Monday, November 20, 2006

Heart of Wheat Bread


Sunday, November 19, 2006
This is the easiest bread ever--it's hardly any more trouble than going to the grocery store and buying a loaf of bread. And that's only a slight exaggeration. Its ingredients are just bread flour (I still had some King Arthur Artisan Flour that I bought for baguettes, so I used that), yeast, water, salt, a little honey and a few spoons of wheat germ: the virtues of whole wheat and the virtues of white, all in the same loaf. You make the sponge, ignore it for a few hours, turn it, ignore it, shape it into a free-form loaf, ignore it once again, and bake it. It's crusty and wheaty, with a wonderful texture, and it can easily be made in the space of a day.



We had tickets for The Rivals last night, and our friends June and David Miller came over for a quick dinner before the play. The bread, still warm from the oven, was the star of the appetizer table. This morning, I had it for breakfast toast, and it was as good as toast as I was hoping it would be. Rose says that this bread is the culmination of everything she learned about baking bread.
Although The Bread Bible has some elaborate and complex recipes in it, it's interesting that this bread--a summary of Rose's extensive knowledge about bread-baking--is such a basic, simple bread. But have you ever noticed that most chefs say that their favorite recipe, and the one they've worked the hardest to perfect, is roast chicken? To do something simple, and to do it perfectly, must be the mark of the expert.
Maybe I can't claim perfection for my first try at Heart of Wheat bread, but I can claim pretty damn good.

13 comments:

kneadtobake said...

Heart of Wheat is the bread that I bake most often. Like you said, it is a simple bread, but very delicious.
I hope you continue your blog, it would be interesting to hear about the progress of your kitchen remodel.

breadbakingbeginner said...

Do you only have one bread left? I'm tearing up, I really am...

breadbasketcase said...

Knead to Bake,
You are a mind reader--after I finish the breads, I'm going to document the progress of the kitchen, which is now scheduled to begin sometime in January. And when I get my new oven, I'm going to have to keep baking!

breadbasketcase said...

BBB,
I have one "official" bread, but I have another "unofficial" one that I must do before I can say that my project is complete.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

i don't know marie! when i saw the picture my first thought was: did mine ever look that good?
but you're right about chefs and simple perfection. this bread is my roast chicken indeed!

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

p.s. do try this bread with the new harvest king flour! maybe after the kitchen rennovation....

Lien said...

Well Marie...there are more very nice bakingbooks which you could bake from cover to cover. I'll be there reading and enjoying all about it. This bread looks fantastic (again). Isn't is just a great thrill everytime a bread comes out of the oven like this. I've baked many breads, but I still rejoyce when this happens (fortunately it happens most of the time :D )

Doughadear said...

Your Heart of Wheat looks incredible! For its shear simplicity it was one of the first breads I baked from the Bread Bible and it has become a staple in my home. I must agree it makes the most excellent toast for breakfast served with butter and jam.

Anonymous said...

Great, I wanted to hear about the new kitchen too, so I am glad you won't be disappearing. (I finished the paper. Every word was like pulling teeth out.I am so pleased to be done. This means I am free to do fun things again!)
That is a lovely loaf of bread, Marie!
Melinda

Justin said...

I have also been baking from Rose's book for a while now. This bread was the second hearth bread I ever baked and it was my favorite then and is easily one of my favorites still. I love what you said about it being so simple and comparing it to roast chicken. The beauty of this loaf is that not only is it delicious but it's one you can have all the time and is the perfect blank canvas to other recipes for day old bread. I haven't made this bread since the first time but I haven't been baking long and there are so many things I want to try it's hard to convince myself to repeat anything.

Can't wait to see your blog celebrating completion of your journey. You'll have to make it really special. Congrats on getting this far.

Chubbypanda said...

You know what the next step after the kitchen rennovation is? Creating your own bread recipes. That'll really be something special. You've followed the footsteps of the master, grasshopper. The trail goes no further. It's time to forge your own path.

- Chubbypanda

breadbasketcase said...

Yes, it still amazes me when bread turns out well. There are so many things that can wrong, but it seems that when you start the process, something mysterious happens and the bread, almost of its own accord, just becomes bread. Baking bread is the most elemental form of cooking, I think.
As for forging my own path, I am a fine direction-follower, but I'm not sure that I want to run a test kitchen. I'm very happy to let Rose bake 50 versions of some bread in order to find the perfect one, but I'm not so sure I want to bake the 49 lesser renditions.

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