I received a copy of The Modern Baker, and it's one of those gifts that I'll always remember the when & why and have fond memories. Seeing it on my kitchen bookshelf makes me happy.
I first remember Nick Malgeri from when he was a regular guest on Cooking Live! I miss that show. He has a comforting aura about him. His book has that same tone of voice. And something I truly appreciate about this book is that each recipe is either on one page, or on two facing pages. It may sound like a silly quibble, but it can be extremely aggravating to have to constantly flip pages, and with The Modern Baker, you don't have to.
Today I made fougasse (pierced French flatbread) to go with my lunch.
It's a little bit chilly in my house today, so I heated a cup of water in the microwave, and put the dough in there so that it could rise in a nice, warm, safe, enclosed environment. I guess a lot of experienced bakers already know that trick, but if you didn't, there ya go.
Another little trick is that we live in a two-story home, and it's often several degrees warmer upstairs than down. So sometimes my bread rises better on the second floor. Today it got its second rise there, because the half-sheet pan is too big for the microwave. Though now that I think about it, I wonder why this book doesn't call for the bread to bake directly on the stone?
Ummm... my slashing and stretching was not particularly elegant; surely it gets better with practice? Then again, not too long ago I got a list of words that describe me, and "elegant" certainly was not among them, so perhaps not.
The recipe didn't say to sprinkle with salt after brushing with olive oil, but I crave salt and I happen to have some very nice cyprus flake sea salt, so I used it. The perfect touch, if I do say so.