I’ve been baking bread lately. Not just any bread, but fancy bread. Chewy crusts. Airy, holey insides. Or is that holy? Honey Whole Wheat, using honey produced by our own bees. A No Knead recipe that’s so easy a four-year-old can make it. I haven’t tested the four-year-old, but, as you can see, that’s how it’s promoted, and they’re right—it is easy.
If you have a cast iron Dutch oven with lid, this recipe is perfect. If not, improvise. Until I was given a gorgeous Le Creuset covered baking dish for my birthday, I used to use an old frying pan with a lid. The handles were Bakelite, so I had to remove them each time I made bread. Now I feel like a pro.
I love the whole process: watching the fermentation happen right in my kitchen, kneading, shaping, waiting and hoping. And then into the oven it goes. I can tell it will be good by the smell. The whole house fills with the comforting aroma of the one food I can’t live without.
I picked up a copy of Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer at the Library and now I’m truly inspired. Right now, I have the poolish fermenting for Corn Bread. Poolish? You don’t know that term? Neither did I and it wasn’t in my dictionary. However, I persevered so you won’t have to. It’s a Pre-Fermentation. A combination of flour, yeast and water, it’s mixed and left to ferment for about two hours or more, before the rest of the ingredients are added.
Curious? Here’s the recipe, just for you. If you try it, let me know and we can compare notes. This one doesn’t even need a covered baking dish.
I’ve also just ordered The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.
This is what happens when the writing slows down. You end up choosing a hobby that produces results in just one day. It also makes the house smell wonderful. Not sure how long I can maintain my Camino weight with this hobby.