Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Bread Bible: Basic Hearth Bread

Basic Hearth BreadAnother bread for the group baking through Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. This post is more timely--I had the last slices of the loaf for breakfast this morning.

The Basic Hearth Bread can be done either as a round loaf baked on a stone, or in a loaf pan. I went with the loaf pan for the versatility of the shape. The bread is fundamentally a rustic white bread, with 1/4 cup of whole-wheat flour in the starter. That bit of whole-wheat flour gives a good bit of character for the small amount used. I wish I had scheduled in enough time for an overnight ferment for the sponge, but I had to work it straight through the initial ferment, mixing, 2 rises, shaping the loaf, another rise, then baking.

Some comments and notes:

--I got suckered in by the paragraph heading for step 2 (not the first time these have caught me) and mixed in the salt with my flour and yeast. (It says "Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture and add to the sponge." Just above that is the list of ingredients labelled "Flour Mixture", which is flour, yeast, and salt. Down in step 3 you discover that the salt should be added after the first ferment and the mixing of the dough. ) As I stirred the yeast in first to prevent salt-yeast contact, I don't think I inhibited the rise by much, if at all.

--My dough was a bit dry, cleaning the bowl with no sticking early on, so I sprayed it with water frequently as the mixer kneaded away. I still wouldn't have called the results sticky, but did git a bit of 'cling' to my fingers. That's unusual--I'm in humid Georgia, it was a rainy weekend, and I measured the water by weight and got something over the volume measure of 1-1/3 c. Not really a problem as I'm comfortable adjusting a basic bread dough to the level of moisture called for, but it's not my usual results with Rose's recipes.

--The last note is to remind myself to not use that larger bread pan--it measures 9-1/4 x 4-1/4" on the bottom but slants a bit, and basically most 'regular' bread recipes are too small for it. I need to work out how much flour makes the right-sized loaf for that pan...this recipe gave a squatter loaf that I would have liked.

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  1. Looking at this loaf really make me want to make it again. You got great oven spring and crumb. That's a good tip to spray the dough in the mixture if it's too dry. I made it round because my loaf pan is bigger and I was unsure about the sizing and how that affects bread.

  2. I like how you made your bread into a loaf instead of a round. The crumbs look fabulous!

  3. Looks like a great loaf - the colour of the top is lovely. I need to bake my breads a bit longer I think. I've been almost caught out/confused by those headings too.