Sunday, January 11, 2009

More fun with bread

Lately my pantry seems a lot more full than before.  And I'm not quite sure why.  Okay, I do have some idea.  I've always had a lot of chocolate on hand.  (And it's about to get worse, since as usual Jamie did his best to completely fill my Christmas stocking with assorted bars of chocolate.)  The canisters for light brown sugar, cornmeal, regular sugar and AP flour live on my kitchen counter, but others are in the pantry--cake flour, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, bread flour, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats, semolina.  And with all the baking I've been doing, I keep extra of a lot of stuff on hand--unopened bags of all-purpose flour, bread flour, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, powdered sugar, granulated sugar.  Most of this stuff I use quite regularly.  And occasionally I'll pick up something just because it looks interesting and I might want to use it in something.  Which is why, when I decided that I was going to try the European Peasant Bread from my new cookbook, I actually had rye flour on hand.  Now I just need to find a container for it...  

Before embarking on my second Artisan Bread recipe, I had to acquire a new piece of equipment as well.  Since the first batch of dough threatened to escape my 4-quart container (I wish I'd taken a picture!), I wanted something bigger.  I managed to get down to my favorite restaurant supply store, Ace Mart, just a few days after Christmas.  Thank you to the nice employee who let me in even though it was about 2 minutes before closing time!  I got in and out with what I wanted, picked the girls up from day care, and went home to make dough.  

This dough is similar to the first one I made from this book, with some whole wheat and rye flour substituted for part of the all-purpose (2.5 ounces each of whole wheat and rye; 27 ounces AP flour).  I went with white whole wheat flour, since that's what I had on hand.  I used an extra two ounces of water (26 ounces total), as I did with the master boule recipe, since I use King Arthur all-purpose flour.  I cut the yeast and kosher salt back to 4 teaspooons each.    (The basic recipe and method can be found here.)

The first loaf I baked from this batch was the simple boule shape.   With the later loaves, I tried my hand at baguettes.  I need to work on my shaping skills!  A boule is pretty easy with this rather wet dough.  I have a harder time making other shapes without handling the dough too much.  I did find some great tips here, with pictures that help a lot.  I got one baguette that turned out pretty good!  

Even though the recipe says it makes 4 1-pound loaves, I found that I was able to make three, but then there wasn't quite enough dough left for a fourth.  So I made a second batch of dough and added the remaining old dough to it, figuring it would add flavor.  I've made three loaves from that and have enough left in the fridge for one more.

The verdict?  We all really liked this one!  The whole grains give some interesting flavor to the bread.  Brianna happily ate it in her lunch all week.  And it makes great toast.  The loaves made with the old dough did develop more interesting flavors, but didn't turn out quite the way I'd hoped--kind of dense.  I'm still working on the shaping issues; I think my dense baguettes were handled too much.  And I've learned that while you can get away with a minimal rising time with this dough, the bread is much better if you let it rise longer after shaping.  I found some great tips here on how to deal with the dense crumb.  On the whole, I'm having a lot of fun experimenting!  

And I'm submitting this European Peasant Bread to Yeastspotting.  

Next up:  Challah


  1. Oh, Di, I am so impressed with your bread(s)! I'm just taking my first steps with yeast, so this all seems so ambitious to me, but I'm inspired by your work. I've got a million flours on hand these days too, and find that rye is fun to work with.

  2. I love your dough container, jealous! I'm going to be doing a virtual sourdough project with a good friend in LA starting on the 19th, I've tried once before, to no avail, but I'm looking forward to giving it another go. Any tips?

  3. I am so happy that a whole wheat and rye loaf worked for you.
    For some reason I had heard that the Art-in-5 techniques only worked well for white flour.
    I will try some other grains myself soon, thanks!
    I received 2 8 quart buckets, which was good at the first batch rose to 6 quarts in my kitchen!

  4. I love home-baked bread. It's absolutely delicious. yum yum yum. And it's easier than people think.

    I can't wait to see your challah. Save some for French Toast. It's the bomb!

  5. Wow! You are the bread queen! Looks wonderful. Can't wait to see you Challah!

  6. Got this same bread book for my birthday last year and also love it! Something about having a constant batch of dough festering in the back of the fridge makes me oddly happy. Try substituting garbanzo flour for the rye in the European Peasant Bread -- it's yummy too (Nimue's favorite).

  7. I love the Artisan bread in 5! I usually do the master but sub 2 c white ww for some of the ap. We generally do the boules, I've not tried any of the shaping you've done, but we've also used it for pizza. I read (on Zoe's blog) that their new book coming out next fall or so will be featuring more multi-grain recipes. Fun!

  8. Those are lovely loaves! Thanks so much for sending them to YeastSpotting.

  9. These are beautiful loaves for a beginning bread baker. My compliments.

  10. Your breads look great!

  11. Oh your bread, they all look superb.