I'm Bread Blocked

I've been making the same bread for several months. You might say I've got bakers block. Which, I guess when you find something that works you stick with it, eh? Well squashy gourd bread has been my go-to. I will occasionally spice things up by making variations. For Christmas I made a caramelized onion and thyme squash bread. It smelled amazing - herby and sweet. The onions give the bread this melty sweetness. 

Prior to mixing in the add-ins (salt, seeds, thyme, etc), I've got a hot tip for you. Mix just the salt and thyme in a small bowl together, then rub the them together to help in release the fragrance and oils of the herb. After that, add it to the dough along with the seeds, onion and squash. 

Herby Christmas Squash Bread
700 g water
160 g starter
600 g AP flour
400 g wheat flour

20 g salt
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
30 g flax
100 g caramelized onions
100 roasted squash

Preparation & Method 
- Mix water, starter and flours. Mix until all flour is incorporated; it will be shaggy. 
- Autolyse for at least 20 minutes and no more than 2 hours
- Add in salt, seeds, thyme, onions and squash. Mix until (mostly) incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. 
- Uncover and with wet hands stretch and fold the dough 10 times. Set the time for 20 minutes and do this three more times. 
- Cover and let bulk ferment for 3 hours
- After growing large and super puffy scrape out on to a lightly dusted counter. Slice and divide into two (for very large loaves) or thirds (for medium size loaves). Scrape into loose blobs and rest for 20 minutes. 
- Prep baskets, bowls or resting containers. After bench rest shape and fold the dough in to their respective shapes (boule or batard)
- Tuck the lil loaves into the fridge for the night to cold ferment for 8-18 hours. 
- The next morning preheat the oven to 500˚ and pull out the first loaf to bake. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the basket and flip out the loaf. Score and place into a dutch oven, put the lid on. 
- Put the dutch oven into the heated oven, after shutting the door DON'T FORGET TO TURN IT DOWN to 450˚.
- Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes and then remove the lid baking for 20 minutes more. It should be golden brown, like a 7 or 8ish on a scale of 1-10 . 
- Remove and let cool. Repeat with other loaves (or do a baller move and have multiple dutch ovens going at once.)

And people think baking sourdough is so hard! Ha - only 27ish hours to make a few loaves. People be crazy. It's also possible I am crazy. 

Other things I've making, reading and puzzling

For new years eve dinner I made some fancy champagne pasta and pear, pine nut and pecorino salad. I don't recommend reheating the pasta, so invite enough people over to eat it or reduce the recipe. 

Dutch cheese is all the rage in the Philippines, or how the Dutch failed to colonize the islands because the Spanish got their first. 

If the new Marie Kondo Netflix show has you clearing things out then you should really read about Swedish Death Cleaning. I mention it at least once every holiday to my parents because I am a very thoughtful daughter. 

Another Lust family holiday tradition is puzzles. We lean heavily into the Charles Wysocki puzzles and have very few by any other artist. His quant Americana and diverse scenes make puzzling.. fun? Since I've been home I've bought two a completed them within 3 or fewer days. Since travel picks up this week, it'll probably stay that way.