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.
Posted by Marie at 5:37 PM