Thursday, November 1, 2012

Swiss Miss-ing My Toys

My job requires me and my family to travel constantly. Well, sort of. It's more like every two or three months, but each of those two or three month chunks is in a different place. Our home base is in Houston, Texas, but we have been here in Basel, Switzerland for the past two months. In the past two years we've spent substantial time in New York City, London, Berlin, New Orleans, Santa Fe and more. The next year will take us to Toronto, Palm Beach, London, and New York. It's a unique lifestyle.

Yes it really looks like this

While I am new to baking, I am not new to cooking. I have loved to cook for our family and friends for many years now and I love my cooking toys. I have a great collection of cast iron pans, knives, a wonderful gas oven and cook top, smoker and grill and all kinds of other fun food instruments to play with. Unfortunately they can't come on the road with us. The solution has turned out to be second hand stores. One of the first things we do when we get to a new town is find the second hand shops and scour them for kitchen things that our temporary housing might be missing. Here's a few things I picked up here in Basel specifically for bread purposes.

I found that analogue scale for 4 francs and the "proofing" baskets (just regular old baskets actually) for 1 franc each. The instant read thermometer I had to buy from the grocery store.

That thing that looks like a weapon is called a lame (pronounced LAHM) which is a fancy French word for bread scorer. This one is actually made from a fondue fork which was thrown in with the scale for free and a double edged razor blade.

The oven in our temporary housing is electric and it vents automatically so there is no way to add steam to the bread without some kind of vessel, so I've tracked down a cheap heavy pot for boules, an metal oblong shaped container for batards and a roasting pan to cover baguettes. It works pretty well but I am itching to get home to bake bread in my own kitchen, with my own toys.

It does go to show that you don't need to spend a ton of money on equipment to make satisfying bread.

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