Baking Bread on “Staycation”

Making a biga for ciabattas this afternoon!

So… I’m sitting here in Waimanalo, Oahu, Hawaii where my wife rented a house for a couple of weeks so we could all “work from home” away from our real home for awhile. We arrived in the early evening and went out for dinner last night, but we spent WAY too much on dinner, having dined at one of Guy Fieri’s Triple D restaurants, Uahi Grill in Kailua. It was good, but nothing spectacular.

I had the poké which was pretty good, but to be honest, Fresh Catch in Kaneohe is WAY better; so is the poké at Foodland Supermarket – and they have 10 different varieties that they make fresh every day! But I digress…

Anyway, after getting over the initial shock of spending over $200 on dinner last night (it’s not that we can’t afford it, it’s just a lot to pay for okay food), since we rented a house, I promised my wife I’d go grocery shopping the next day and get provisions so I could cook dinner most of the nights we’re here.

So early this morning, I drove to the local Foodland to pick up groceries and, of course, today’s supply of poké. On the menu, at least for the next couple of days, are some traditional Filipino and Hawaiian dishes like Pork Adobo and Pancit and Spam Musubi.

While I was going down the Rice and Pasta aisle, it just happened to be the baking goods aisle as well. I was not intending to bake on this trip. I was going to take a little break. But the kids wanted to make sandwiches for lunch and I’m sorry, even though Foodland bakes their own bread and it’s pretty good as grocery store bread goes, I just can’t get myself to buy grocery store bread any longer.

As I’m writing this, I looked up at my wife who’s sitting across the kitchen table from me and said, “I ust realized that I haven’t bought a loaf of bread for over a year! There’s just been no need.”

My aversion to grocery store bread was strong enough to overcome my wanting to take a bread from baking. Yeah, I’m pretty obsessed with baking, though not so crazy as to bring a starter with me. But truth be told, baking on this particular trip is purely practical. I’d rather bake my own bread where I know exactly what goes into it, than buy bread that has additives and preservatives in it.

Luckily Foodland had some King Arthur flour and Red Start Active Dry Yeast on hand. Niether were cheap, but I’ll be making ciabattas later today (I’ve got a biga started). Technically, I probably could make baguettes as well, but I’ll see how it goes with the ciabattas first.

The challenge here is that I have no scale, so I’m going to have to pretty much eyeball everything. As I wasn’t planning on baking in the first place, I didn’t even bring my trusty, compact precision scale which I could’ve easily packed. But hey! After watching several shows of people making traditional breads by hand, and owing to the fact that I bake so much that I’ve learned to determine a dough’s consistency by look and feel, this won’t be much of a problem for me. In fact, I’m pretty excited!

Every time I bake, I get this excited feeling. At least for the past year since I’ve put a lot of energy into artisan baking, I get this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. But it’s a good anxious; that anxiousness of anticipation, and I just can’t help but smile. I have to admit that I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been since I picked up baking.

Even when I’m doing my charity projects where I’m baking a bunch of loaves at once, it’s like my brain releases a flood of serotonin into my bloodstream, and my feelings of well-being and happiness go straight through the roof! Is it weird? Maybe. But I’m addicted to the feeling.

Well, I just realized that I forgot to get a small bottle of olive oil, so I need to go out to the grocery store again…

Happy Baking!

P.S. Here’s what the finished product looks like!

1 thought on “Baking Bread on “Staycation”

  1. Baking bread at home is just so much better. I still buy it here and there, but I would much rather bake it myself. Enjoy your work from home getaway!

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