19 April 2009

Adventures in bread baking.

A while back, I read a story in the Strib's Taste section about this revolutionary method of baking artisan-style bread with just minutes of work. I was very much intrigued by the idea, because at the time, baking bread from scratch pretty much terrified me.

I cannot remember the reason I didn't attempt the bread. But I didn't. However, I stumbled across a blog post recently about the method and decided it was the time to give it a shot. Of course, I was thwarted in my attempts the first couple of times for one reason or another (thanks, Rainbow, for not having a single damn jar of regular yeast).

But I finally got around to it today. Of course, it's cold out today and our heat was finally turned off after several warm days, so getting the bread to rise was a challenge. However, turning the oven on while resting the dough on top remedies that pretty quickly. I decided to try to make a loaf today, even though the bread is supposedly better after the dough sits in the fridge for a few days.

I don't know if not letting it sit in the fridge was the problem or what, but my loaf didn't turn out very well. It should be noted that I used 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour. Maybe if I made an all-white loaf it would have been better? The dough is super sticky, so it was hard to form a loaf. But I eventually managed that. And the dough rose fairly nicely in the pre-bake resting phase. However, it then deflated when I slashed it and I was left with a flat loaf. Still, it tasted pretty good. Actually, it tasted like a fancy artisan loaf that I might pay $5 for at any random place that sells artisan bread. It just didn't look pretty.

My next loaf will be baked in my cast iron Dutch oven. I love my Dutch oven so much. And not just because hearing the phrase "Dutch oven" makes me giggle. I'm hoping this one turns out a bit better. I'd like to be able to maybe use it for a sandwich or something.


Little Ms Blogger said...

maybe you needed a 2nd rising before baking...

Jess said...

See, that's the whole point of the recipe -- there is no kneading. No second rise (though, it does kind of do a second rise while in the resting before baking stage).

It doesn't seem right to just mix it up and let it go. Maybe I just needed more flour. My first attempt at Irish soda bread was a bit of a failure, but on my second try and each subsequent try? I've nailed it.

Practice makes perfect, right?

Jon said...

Instead of baking, you might try making tablespoon size balls of dough and throwing them in a deep fat fryer with your choice of oil. It makes small bread balls around three inches in diameter and they aren't greasy. The outside will be crispy, and the inside will be fully cooked bread.

Jess said...

Oh my. That sounds delightful. However, I'm a total baby about frying things. It makes such a mess and then my apartment and everything in it smells like oil for days.

Stupid lack of ventilation.

Jon said...

Oh well. My wife and I tried the deep fried bread years ago, after I had some at a BBQ restaurant. Twenty pounds later, we came to the stark realization that Bud Light, homemade pizza and fried bread where too good to be true.

I regret not placing sharp chedder and crumbled bacon in the center before frying. Maybe a jalapeno for spice.

Little Ms Blogger said...

I have a deep fryer (I use once/year for wings) and loved Jon's suggestion.

Everything with bacon is so tasty!

Jess said...

Yeah, the only way the deep-fried bread balls could be improved is by adding cheese and bacon. Then again, what isn't improved by adding cheese and bacon?