook, to know why it's called that.
All I know is that it's one helluva bread, and you don't even need yeast or a mixer to make it! Two bowls, a floury surface, a knife and an oven. Check.
Here in England the flour is really different than it is in the States, so I've been tweaking and toying and teasing this fine bread bun into healthful submission, a wee bit at a time. Know this before anything else: flour is REALLY absorbent here. If you think you need more moisture to feed this thirsty beast, you do. Do not keep cakes and muffins and cookies and bread away from the hydration they crave.
If you do, you will be left with a crumbly mess, a baked good worthy of nothing more than a smudge of forgiveness, something to drown under cream or custard; or is in the case with bread: Breadcrumbs.
This bread, this resource, is a keeper. It is an amazing bread toasted. It keeps, wrapped after cooling down completely, for 3-5 days on your kitchen counter. It's great sliced for eating and cubed for croutons. I love it with butter and marmalade, but it's also great at room temperature & naked.
I'm serious when I say I have a fixation on getting it just so. And now I have a kitchen to do it in.
As one word of 'warning': sunflower seeds, when baked, put out some sort of plant-chemical and they turn seriously green inside the bread. Do Not Be Alarmed-- this is natural and normal and it is not mold.
Until I recover from my four shifts, my two doubles, my deep immersion into the land of breakfast-brunch-lunch-and-dinner, retail baked goods, new & improved plated desserts and bread basket baking, I bid you farewell.
Please consider making this bread. And if you do-- tell us all your results, yeah?
Cheers, thanks. Ta.