1.21.2010

the bread adventures

has anyone else noticed how bread is the topic du jour? or am i just particularly attentive? there have been at least two posts this week alone on thekitchn.com blog regarding bread items, and february's Martha Stewart also features a spread on bread making.

all the discussion has definitely got me in the spirit. i've successfully completed three loaves of no-knead bread—but not without a fair amount of bumps along the way.

most notable?
  • on the first round: i failed to follow the directions for my new cast iron dutch oven and stuck it into the oven without a good pre-wash. result? filling my house with acrid smoke that somehow reached to every corner in moment.
  • on the second round: i did the final rise in the bread pan near the heater. somehow this led to a less than rustic looking crust. i expect...too much heat+oiled plastic wrap.
  • the third round: i successfully baked in the dutch oven as is included in the original directions, and then forgot about it. result? a very chewy crust. meh.
all in all, my first loaf, which was baked in a loaf pan after the dutch oven debacle, turned out the best. it was pretty fucking amazing if i do say so myself, and it has definitely jump started my interest in bread making.

my chief concern is how chilly my house gets and how drafty my kitchen is. there just simply isn't a spot that stays somewhat warm consistently anywhere in my house. i would love to set up a warming drawer but i've yet to have any brilliant brainstorms on where that can exist. every cupboard is filled with dishes, dry goods or other items that wouldn't do well with an additional twenty degrees or so.

a trick i learned from a friend when working at the bakery is to pre-heat your oven to its lowest setting, turn it off, and rise your bread in the warm oven. so for now, my bread making will be a weekend adventure. which, truth be told, is far more rewarding and enjoyable.

tomorrow i will undoubtedly begin the process all over.
perhaps my goal for february will be to tackle a classic yes-knead yeast bread.

1 comment:

  1. Despite three attempts, I have had ZERO luck at the so-called "amazing no-knead bread." (In fact, as much as I respect Bitten, *every time* I try one of his recipes it is a major FAIL. I've given up).

    Maybe it's because I *like* kneading bread. It's relaxing, it's fun, it's like making mud pies when you were a kid... except much more fun to eat later. And since I judge dough readiness by feel, I've lost the one key parameter in 'no-knead' bread. Or maybe it is a white flour vs. whole grain flour thing; whatever it is, I've never produced anything by that method that is not a leaden, misshapen brick. Unless, of course, you count focaccia, which is no knead but very, very good:

    http://localkitchen.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/whole-wheat-rosemary-focaccia/

    Kaela

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