Sunday, September 9, 2012

#10: Learn How to bake bread.

Ok, I am totally going to say this. I can bake bread, but I have not Mastered bread baking.  But I still think I got this one done (and since I'm scarce on having list items done this year, I'm taking it as a win)

If you have been around any sort of cooking/baking blogs in the past few years, I'm sure you know this recipe.  It's made the rounds- mostly a few years ago, and I think I made it back then, but wasn't 100% impressed.  It's Jim Lahey's no knead bread. 

But I have been having a hankering for bread lately, and the minute it cooled down a little (and I had a couple of days off)  the concept is pretty simple; a small amount of yeast, and a long proofing period develops the bread with some awesome flavors. You mix together flour, yeast, salt, and warm water, stir, and let it sit on your counter for 12 hours.  Then you punch it down a little, form it into a ball, and let it rise for 2 more hours, at which point you bake it in a preheated cast iron pot.  And ta-da! Bread!

This bread is awesome. It's crusty, and chewy on the inside, and if you put a little butter on it- MAN, it is good.   I made the regular recipe, and then for the next one, I chopped up some kalamata olives and put them in.   This is what it looked like:

isn't that sexy?

Then, for breakfast this morning, I took the remaining regular bread, tore it up, put it in a casserole dish with custard base made with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, dotted it with butter, and then shook a little cinnamon sugar on top.  I don't have a picture, because it was devoured so quickly- but it was so good. the insides were eggy and warm, and the top was crisp with the toasted bread pieces, and the cinnamon sugar made the outside crust crackle a little.  Having made it once, I can't stop thinking about it, and what changes/improvements I can make. (next time I'm going to sprinkle the top with maple sugar, I think)

But I'm back in the saddle again, and I can't start to bake more of this bread, especially because it is so easy.  It is totally worth the burns I got mishandling my cast iron pot.


  1. Val, all I'm saying is that if you need guinea pigs for bread recipes, you know where to find me. -