Monday, October 4, 2010

Bread bread and more bread

The weather has finally started to cool off and with that I get a major bug to start baking. I was recently introduced to the book The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I am loving the concept of slow fermenting breads. I've played a bit with this concept in the past but never to this extent. I've made several of the breads and they have been quite fun. The hardest part is that we aren't eating the bread as fast as I can make it and most of the recipes come in two loaf variations. This is a delightful large book filled with fabulous recipes. Reinhart talks of bread as though he is wooing it. It is near poetic erotica how he speaks of bread and describes it. Just reading his description of crumb and crust will make you salivate and yearn to get your hands into flour. I highly recommend this book for any true bread lover. Oh and just a word of caution. If you make poolish and put it in a 1 quart jar because it fits and then you forget to put it in the fridge after a few hours you will come home to find poolish all over the counter, down into the draw that houses your bags and wraps, inside the door of the baking pans and in a puddle on the floor. The next day when you go to use said poolish you will only have enough for one large loaf of bread. I don't think you need to ask me how I know this.

The biggest problem that I am having with some of the wetter breads like the ciabatta is that I'm not getting the nice big open holes that these breads are known for. Mine tend to have a really nice crumb and great taste, but I'm missing the holey experience. I'm thinking that I am handling them too much between letting them rise on the cloths and putting them on the pants. The next time I make one of these I am going to let it do a final rising after they are on the pans and see if I am just degassing them too much when I move them to the pans. My friends are enjoying my efforts (though I think that their waistlines are not).

My last bread I made was a lovely egg enriched challah which had just the most wonderfully tender insides. It made you just want to use it for a pillow and it was quite delicious. I have several loaves to make for this upcoming weekend and I am going to make sure that this is one of them.

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