Thursday, June 16, 2005

Best bread yet

So, I made some bread last weekend, and took it to Craig & Kathy's braai. The bread was the first recipe I've tried from "The Bread Bible", and it was incredible!

I decided to make the "Heart of Wheat" recipe, since we had bought some raw wheatgerm a while before. Some things that struck me while I was making the bread:
  • Letting it rest for 20 mins when mixing by hand really makes a difference. It's a lot easier to work the dough after the rest, and it didn't stick despite being a fairly wet mixture. I used less than 2 Tbsp of flour when kneading (which is waaay less than I usually need)
  • Wheatgerm gives the bread a great flavour
  • Knowing more about what to do after each rise helped the texture a lot (doing a business-letter fold each time to keep some air in the bread and prevent over-working it)

The final loaf (a boule) came out nice with a nice brown, chewy crust and a moist, light but chewy inside. Definitely one to repeat!

Wine: 2000 Palazzola Merlot

Region: Umbria, Italy
Score: 75%
Cost: $18

WA gave this 90% with the notes: "Cotarella is a master with Merlot (much like France's Michel Rolland), and the 2000 Merlot (aged 12 months in French oak) exhibits complex aromas of sausage meat intermixed with mocha, coffee, underbrush, black cherries, and black currants. Sweet, full-bodied, ripe, sexy, and seductive, this lush, opulent 2000 should be drunk over the next 5-8 years".
Sadly, I didn't agree. The wine tasted slightly corked, so perhaps that's the problem. The nose was very subdued and flat, and the wine tasted - well, corked. I have 2 more to try and hopefully they'll be OK.

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Wine: 2004 Boekenhoutskloof "The Wolftrap"

Region: Franschoek Valley, Western Cape, South Africa
Score: 85%
Cost: $10

This is a great red blend - one review I read compared it to Rhone reds. Deep red, with a complex, full-bodied taste and great finish. This is not a light wine, and goes best with rich food, meats, or good cheese and bread. There's some definite bite - some spiciness, acidity, and tannins but not at all harsh, just beautifully well balanced. I'm keeping some for the cold fall and winter nights ahead...

Update: 11/7/2005: Spittoon has a review of this wine up, he gives it 92/100!

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Wine: 2002 Apex Outlook Vineyards Chardonnay

Region: Yakima Valley, Washington State, USA
Score: 85%
Cost: $20

I've been meanign to try the 2002 vintage for some time - the 1999 blew me away, and is getting really hard to find. The 2002 didn't disappoint
The 2002 vintage is a nice golden yellow, very smooth and well rounded, with a delicious dry yet velvety finish. There's a touch of pears and caramel on the nose and palate, but it's less cloying and rich than the 1999 (less oak/malic acid?) This went really well with the Japanese A and I served (miso, noodle salad and sushi).

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