Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hearth Bread

Sunday, April 22, 2007
Several people have chided me for not bothering to read the instructions for my new Wolf oven, so I finally dug the instruction book out of a pile of important papers - waiting to be filed in some coherent filing system. I was glad I did. First, I had forgotten that there is a bread-proofing setting. The oven is set at 85 degrees F, which is so low you're not even sure the oven is on. It was a warmish spring day, so the bread would have been just fine on its own, but this is a very handy setting for very cold days or just if you want to be sure that it will only take an hour or two for the bread to rise.
In addition, the oven has a "bread stone" setting. Of course, you are supposed to use only the special Wolf bread stone rack, and not just any old bread stone, but the special Wolf bread stone rack costs a few hundred dollars, and I already have a bread stone. I thought and thought and tried to figure out if there was any possible way that putting another stone in the oven would hurt it, but I just couldn't see how it possibly could. (I have probably just invalidated my warranty by publicly confessing to not using the special rack).

Notice how rotund this loaf of bread is! Notice the "bread stone" setting! Notice that the oven glass is very clean! Notice my excessive use of exclamation marks!
This basic hearth bread recipe is one of the very few from The Bread Bible that I have repeated. I was so happy that I did--I'd forgotten what a very lovely basic loaf of bread this is. We were invited to our neighbors' house for dinner on Sunday (they've become so used to inviting us for dinner that they have forgotten that we now have a kitchen and should be inviting them). But I did offer to bring a loaf of bread, and this one seemed like one that everyone would like. I still don't know the peculiarities of this oven, and the bread got just a little too dark, but it's still a handsome loaf:

And, although the crust might have been a little dark, the crumb was just about perfect.

I was so pleased with this bread that I was almost tempted to just go through TBB one more time. But then I recovered my sanity. I do think that Rose should do another cookbook. I've looked at a number of bread cookbooks since I finished The Bible, but I still haven't found one to rival it.

5 comments:

Melinda said...

It has puffed to a balloon! Nice texture.
The oven is very attractive. It's so nice and shiny new. So happy you have a pro's oven now... I wonder why it has to have it's own stone? I am a wee bit envious, and wish I had such a nice oven.

evil cake lady said...

me too, i'm a wee bit envious of your shiny, new, fancypants oven.

congrats for surviving the kitchen remodel!

Anonymous said...

That is one GORGEOUS oven!!! Fantastic!!

And Beautiful bread!

Marissa

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks wonderful. I am envious of your beatiful new oven. You mentioned that you haven't found a book that rivals TBB. Two of my favorite bread books are TBB and Maggie Glezer's Artisian Baking. Glezer's book has great bread recipies with inspiring pictures.

Happy Baking,
Dutchbaker

breadbasketcase said...

Melinda,
It makes me a little nervous to have such a nice oven. I feel that if whatever I'm baking doesn't turn out, I can't shift the blame to the damn oven that doesn't heat right and is at least 50 degrees too hot. I guess I can still blame the recipe.

ECL,
I love the word "fancypants"! And it's a perfect word for the oven.

Marissa,
Thanks--it is a fancypants, isn't it?

Dutchbaker,
Thanks for the tip--I wasn't aware of Maggie Glezer's book, but it's on my Amazon.com wish list now.