Monday, February 14, 2011
Don't judge a book by it's cover.
Not just another pretty face....
Yes, these are some of the cliche's that come to mind when I see this particular loaf of bread.
Not everything comes out the way you plan. Sometimes things beyond your imagination occur. I like to think of them as food bloopers. Some are disastrous. Not even edible (those are the worst).
Some are just ugly. But the flavor isn't affected. That happens to be the case with this loaf of bread.
Yes, I know. Other than the instant read thermometer hole, this appears to be a lovely loaf of bread. But I guarantee that if it were in the window of a bakery. It would not sell. Based on looks alone. But first...let me give you the recipe. Tell you how it's made. And hopefully when you make it yourself, you're results will be a whole heck of a lot prettier than mine.
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
6 1/2 cups a.p. flour
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
In a large container, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water and buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Do not knead.
Did I mention that this is a no-knead bread?
Cover the container loosely, and allow to rest on the counter for about 2 hours. If you go over 2 hours...don't worry. It's not going to ruin anything.
Place in the fridge for a bit. Over night would be good. Up to 7 days is fine. The dough is easier to handle once it's been chilled.
Lightly dust the top of the dough and grab a big handful, about 1 pound, and shape it into a nice tight ball by rotating the dough in your hands and 'pulling' the dough down and under. This should only take a few seconds.
Dust a pizza peel with corn meal or flour, or use a sheet of parchment paper and set the ball of dough on it and let it rise, covered loosely with a piece of plastic wrap.
The rise time is dependent upon the temperature of the surroundings. The book says 1 hour and 40 minutes. But if it's a bit on the cool side in your kitchen, it may take a bit longer. What I try to do is test the dough. I poke it with two fingers. If it springs back instantly...I know it's not done resting. The yeast hasn't completed its job. If the indent stays and bounces back very slowly....it's a good guess that it's ready to bake.
After about an hour or so of rising time....preheat the oven to 350' F for about 30 minutes if you're using a baking stone. If you're going to bake the bread on a cookie sheet (with the parchment paper), it only needs to preheat for about 10 minutes.
Once the dough is done rising, dust the surface with a bit of flour and slice it about 1/4 deep a couple of times. Bake for 45 minutes or until the inside temperature reads about 205' F (that's where the instant read thermometer comes in handy). If you're using parchment paper, remove the paper after about 15 - 20 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.
I knoooooow. It smells so good! You just want a nice warm slice with melting butter on it. But trust me. YOU HAVE TO WAIT!!
Why? (I could soooo be mom right now and just say "because I said so") The reason is....the needs to cool so that it won't be (for lack of a better word) doughy inside. You want a nice dry crumb, right?
Ok...so I did all this. As usual. But I might not have allowed my dough to fully rise. I'm not sure. Maybe there was a time issue on my part and I got impatient (bad girl). But let me know how it went....
It looks beautiful from this view, don't you think?
Then you rotate the bread 45' and you see this.....
What???? Good lord....
So you turn it around another 45' to get a full view of what's going on.....(if you are not into horror of any sort, you may want to close your eyes)
OMG!! It's giving BIRTH!!!! To a whooole nother loaf of bread!!!
WHAT have I created? I feel like Dr. Frankenstein! "It's ALIVE!!!"
But being the true foodie that I am....I had to slice it. Taste it....get an grasp the full experience of this...this....creature...
And it was GOOD! Even though the exterior was not for the faint of heart....the essence spoke for itself. A delicious loaf of homemade bread totally worth eating.
And now....If I may....I have a favor to ask for you. Now that I've bared my soul and (near failure)...If you could take a moment of your time and vote.
I have entered the Pom Wonderful Cupcake Contest with a delightful little cupcake that I've named Pom-Berry Kiss that looks like this...
It's a Pomegranate Raspberry cupcake with a milk chocolate flavored icing. Talk about moist! You can also find the recipe when you vote :). (please disregard the christmas cupcake liner...it was all I had and time was of the essence with no time to run to the store just for liners).
There's a badge at the top of my blog that will also lead you to the voting area.