March 2008


Holiday: Easter Monday

Despite there being no discernable holiday on today, it’s a holiday here in Germany.

I guess it’s the day that people recover from their Easter hangovers: too much of the communion wine, or something like that. I really am clueless. I do know it’s also a long holiday weekend in the UK, and presumably other European countries.

Over in the States it must be a regular business day, full steam ahead.

This weekend, as I define it, I really didn’t get that far from the flat. Saturday I went shopping at the over-crowded Aldi, a ten minute walk from my house. Sunday I pretty much stayed home all day, baking the bread that I started Saturday afternoon while watching snow fall.* After buying my plane tickets to Istanbul (A bargain I think: 202,79€ for the dates and destinations I wanted), I watched a couple episodes of Father Ted and drank a glass of wine.

Today, suffering cabin fever, I decided to head to the Weimar Office, which is pleasantly quiet. Herr Salmon was there, not reading his usual suspect, but instead a glossy magazine. He seems a lot less rushed than normal—he’s probably celebrating the Easter Monday off that I am not used to, even though it’s my third year in Germany.

Unfortunately for me the project I wanted to work on requires consultation with somebody in a time zone five hours behind me (summer time has not yet kicked for Europe).

This leaves me with a book that I picked up at a newsstand in Paris’ Gare d’Est: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.

Not a bad alternative, all things considered.

* Ok, on the bread front: the bread tastes really good, make no mistake about it, but I find some aspects of making it really bizarre. The recipe calls for mixing the flour, salt, yeast, and water until the dough is shaggy and then let it rise for 12 to 18 hours, after which I am supposed to shape it into a ball. However it refuses to take such a shape: it wants to spread out and not retain a ball shape. I don’t think I am using too much water, and I’m fairly certain that I used too much flour, so I shouldn’t have had liquidity problems, so during the second, two-hour, rise, I put the “ball” in the towel in a pie pan in order to discourage too much spreading.

The worst thing about this particular bread recipe is the amount of time it takes: 12 to 18 hours for the principle rise. There’s no real good way to make it in one day: If I tried to mix it at 7a, before work, which means I start the second rise at 7pm, being done about 9pm, sticking it in the oven and pulling it out at 10pm, which is my bed time. I suppose I could start it at 10pm, thus moving to the second rise when I get home from the office the following day, but that would still mean I finish baking in the vicinity of 8pm.

3 comments to Holiday: Easter Monday

  • Hey cool – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was a really enjoyable “read” – I actually listened to it on CD.

    What on earth does shaggy dough look or feel like?

    I like to bake my own bread too, but that recipe sounds like way too time-consuming.

  • @Ian: It’s just time consuming, not labor consuming. For me the shaggy dough hasn’t come together the way I expect normal bread dough to come together. Since I don’t kneed it, I never touch it, so I cannot comment on the feel…

    And the book.. an enjoyable read. The reader’s guide at the end of my paperback was slight bizarre… i guess it’s meant for infrequent readers.

  • Hooray for Easter Monday! It’s a holiday here too (along with Good Friday), creating the only guaranteed four-day weekend of the year (sometimes Christmas and Boxing Day are Tuesday/Wednesday or Wednesday/Thursday).