Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hearth Bread

I don't buy a lot of cookbooks. For the most part, I find the majority of the recipes I use from various foodie blogs and communities. Even when using cookbook recipes, I often combine advice from online sites and recipes as convenient.

However, recently I've been trying to expand my bread-baking experiences outside of just sandwich loaves and dinner rolls. I wanted to try something more challenging, or maybe just more impressive to my friends when I tell them what I've been doing in the evenings. But anyway, I decided to buy a bread-related cookbook. I had a few possibilites in mind, but when I saw The Bread Bible was selling at only $35 CAD, I knew it was a sign. It was the SAME as the US PRICE. So anyway, I bought it. And I decided to try following the recipes as printed, no substitutions or adjustments from other sources.

I chose the Basic Hearth Bread, which I think is the same as Artisan-style bread. Berenbaum's recipes are very detailed with specific instructions, and I missed a few steps. I didn't have instant yeast so I used the active dry form that I normally use (you need to combine this kind with water before using). I also didn't have dry milk so I used scalded milk as she suggested. Aaand I might have used slightly more whole wheat flour than suggested (not on purpose, I read the measurement wrong). But even with my screwups, it was pretty good. It had the chewy, crisp crust that my other loaves don't have and some of the large-ish holes that characterize artisan breads. And as long as it took, I felt pretty proud of myself in the end. There's something about a "rustic" freeform loaf that is so much more pleasing than sandwich bread. I'll definitely be making this again!

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