Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bread: 1, Steph 1

On Friday, since I'm not running, I thought I'd made a stab at baking bread. It's on my list, after all. My first attempt was many years ago and was a complete disaster. The bread looked lovely, but the sourdough starter had "turned' and therefore the bread was inedible.

Anyway, back to Friday. I gathered the ingredients and the Cook's Illustrated cookbook and got ready to make pizza crust for dinner. You see, the bread recipes all required bread flour and we didn't get to the store until too late to make them.

So, I started the pizza crust and made a list of stuff to buy at the grocery store. I put the pizza dough in the oven with hot water just like Alton Brown did the other night and we went to the store. Alas, when the rising time was over, it was not a puffy and delicious dough. It was some kind of gooey monster. We put in the garbage and had to go out for pizza instead.

Bread: 1, Steph: 0

Before realizing the crust disaster (while still full of confidence), I started a sponge to make bread on Saturday. For all of you that have never made bread before (me included), a sponge is basically a little bit of the dough that you make ahead of time and put in the fridge overnight to grow. So, on Saturday, we made the rest of the dough, added the sponge and some salt and continued with the recipe. There was not a lot of kneading. Apparently "Crusty Italian Bread" does not like be handled a lot.

Here are the results:


Yeah, you are supposed to let the stone heat up in the oven for an hour for a reason. Apparently this is not just a waste of energy and I shouldn't have skipped it.

Side view:

Check it out! Real bread!

How cool is that?

Doug had gone to the hockey game with the boys, so the girls and I did a taste test after taking the dog for a walk:

Dagny had Nutella and jam on her bread:

As you can tell, the Nutella was her favorite even though she also tried Annika's toppings.

Here is Annika making a thoughtful comparison of the bread pieces.

The honey chevre that I bought at Trader Joe's was her favorite. Trader Joes is deadly to the wallet if you go in hungry. Oh well. The honey chevre is awfully good. The plain honey is good too, though. I got to eat everyone's leftovers.

All in all, not bad bread. The loaf was huge, though. We've been eating it for three days. Next time I'll make three small loaves and freeze two. Also, you have to mix the salt in better than I did. Some pieces were pretzel-ish and some pieces were too plain.


Dorothy Gould said...

Yay Steph! That loaf looks beautiful. I used to make pizza crust all the time, I used the recipe that came with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I remember it was easy using the dough hooks. I did have to call Mike the first time though, I can't remember what the problem was, but he helped me through it. You have inspired me to try again....

Kevin said...

That bread looks good. I used to mak breads and pizza doughs alot, though I would cheat and use the bread maker

Wes said...

I want to make bread. I have my eye on this "no knead bread". I can't wait to give it a try!

JoeVic said...

The only thing better than the smell of bread baking in a house is cookies backing.

We have one of those breadmakers. I love banana nut bread!!!!!

Trish Sharp said...

go steph! your bread looks yummy. i don't have a bread stone, i just use a cookie sheet. it doesn't matter what it looks like (although yours looks really good) as long as it tastes good.
keep it up and you will be baking bread all the time.