Bread and The Bard

If you read yesterday's post, then you know I was waiting with bated breath for the bread to cool enough to cut into it.

And just as I typed those words, I said to myself, "What the heck does that mean, anyway?" And is it "baited" breath? Or "bated" breath? Or something else entirely? Well...you know I had to jump on that and ask my friend Google. So here's the skinny on (as it turns out) "bated breath." According to The Phrase Finder,

"[H]elp is found in the writings of the Bard. The earliest known citation of the phrase is from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, 1596:
What should I say to you? Should I not say
‘Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?’ Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman’s key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this:
‘Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn’d me such a day; another time
You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much moneys’?

'Bated' is simply a shortened form of 'abated', meaning 'to bring down, lower or depress'. 'Abated breath' makes perfect sense and that's where the phrase comes from."
So, there you go...another mystery solved. You're welcome.

Okay, okay, I hear you! What about the bread? Well, the crumb was just beautiful, and it tastes divine.

It has a nice flavor with just the slightest hint of bitterness from the beer. My friend Kate gave me a clue this morning. My bread is made with an oatmeal stout, while the recipe bread was made with a milk stout. Kate tells me that the Beermaster in her household says a milk stout will be slightly sweeter due to the addition of lactose to the brew. Now I'm kind of excited to try this again with a milk stout, if I can find one somewhere. The bitterness from the oatmeal stout isn't objectionable, but the bread might taste even better if made with the milk stout. It's a worthy experiment, don't you agree?

As for the brioche...I was working on that yesterday. With so much butter in the dough, it's a pain to mix up. The butter wants to cling to the paddle of the mixer and the sides of the bowl, and so it takes quite some time to get it all evenly distributed into the dough. Aside from all of that, you end up with greasy, buttery fingers from handling the ingredients and the dough. This time around, I cut the butter cubes in half as I added them, and I think that made it a little easier to mix in. Also, the dough seemed softer and more pliable when I was ready to shape it. Recall that this dough goes into the refrigerator overnight. Like a pie crust, it needs to chill. When I was finished shaping it, it was a little better formed than my first try on this dough. I used my bench scraper to even out the sides and the top.

I learned making the last batch that it matters little whether you shape it into "loaves" when you first separate it. The dough is the consistency of clay, and so it's difficult to do much other than cut it into pieces. Also, I weighed the pieces this time around in an attempt to make them close to the same size. Now, they're sitting in my warming drawer rising. I checked the blog post I wrote last time around and recalled that these took almost twice as long to proof as the recipe suggests, and so we're about halfway through that time as I write this.

Mike and I are planning a trip into town this afternoon, but the bread is going to take priority. We'll head into town after it's baked. Hopefully, there will be some sewing time in between.

As for sewing, there's been none for the past two days. I've moved Charlotte along, however. She's almost finished now. There's just a bit on her tote bag to finish and her shoes and socks. I'm thinking I might satin-stitch her toenail pink to match her lipstick. As my friend Sharon pointed out, Charlotte likes a lot of color.

It took me two days to stitch the bottom of her skirt and petticoat. The eyelets in the petticoat are tiny lazy daily stitches. The centers of the pink flowers on the skirt are done with double-wrap French knots. The rest is all backstitch.

Aside from bread-baking, I have a couple of items I'd like to accomplish today. For one thing, I'd like to make up the next stitchery for the Summer Holiday quilt. That would be this one...the road trip.

And then I'd like to get to work on the little truck camper "Welcome" wall-hanging. I have scraps left from the Happy Campers quilt I made a few years ago.

This one hangs on the wall on my side of the bed in our fifth wheel, and it's such a cheery quilt to wake up to. If I have enough of those fabrics, I'm thinking I'll do the truck camper in the same fabrics. We'll see.

And if I'm going to get anything at all done, it's time to get going.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The bread looks wonderful - can taste and smell it way over here. Road Trip is perfect to work on while you plan your next road trip.

claudia said...

That bread turned out beautiful!
It's going to be fun watching the Summer Holiday quilt come to life. That block you showed is so cute!

Doreen Auger said...

That bread looks awesome as does the stitchery. I so luv baking bread....the aroma is divine!!!!!

Brown Family said...

THank you for the lesson on Bated breath!. It is one of those things we say but don't remember why!. I have all of Charlotte's jacket and every thing above complete. I am working on the scarf fringe now. I do not think I will have any problem finishing her by the end of the month.

Debbie said...

Bread looks great, and all those lovely holes! Great job.

Dana Gaffney said...

Now you have a mission for the family, find the milk stout! If it's available anywhere it should be up there with so many brewery or maybe that's a good hobby for Mike when he retires :). You know, of course, I'm concerned about the bird on top of the car.

Lady Jane said...

MMMMMMMMM I am gonna go make bread... Hugs, LJ

quiltzyx said...

Wow! Does that bread ever look amazing! I'm glad to hear that it tasted good too. Now on to the quest for Milk Stout beer.

Kate said...

The bread looks great! Now I'm hungry all over again. Hope you got in some good stitching time this weekend.