Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The bread

In previous posts, I have been anticipating the making of bread the (almost) no-knead way. After the dutch oven trials and tribulations, we finally made a loaf. Breakfast this morning became a very special occasion as we sliced into the creation. It looked like a little rustic, not quite as perfectly shaped as a professional baker would have done . The crust was quite firm, and nicely browned. The bottom crust was a bit overbrowned and tough, however. The crumb had a nice slightly dense texture with very even air pockets and a really deep, complex, not too yeasty taste. Of course, I immediately shared the crust with Madame, while toasting a couple of slices to try with marmalde (me) or jam (Madame). It was fantastic! Was it as good as the bread from the Breadhaus? No, not quite. But I can at least handle this in pajamas. Emeril's cast iron dutch oven did the trick.

Experimentation will take place. I think I will lower the initial temperature to 475, and cut back the cooking temperature to 400 for the next one.

Some obvious substitutions - add some pasta flour, and coat the loaf with sesame seeds.

Replacing some of the AP flour with wholewheat.

Using bread flour instead of AP - I suspect I may have to adjust the liquid proportions a bit.

Warming the water/beer/vinegar mixture a little. I added them cool which made the lazy yeast take a long time to wake up. Since the recipe only calls for 1/4 tsp of yeast for 1 lb of flour, getting them motivated is probably a good idea.

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