Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A bit about baking

For ages, my excuse has always been "I don't bake" when it comes to desserts. But not long ago, I realized that maybe I do! I like to bake bread. Bread is really an inexact science, which is why I think I am more successful at it than, say, pie crust. I have tried, to the delight of my husband and child, many recipes and methods. Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads is a great resource. Chowhound's Home Cooking Board has led me to the infamous No Knead Bread, and the new 5 minute Artisan Bread. Cook's Illustrated has even stepped on the no knead bandwagon and has come up with their own version which adds beer & vinegar to the mix. I tried that one twice and was sort of "meh" about it. The simple crusty "5 minutes" bread really does give great results, and being able to keep dough for 4 loaves of it is really awesome - I have some hanging out right now ready to be baked tomorrow! I substituted 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (not to be healthy or anything, I just happened to have it) and it resulted in a hearty, flavorful loaf.

I must say that there is some satisfaction to having freshly baked loaves around like the ones you see right above my profile. I can't for the life of me remember which method I used for those unfortunately. They might have been from Alton's show, but I am pretty sure they were just pain ordinaire from the Clayton book mentioned above.

Do yourself a favor, give home made bread a try!

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