Normally baking day is Monday. Unfortunately I have been spending my Mondays–for several weeks in a row–at the Summerside branch of OKTire. The combination of 17-year-old driver and 10 year old car is not a good place to be, especially if you have limited funds and even more limited time. This winter we have replaced 3 tires, had the car towed twice and personally rescued the car and teen driver twice. It really helps to have a mechanically-inclined husband with lots of tools and gadgets.
Despite the aforementioned husband, I have spent so much money at OKTire this winter I should just give them my ATM card and pin number. This Monday was relatively pain-free, just an annual safety inspection.
So this week, baking day is Tuesday.
I am, as usual, already behind before I even get started. I have a LIST of things to complete before the restaurant opens, and it is long. When the alarm clock rang at 4:00 am, I got up. Lots of work to do and no backsliding today.
It is really dark at 4:00 am and the house is quiet. I enjoy this time of day, and I enjoy working alone. Once the bed and breakfast guests are here in the summer I will change my schedule and bake in the afternoons or be extremely quiet in the early morning and not wake anyone upstairs who is on vacation. But this morning I can bang around all I want. I weigh flour and start the mixer for a double batch of bacon bread first. While it is mixing I proof the yeast for 100 dinner rolls. We will need enough for the cafe for the coming week and extra to stockpile for a big supper we are catering a week from today.
CBC has interesting programming on in the middle of the night, broadcasts from the BBC and Radio Australia, stories of the Roma in the Czech Republic and albinos on the run in Tanzania. Who knew that May is Zombie Awareness Month?
By 7:00 am when the rest of the family is getting up, the bread and rolls are ready to be panned and I feel accomplished. The bacon bread, in particular, is always a big hit for sandwiches. When you toast it for breakfast, it fills the house with a comforting bacony smell. The recipe is surprisingly simple. (The hardest part is actually having some cooked bacon on hand–every scrap of ours is usually snarfed up as soon as it is cooked. Bacon leftovers? Never!)
makes 2 loaves
1 and 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3/4 pound cooked bacon, finely diced
3 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
additional flour as necessary
1. Mix warm water and yeast, set aside 10 minutes to proof.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, put in flour, bacon, oil and salt.
3. Add water and yeast, then mix at medium speed for 5 minutes. If dough is too thick, add additional warm water. If too thin, add small amounts of flour until dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise to double in size. (How long this takes depends on the temperature in your kitchen-usually 1 to 2 hours.)
5. Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces. These can be placed as free-form rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet or placed in greased loaf pans. Let rise for 1 hour.
6. Bake at 400 degrees (F) for 30 minutes.
This recipe was adapted from The Easy Way to Artisan Breads and Pastries by Avner Laskin.
That’s it for now. More to do before we open at 11:00.