May 13, 2007
After all the complaining I did about my slow-starting starter, I feel very proud to announce that what it lacked in speed, it made up for in staying power. I made the basic sourdough bread in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I like this book, although I don't find that he has the same comforting, reassuring voice that Rose has. With Rose's recipes, I always felt that I knew exactly what texture the dough should be, and I knew as I went along that things were going to be all right. And I used Rose's shaping techniques, which seem more understandable to me. I liked that his sourdough recipe made two loaves. I was going to bake them both yesterday, but then it occurred to me that I could just put the dough back in the refrigerator, where it would just gain in flavor overnight. On Saturday I used La Cloche to make a boule.
This was a very nice loaf of bread, although I think it could have done with another five minutes in the oven. With Wonder Bread being a zero and San Francisco sourdough being a ten, I prefer a four or five on the sourdough scale--this was about a 3.5, which was pretty impressive for its first outing.
Today I got out my baguette pan and made one baguette.
I could have made two loaves--this one rose much more enthusiastically than I expected, and nearly popped out of the baguette pan. I may have overcompensated a bit for the first loaf, which was a little too pale. But this one tasted just about perfect--the overnight refrigeration was an excellent idea--with a few cheeses, some Italian salami, and strawberries. And wine. Jim bought two bottles of wine (pouilly-fuisse and pinot noir) for Mother's Day, and naturally I had to try both since he bought them just for me. I thought the white wine had the edge, but it was necessary to keep sampling so I could be sure. Sarah and Jim agreed, using the same technique.
We're going to Vancouver and then to Alaska, so I have only one more weekend to bake bread before we leave. Elizabeth gave me Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb for Mother's Day, and I think I'll try something from that book. My bread cookbook collection now numbers five.