Halo! Halo! A usual welcome from my nephew Frank whenever he announces his presence or is playing with his toy cell phone.While I am here in Schweiz I have decided to bake some breads for my sister and to practice my up coming trip to Wales with my mate Mick. Frank is in tow along with his sisters watching me knead and fold my bread in the Dan Lepard fashion by hand! I have successfully made a leaven, all the while traveling around different landscapes of the various cantons of Switzerland, taking in huge amounts of chäs (that is cheese to you and me dear readers!). I visited a schau backerei, a grain mill and well generally tried to be the ambassador of American home bakers, thanks to a somewhat sceptical Swiss public, who question me, quite often I may add, on the state of fast food being our gastronomical gift to the world! I quickly remind them of the news of our success in bread competitions by leading bakers such as Jeffrey Hamelman, Craig Ponsford just to mention a few, and tell them we have chefs who don’t only cook at the golden arches!!
So I browse through my collection of formulas and have already made a rendition of Jim Lahey`s infamous filone from his bakery from my last installment. Not only was it devoured with absolute gusto but I even followed Jim`s method to the teeth minus the creuset pot. We used dinkel, (spelt) rather than wheat, the thought being we would stay within the theme of Romans, as the town where my sister lives, Lampenberg, was named after the Roman family whose relics showed them to be named the Lampos!!
Oh yeah your wondering what the title refers to? The title for this post is translated thus, chewing gum bread! What? Well I have made some real winner loaves of bread so far according to my family and new found friends. From a not so pretty first spelt version of (Lampenberg) Vermont Sour dough from Jeffrey Hamelman`s book, to a Pugliese,
hazelnüss und rosinen Benoiton and finally a Coupe de Monde potato rosemary Batard! So why chaugummi brot? Well I successfully had two different dough`s ready for shaping when Frank said he wanted to taste the raw dough,(yuch!) he quickly snatched the empty bowl where the dough had been fermenting and fingered the bits of dough around it`s edges, while I chided him for his taste for the sticky bits and tried to wrestle the bowl back.Frank flicked onto the table what I believed was a bit of potato covered dough, I quickly wrestled it away and folded it into the dough, sealing the final fold when in a look of complete dumbfounded surprise Frank announced to Momma that “Unkel Jeremy is a little dumb, because he just put my chewing gum in the bread!” My sister mortified felt we should eviscerate the loaf and remove the offending alien from the depths of dough! I concurred, but only half jokingly said we should leave it in as a special secret ingredient!
Anissa Helou is a Lebanese-Syrian chef and cookbook author. She is also one of the world's leading encyclopedia when...