Thursday, November 24, 2011

Make Bread.

I got spoiled when it comes to bread years ago when I worked at Wheatfield's Bakery - Lawrence, KS.  They still have the best artisan bread I've ever had, and I miss the days when I was able to take a loaf home at the end of every day;  best perk ever.  They still have an old picture/blurb about me in their archives if you're in the mood for a chuckle.

Since working there I've done a fair amount of bread baking, especially when I was living in Korea where it was next to impossible to find a loaf of bread that didn't look like a loaf of marshmallow.  I made variations on this recipe for a long time and was pleased enough with the results.  But this summer, a friend of mine started baking bread using the methods in Tartine Bread and I got hooked, once again, on artisan bread.

There's a massive difference between the taste and texture of yeasted bread and leavened bread and as they say in the book, "(yeasted bread) simply did not have the savor or the staying power (of naturally leavened bread)."

This book is amazing.  It makes me long to work in a bakery again.  It tells the story of how the creators came to develop their methods, and walks you through making your own leaven at home.  From there you start with baking a basic country bread, and then grow into more complex techniques and recipes, each one building on the one before it.  Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what it looks like:

The book recommends baking at home using a combo cooker, a worthy investment that I've yet to make.  Christmas is coming, after all.  I made the loaves at the top of this post using a baking stone, a cast iron skillet of water underneath the stone to create extra steam, and a smaller cast iron skillet covering the back right burner on our stove, which is where most of the heat/steam escapes.  I'm so excited by the results I can hardly stand it.

That's all for now, just wanted to share an exciting discovery with you.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out~~~

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