Monday, February 25, 2008
Bake it like a Polaroid picture, sugar
Julia, Julia, Julia.
Your recipe for French Bread managed to make even me look good!
As my first post for the Daring Bakers, I was scared to death when I learned the recipe. I would have to KNEAD? Twice? I would have to rely on humidity and warmth to make sure my bread rose? (My apartment is usually freezing).
Although it took an entire day to make the bread and I gained a new burn on my arm, the bread was delish. I might say that the frozen, reheated bread was even crispier on the outside and moist on the inside.
Boules were my choice, as those are my favorite at the local market. I had fun shaping the bread, and it was a lesson in patience to wit for the bread to rise and rise again. Watching the round ball shape into a neat, firm top and seeing the end result was a fun experiment.
My only complaint was that there were many extra things to buy (and as a grad student they weren't in my blog budget). I made a few exceptions that were adaptable--no quarry tiles or pizza stones for me (but Julia was all about ingenuity, right?). I took a cue from the no knead bread and used my cast iron as a preheated stone... it worked quite well. I didn't have a spritzer, (well, I did, but it has housed bleach). As a result, every once in a while I would open the door and flick water on the loaves with my hands. I tried slicing the top of the ready-to-bake bread with a knife as I didn't have a razor on hand, but it didn't work. Don't do that!
I added fresh herbs (rosemary & thyme) plus a little salt and pepper to one boule.
This is totally worth trying at least once, though I guarantee that I will be spending my time on no-knead from now on.