May meeting – lots of bread and cheese

We had a great group at May’s get-togehter. Christine brought some delicious, home-made, new cheese to eat with our pugliese. One was a soft white cheese with pesto – it really perked up the tasting experience. And, wow! Did we need it! Pugliese is an olive-oil rich, but very bland, country-style bread.

Pugliese

Here’s one of the ones we tasted – Jo brought it.

Polly wasn’t able to make the meeting, but she sent a sample of her delicious test loaf with Sandy, who also brought a sample. Since we had so much testing to do, we didn’t do a very critical evaluation – we were just having too much fun.

Jo and Ann both brought whole loaves. Ann baked hers in a Dutch oven, which gave a very different look and texture. Laurie contributed some raisin bread slices, which were especially good with the second cheese – a sweet, berry-infused batch.

Laurie also talked about the progress of the cob oven she helped build at the Saturday Public Market in downtown Mac. What with all the rain, it was still drying out a week after it was constructed. Since the oven stays very hot long after the market closes, marketeers are currently working out ways anybody can bring in some loaves to bake at that time.

Jo talked about what all she had learned during her attendance at the OSU Barley Field Day. After touring fields and hearing discussions of different varieties of barley (forage, food, malting for beer, whiskey) and diseases and how to deal with them, the group traipsed on over to the greenhouses and food science and technology buildings for more in-depth demonstrations of variety crossings, ‘pearling’ to make barley for soups and flour, and for baking.

The head baker at the Food Science and Technology building, Andrew Ross, gave her a number of samples of his work: an artisan loaf, a baguette (see picture below) and some pretzels.

Barley Baguette

Pictures of Barley Baguette and Pugliese courtesy of Laurie’s cell phone/camera.

Next month we are going back to first Monday of the month – June 6. We decided to meet the first Monday of every month no matter what, since some of us (me!) have gotten a bit confused about the two times we changed that. We’ll be making “Pie in a Jar.” Monica provided the link:
http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-a-jar/

We found to our great interest that three of us had never heard of this and the other four thought everybody knew about it. This is one of the great reasons to get together with fellow bakers to share opinions, information and favorite baking techniques.

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