My to-do list is reaching frightening heights. Small tasks such as 'tidy the desk' and 'put away the laundry' are piling up under larger ones ('write book review', 'find new roommate,' 'do taxes') and even larger ones ('buy apartment,' 'improve job performance,' and 'evaluate books for major award'). I might be starting to panic a bit. In fact, the only time I make to-do lists is when I'm on the verge of panic. They do help, although I rarely remember to actually check things off. Not really a to-do list kind of person.
One thing I am quite good at, though, is making bread. Somehow, I had gotten it into my head that the Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread from The Baking Bible was a rye bread, and I held off making it for a week so I could get my hands on some good rye flour. And so I could traipse around frozen Chicago with a lot of librarians in brightly colored cardigans and cool tights.
The Chicago thing went very well--I met some lovely people, ate and drank with some special people I've already met, got heavily snowed on, got a dose of Midwest nice (THANK YOU, Metra conductors who held the Sunday 6:12am train for me when I was on the wrong platform with my giant suitcase and there were 8 inches of snow and counting and the next train was not for two hours), and got to hear LeVar Burton and one of my library inspirations Scott Bonner speak. The Youth Media Awards were announced, including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. There were some surprises, and as usual, some excitement. Here is a good roundup of what the children's librarians in your life were talking about last week. Here is a good round-up of what we'll be talking about for the rest of our lives if we do our jobs properly.
Speaking of jobs, here's the bread. As it turns out, the bread uses a miniscule proportion of rye flour to regular bread flour (or in my case Hecker's unbleached, which has a reasonably high gluten content). The dough begins with a biga starter, to which I added about 1.5T of leftover sourdough starter, for flavor. The biga then spent about 9 hours out on a table, followed by a few hours in the refrigerator. Then it was mixed into a dough with additional yeast, given a two hour rise, stretched and folded, and left overnight in the refrigerator for a second rise.
I stretched it out, laid in a pattern of soaked dried mango (standing in for the apricots, golden raisins and mixed nuts had already been added to the dough), and folded and rolled the dough into a reasonable batard, which I then left to proof in the refrigerator while I was at work. Finally, I gave it a short time on the counter while I pre-heated the oven and the baking stone, slashed and baked, and there it was. I like this bread, but I would never make so small an amount again. If you're going to all the trouble of making a bread dough, make more than one wimpy batard. Also, if we're advertising this as a nutty bread that's good with cheese, I'd like a slightly more dense, rye-heavy bread. A friend has requested that we try out this Scandi Rye from Food & Wine next. Any ideas on good wheat-free replacements for the bread flour? She can have gluten, just not wheat.