Friday, January 28, 2011

I CAN Live on Bread Alone...

if it's THIS bread! OK, so I'm going through a bit of a farm girl phase here, and for the last couple of weeks have been lusting after home-baked bread. Or better, the IDEA of home-baked bread. Then, last week at my book club my friend told me she was getting in to baking her own bread, too. I was inspired. A couple of days later, I headed for my co-op and bought some whole wheat bread flour and made plans.
I could already smell that wonderful yeast-y smell emanating from my warm kitchen as I opened my laptop and pointed my browser to my most favorite farm girl, Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman. If you haven't been to her site, you must go. But be prepared to lose the rest of your day, because you can't just go to her site for 10 minutes and leave. But that's a whole other story. I was talking about bread... so I went to her site, clicked over to the Cooking section and headed straight for the Breads. What I found was heaven on a LCD monitor: "The Bread, In His Words". Oh, lovely, lovely, loveliness! But I didn't just drool on the screen-- I actually went so far as to print the recipe! AND make it!!
Oh, how I wish I had a great camera like Ree! But I don't, so you will have to forgive my substandard photos. I try. This is a before-the-bake shot. I used 3 cups of the whole wheat bread flour and 1 cup white all-purpose, so it did not get a dough-y as Ree's. I did not get the "window pane" (read the recipe; you'll see what I mean), but I figured that much whole wheat flour just isn't going to act like white. That's OK by me. So here it is, scored and ready for the oven. I do not have a Dutch Oven, so I put the ball on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduced to 375 for another 40 minutes. This was per Ryan's comments, since a lot of readers were in the same boat as me. I also put a bowl of water in the oven in an attempt to create steam. I don't know if that really worked or not; I later read that I should have used a pre-heated metal pan for the water. Next time.
So, after 50 minutes, it came out like this:
It bloomed! I let it rest a few minutes-- and congratulated myself on my saint-like patience-- and then cut in:
Ooooh baby! It was worth the wait!! Yum. Yum. I say, yum.

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