Today has been a slow cooking kind of day. I made chicken stock for the first time since fall, so that we can have Thai chicken soup tomorrow. Funny thing is, I’ve never been that motivated to make from-scratch American chicken soup, and when I’ve tried it hasn’t been the greatest. But a spicy Thai chicken soup is much more interesting to me.

I also made stromboli for tonight. In the pizza dough, I swapped out a quarter of the bread flour for white whole wheat, so we will see whether we can tell the difference. I’ve made this recipe several times before. It is slow and easy, and quite tasty. Today I applied a trick I learned from Peter Reinhart’s book, the stretch-and-fold technique, to make the pretty sticky dough much easier to handle. As I was sending the recipe to someone who requested it, I did a search for videos illustrating this technique, and guess who should appear? None but Peter Reinhart himself. One would think he would outsource his instructional videos, or just not make any in favor of letting people buy the book to find out more—but he makes them himself. This is compelling. I am further drawn, as Heidi so aptly put it, to be his bread disciple. And now I have found a video he made to demonstrate shaping a boule, which I am still having trouble with. Oh joy.

With resources like The Fresh Loaf (where actual expert bakers, as well as very experienced home bakers, hang around and delight in answering stupid beginner questions) and instructional videos by Peter Reinhart (himself!!), reasonably committed culinary autodidacts can learn a lot—and that while listening to beautiful Handel arias.

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