Monday, April 20, 2009

Bread From Heaven!

Haha! I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be sacrilegious, it's just that after some bread-making disappointments I finally managed to produce a loaf of the most amazing, tall, browned and crusty delicious bread! Yes, I know I am a genius, thank you, thank you, you're too kind.

Seriously though, this is a real breakthrough for me. My first non-machine loaf of bread (supposed to be rye) turned out to be a small, hard (inedible) rock. That was last year. When I finally got the courage to try again last week I was able to at least produce something edible (and indeed tasty), even if it was rather too dense, heavy, and slightly doughy in the middle. I even went all out and made half the batch into pizza buns with a bunch of yummy toppings. It wasn't anything like bakery bread though. Any bakery with the audacity to sell such products would be out of business in a week. So, I tried again. Unfortunately I didn't have any bread flour, and the only thing our local grocery stores carry is bleached bread flour, which I didn't want to use.















Going out on a limb (I know they call it bread flour for a reason - you need the gluten!) I determined to try a single loaf with unbleached all purpose flour and oat flour. Since it wouldn't have very much gluten I kneaded it vigorously until I was tired, and let it rise until it had way surpassed the height of the loaf pan. I also put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven during the second rise and during baking to help the crust form. And what do you know, it turned out great! Not sweet, like the last loaf, but delicately flavoured like the best bakery bread, light and fluffy inside, and crusty to perfection. Once again I feel like the mistress of my domestic domain.

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