I had a spur-of-the moment notion yesterday driven by the need to get my hands on some old kitchen ware needed for a bread recipe. I asked dear husband if he'd like to accompany me to a flea market (third weekends of every month in Belleville, Illinois--in case you find yourself in the same predicament). I hadn't shared with him my motive just yet, but he was game. Out the door in fifteen and there we were were at the flea market on Sunday. My goal: Pyrex.
Before I launch into the whole Hunt for Pyrex Sunday, let me tell you why it happened.
I've tinkered with bread baking for over ten years now. There isn't a lot I haven't tried. Okay, maybe no croissants. But still. I even went the GF route for a bit. I'm lucky enough to still be able to tolerate bread and all its gluten glory. But not too much.
I came across Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford this weekend and began reading through both book and blog. I discovered that all last year this was the IT bread recipe and bread book on FB and social media. (You can find the recipe for the basic bread on her blog.) I had no idea. How had I missed this? I worked around books all day! I was out of the loop on all things bread and it broke my heart a little to be honest.
Alexandra's no-knead method of baking same day bread reminded me of my Jim Lahey no-knead obsession. Only with her mother's recipe (acquired after many years of asking--she goes into this in her book), the task of bread baking occurs same day with similar results. One quaint difference in baking these marvelous little miracles was her use of pint and a half sized Pyrex bowls my mother used to have. . . EVERYWHERE! Immediately I looked through all of the many bowls I had on hand to find that just perfect Pyrex dish. I had three. None in the size I wanted for the recipe for an artisan boule.
I began my bread mixing at 3:30 in the afternoon. I wanted to try the flax seed and quinoa loaf, made with a bit of olive oil and the requisite instant yeast. The loaves surpassed my expectation. The addition of the flax and quinoa made for a healthier tasting dinner bread vs a plain AP flour loaf. The golden crust and wonderful light, moist crumb along with a good rise were delicious. The bread sliced up perfectly after a good twenty minute rest after baking. We ate half a loaf with dinner, then I sliced up the rest for toast this morning and froze the other loaf.
So now for the the Hunt for Pyrex Sunday antique expedition. At the flea market scanning over the hundreds of tables of everything you can imagine (we're big fans of American Pickers), we channeled our inner Mike, Frank and Danielle. DH and I split up. Me on a Pyrex mission, him on a wood working/tool mission. I hadn't traveled more than one aisle and I spotted them: my mother's Pyrex. (Well, not exactly, but yes. . . exactly!) I had to contain my thrill or I'd be paying out the waazoo. I looked at the bottoms and rims of the nest of one set and of a single of the 1.5 pint sized bowl sold separately because apparently it is from the "Pyrex Friendship" collection. Who knew? I wanted the set AND the single bowl because I needed two of the pint-sized for my bread. I wasn't paying the tagged price of course because: I'd watched Pickers! And yes, I researched asking prices online, which I must say shocked me to my core. Honestly, where have I been? These things are like gold apparently. I must have seemed a little too eager because I was hugging the entire set against my body as other shoppers lurked around this vendor's table. I said, "You have a very good eye." Trying to butter her up. I added, "I remember this set. . . what would you take for these, plus the little one?" She went high. I went no. I said another number. She stuck to her price (which was still lower than ticket--so at least I felt somewhat satisfied on price wrangling). Then I spotted another Pyrex piece, a measuring cup--asked to "bundle"--what price might I get? I wasn't t bluffing anyone here. She flexed a bit more, but not too much. However, I added before I handed over my cash, I'd not be back if I found a better deal elsewhere. She said, Good luck, you won't. Hmm. Okay then: deal.
DH found a rock breaking tool for a song on his journey. We toured the rest of the flea market and the vendor I bought my Pyrex from was right--the other sets were not nearly as good in price nor in appearance than the one I found. She and I talked a bit more. I explained the whole bread thing, Pyrex baking. She seemed to not have heard about this, but was definitely interested in learning more, asking me again what the name of the cookbook was. I was happy to share. In her booth was another awesome bread baking find in cast iron cookware. I had it already but made sure to tell her that she would have no problem selling it if another bread baker came along seeking the perfect no-knead bread vessel.
I'll tell you one thing, I love my set. I love them so much. I have a hunch why. These were the food vessels of my youth. They have my mother etched all over them. Every dinner we had, there was trusty old Pyrex. They're now a part of the dinner table again and I couldn't be happier.