November 25, 2007
I love this bread.
It's one of the few from The Bread Bible that I've repeated--it's worth repeating because it's just about a perfect basic loaf of bread. It's chewy and crusty, and, especially with sourdough starter substituting for some of the yeast, as it did this time, very flavorful. It's also quite pretty.
The first time I made this bread, in March of 2006, I was just getting started on my year-long bread-baking project. I liked it then, even though I didn't shape it very well. I made it a second time just after our kitchen was completed--I think it was the first bread I made in the new oven. It got a little too dark, but I still liked it. This time, it was almost perfect. In fact, I doubled the recipe because I knew how much I liked this bread. (Doubling was not such a great idea, as it turned out, since the amount of dough really taxed my KitchenAid's powers. I smelled something burning and couldn't figure out what it was, since I hadn't turned on the oven. Then I realized that my mixer was working its little heart out for me.)
This hearth bread is just flour, water, and yeast, with a little honey added for a very subtle sweetness. Most of the flour is bread flour, but there's a little whole wheat--enough for color and taste. One of Rose's variations is to cut down the yeast and add some sourdough starter. I like to add some sourdough to most breads anyhow, but this one especially benefits from it. Not enough to make it sour, but just enough to deepen the flavor.
We had it with cheese and wine this afternoon.
Jim brought some cheese back from the grocery store that described itself as having a "subtle barnyard taste." I asked him why he thought that sounded inviting, but it turned out to be fine.
(It's amazing how much time I have on Sunday when I'm not writing a novel, by the way!)
And I'm making spaghetti with bacon, tomatoes, and tarragon for dinner; I expect it will go very well with that, too.