Monday, September 14, 2015

Basic Hearth Bread

For a time, I was making this bread regularly, and I'm sure I've blogged about it several times.  I have no new insights.  But if you wanted to choose a bread to be your own signature loaf, you could do worse than choosing this one.

It's easy, especially if you have a stand mixer.  It has only a few ingredients, and if you always have instant yeast on hand (in the freezer, where it keeps for years, and despite warnings I've heard, does not appear to lose any of its rising power while being stored in the cold), and it's good.  Which is the important part.  The small amount of whole wheat flour used doesn't bring it into the whole-grain category, but it does add a touch of nuttiness without any of its attendant bitter taste.

Everyone seems to be using the business-letter-fold these days, but I first learned it from Rose, so I'll give her credit, even though perhaps some French baker in the 15th century first thought of it.  (But probably didn't call it a business-letter-fold because nobody would have known what he was talking about).

You can bake this in a loaf pan for sandwich bread, or you could form it into a torpedo shape, but I like the round loaf.

And you can get as fancy as you want with the slashes, but I just did the good old tic-tac-toe board.

The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

The fine crumb makes it an excellent sandwich bread and great for toast, too.  I almost resent it when a bread doesn't toast well.  That's part of its job.