Sunday, November 18, 2007
Novel or no, I felt the need to bake bread this weekend, so I tried another bread from Maggie Glezer's beautifully photographed book, Artisan Baking. This bread is labeled "advanced," but it's not difficult, although it does require a sourdough starter which you use to make the levain.
My friend Bridget told me that she had this book, but she had never used it because making a levain or poolish the night before always seemed kind of scary; she also said that when she wants bread, she wants it now--not 48 hours later.
I pooh-poohed her levain fear, and told her that it couldn't be easier.
When I looked at this recipe, I had to admit that it didn't exactly fit in the "want it now" category. A levain has to be stirred up the night before, and for the levain, you need about a tablespoon of sourdough starter, which, of course, had to be refreshed at least twelve hours before you put it in the levain. And if you don't happen to have sourdough starter in your refrigerator, you're not going to bake this bread. Or at least not this version of it.
I ended up adding a minute amount (about 1/8 teaspoon) of yeast to the dough when I mixed it up because the levain was supposed to have quadrupled overnight. Maybe it doubled, but it certainly didn't quadruple. I was afraid it just didn't have enough oomph to make two loaves of hearty bread. Maybe I should have had more faith, but it turned out very well with the addition of a small amount of yeast.
I like the mixture of flours for this bread--all-purpose unbleached, bread, rye, and whole wheat--much better than I like the straight whole-wheat that I made last weekend. And the addition of lightly toasted walnuts gives this bread a terrific, earthy flavor.
Jim made bacon, onion, and blue cheese omelets for dinner. Although the bread and the omelets weren't planned to go together, it was a match made in heaven.