here and there

Thursday, February 3, 2011

rethinking bread baking

 check out Jim Lahey's bread recipe on this you tube video.
no knead bread  

Having made bread since the seventies, I have struggled with learning how to make bread but soon learned how to be successful in doing this.  Nothing is finer than walking into a house where bread is baking.  My Mom had always made bread for the week, baking about 5 –6 loaves at one time.  I remember my Dad having bread with his meals along with a liter of milk.  I also remember him enjoying the crust of freshly baked bread and slicing the top of the warm bread!

As I perfected making bread, I would add other grains like whole wheat and seeds like sunflower and flax.  I found that the whole-wheat flour lacked flavor, but adding rolled oats boosted the taste.  I do remember whole-wheat flour having a tasty nutty flavor that Mom had used, but I have not been able to find this flour even in the organic stores.

What I have found is the following.  In using any bread recipe, use the same volume of flour, just keep one to two cups of white flour for volume and the rest can be any type of flour you may like to use.  I also soon found that one did not need to knead the bread for the 10 minutes, only enough to incorporate the dough together!  I always use long acting yeast as then you have the flexibility to work around the dough proofing or rising!  This I used to my advantage to plan my day and bake the bread as the kids or husband walking through the door.  They certainly enjoyed the freshly baked bread!

This  bread I baked at 400 degrees, very tasty but anemic looking!

The recipe that I saw on French cooking at Home lead me to finding the above video on you-tube after reading the comments on Laura's recipe.
I did make the recipe and found that the only things I did different was that since I use long acting yeast, I soften it in water first before adding the water to the flour.  I also oiled the bowl and bread before proofing.  Something’s are hard to stop doing!  My biggest problem was finding a covered pot for baking this bread.  I used my Roman clay pot, which was a bit too small but did worked okay in baking the bread. I had shaped the loaf in a log shaped based on his other video, but this video suggested making a circular loaf as did Laura's recipe.  I also baked the bread at 400 degrees for 50 minutes and although it was baked well, I didn’t have the beautiful brown crust shown in Laura Calder’s recipe or Jim Lahey's bread!  Jim in fact bakes his bread at 500–515 for 30 minutes covered and then 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.


The dough after proofing a couple of hours in a covered bowl.  You can already see the action of the yeast.

Post a Comment