January 28, 2011

you thought I forgot...or hoped, anyway

I mentioned my desire to learn how to make wonderful, crispy-crusted bread a while ago and have finally gotten around to starting a 200 (Non-Contiguous) Days of Bread Project, since I can't put it off any longer and have finally purchased an apparently essential instant read thermometer.

But accomplished nothing else that wasn't eaten, dirtied or messed up again later. In case you wanted an update on that.

Back to what the book calls "Artisan Bread", although I'm having a tough time even writing the word. It sounds like bread snobbery to me. And my life, while it's narrow enough to include book snobbery, has no room in it for carb or flour related uppity-ness. So I'm open to suggestions for non-snooty names for the kinds of delectable breads I'll be flooding my home with. And, depending on how close you live to me, your home.

Since I don't bake at midnight, and reserve the right to not do projects once the kids are in bed, Miss was an integral part of this first attempt.

As was her kitchen stool:

My first Oh Well, I'll Use Something Else girl moment came right away - every recipe in this book calls for instant yeast. Instant yeast. I don't do instant yeast.

So right away I'm pooched. Not exactly; I'm substituting exactly the same amount of active dry yeast. We'll see how this works...I'm hoping it does - not only for the obvious reason that I'm not a masochist - but because the first "Master Recipe" uses six and a half cups of flour.

Which is hard to stir with a wooden spoon. Oh yes, did I mention that I'm not using my beloved, rock-star red Kitchen-Aid for this carbalicious project? The book told me I wasn't allowed to.

Let's all be sad for a minute together, shall we?

We'll see how long this lasts...

I followed the recipe (except where I didn't), and it looked like this:

Did I also mention there was no kneading involved? And that I was supposed to own and use something cald a "bread whisk", Danish, no less? I think not. Anything with "Danish" as one of it's adjectives sounds expensive.

Here it is, resting:

And here - in my Proof of Bread Life photo, sans date - is the finished product.

Except that's not all, of course. Recall that the master recipe used six and a half cups of flour...there's still a lot of that dough still in my refrigerator.

Which brings me to the good parts of this process, so far. There's about four loaves worth of dough in the fridge right now, and it can apparently live just fine in there for the next nine days. So anytime I want to bake, I can skip right to the "Form and Bake" section. 

Final thoughts: the bread was too salty, the crust was crisp but not crisp enough, and since I used active yeast, I could have used a little less. Other than that it was a good loaf of (sort of) crispy-crusted carbaliciousness. Especially slathered with butter.

Baby Boule, check.
Update: I've now modified the recipe for Crispy, Crusty, Delicious French Bread and it is here.