What Happens When a Bakeanista Crosses a Geoduck and a Flaccid uhh..
Well she gets the best damn cheesy bread she's ever had.. YES you heard me, PANERA. It blows your Asiago bread right outta the water!
Last weekend, in between our monthly trip to the West Side Market and Trader Joe's, plus a jaunt to the local greenhouse for the biggest basket of purple & white petunias we could find for Mommie's Day.. was a late blooming starter, lots of flour and even more CHEESE.
The newly named "Bakeanistas" got together again for a day of baking and chit chatting on Skype. Wondering who the Bakeanistas are? Just a fantabulous group of sexy women including Mary, Sara, Ivonne, Helene, Laura Rebecca, Kelly and Stephanie - oh and me!
Wondering what cheesy bread it was that we baked? Check out this step by step tutorial for Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves and the recipe can be found here.
Knowing full well that this recipe called for a starter that was to be made the night before, I sent out a call for help from my other Bakeanista sisters - "SOMEONE PLEASE REMIND ME TO MAKE MY STARTER ON FRIDAY NIGHT!!" I knew damn well that without a reminder, I'd completely forget to make it. And because these ladies are AWESOME, I received, not one but TWO reminders on Friday to make my starter that night. PHEW! Thank goodness for reminders!
Have I ever told ya'll about the two month period last year that I left Nigel at home on his grooming days? If I did tell ya'll that story - do you remember how I stuck post-it notes on the front door, the door to the kennel that Nigel and his sister, Chloe, sleep in during the mornings AND the post-it I stuck on the inside of my car windshield? Okay well, admittedly, I didn't stick the post it on the windshield until the 2nd month, since I had forgotten him the prior month.
And do ya'll remember how I got 3/4's of the way to work when I realized that my goreous son was still sitting at home wondering WTF? Mmm hmm..
I woke up Saturday morning - BAKING MORNING - like I normally do (at the butt-crack of dawn), made my coffee, let the kids out for their morning constitutional, filled up assorted doggie and kitty food & water bowls, sat down at the PC with lists upon lists of things that needed to be taken care of.. and promptly blowing said lists off so I could read new email.. when at six bells this shudder of terror crept down my spine.
HOLY SHIT I FORGOT TO MAKE THE STARTER LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank God, Thank God, Thank God, and Hail Mary, I knew I couldn't start baking until later than the rest of the gals because of the monthly grocery shopping extravaganza. So I bound down the hallway, bouncing off walls, to the kitchen and slapped that shite together. I noticed how dry it was and was kinda taken aback, as every starter I've had to make (hehe every.. like I've made TWO now and one of those died a horrible death that I try not to think about) has been spongy and wet. But oh well.. no time to dwell! I put her in a warm place and went about my usual morning routine and then left for shopping with Hubbs.
I didn't get to participate in much chit chat this month, which was a bummer because I missed all talk of vajayjays, exploding mammories and other unsavory topics that usually trip my trigger. Dammit. So in between TJ's and the greenhouse, we stopped home to unload the car and I made the dough. Left it to rise while we visited my mommie and when I got home I rolled it out and filled it with cheese, then rolled it up into a considerably long log. Another hour or so later, I cut the log up into 4 "mini" loaves (so not mini!) and pulled apart the outer layers so the cheesy goodness would have plenty of room to bubble up and out like the most delicious lava from a volcano I've ever seen.
Into the oven they went and back to the office I went to chat with Kelly and Mary for a bit.. I was also doing something else, but I can't recall what it was at this moment. Regardless of what it was, it wasn't too long after my cheesy volcanos went into the oven that I started to smell an all too familiar scent when I'm baking bread.. smoke. Dear sweet jebus the smoke alarm went off next. Gah.
I ran to the kitchen to find puffs of billowy black smoke emerging from the back of my oven - WHAT THE FUCK, BAKING GODS??? CAN YOU GIVE ME A BREAK JUST ONCE???? I took the loaves out and was more than alarmed to see that they had morphed into what can only be explained as a cross between a geoduck and a man's flaccid hoo-haw. I KID YOU NOT, kids. The Baking Gods were having another belly bustin laugh spree at my expense ONCE AGAIN. Helene's vajayjay-looking bread had nothing on these pornographic sea monsters. Oh hells no.
I ran back down the hallway in a frightened panic (you always know when I've been baking - that frightened panic takes over) and pounded out the words on my keyboard to Mary.. "OHMYGOD THERE'S SMOKE EVERYWHERE AND MY BREAD LOOKS LIKES LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF DEBBIE DOES DALLAS - HELP!!!" Mary calmly asked how high my oven was (425º as per instructions) and then recalled that I had a hot spot in my oven from when she was here back in October of 2007 - so she advised me to turn down the oven to 375º, and put them back in. They might take longer to bake, but at least they'd stop smoking. And the funny thing was.. the loaves, other than their embarrassing appearance, weren't burning.. nor was the cheese erupting from them like.. well.. GAH we will not discuss what the oozing cheese looked like - but the oven itself was smoking. So I did as she said and by the time I got back to the office, she and Kelly and I think Helene was there at that point, came up with a couple conclusions.. I had sprayed cooking spray on the parchment paper (no, didn't do that) - my oven was smoking because it might have just been cleaned and the heat was causing the residual cleaner to smoke (BINGO!). These gals are so smuckin' fart! :D
Hubbs had cleaned the oven out with soap and water a couple days before and it looked as if a lil soap residue was still there. PHEW. The rest of the baking process went beautifully - it did take an extra 10 minutes for them to bake through, but I was rewarded with the most AWESOME tasting cheesy bread that I've ever had. The outside had just the right crispiness, the inside was soft and gooey and the flavor.. ohhhh the flavor! Gruyère is the BEST cheese to bake with, in my humble opinion.
This is one of those recipes that I can not recommend enough. The dough was a snap to make and very easy to work with.. not sticky at all and it rolled out beautifully. Now it might not be the prettiest loaf of cheesy bread ever, but that just adds to the rustic charm of it. We (and by "we" I mean ME) inhaled the first loaf that afternoon.. I shared the 2nd loaf with him the following day and froze the other two.. they did not last longer than a week as I just toasted up the last of it this past Monday. My only advice to you would be to either double - nay triple - this recipe so you've got plenty in the freezer to get you through until next cheesy bread baking day. ;)
Thanks so much to my sexy bread bakin' mamas - I can't wait for the next Bakeanistas adventure! Love you all SO MUCH! :)
PS - Sorry that my post is a couple days late.. but the good news is I can sit for almost an hour now without having to request help to get outta my chair! hahahaa! Fakkin' sciatica. Gah. xoxo