i happen to bake in the evening, cool overnight and consume in the morning. i took the picture of the 2 loaves on the left around 11pm at night. then the next morning, i shot a pic of the sliced loaf. now if only i could get natural light all the time!
when i decided to start baking bread again, i purchased a copy of peter reinhart’s the bread baker’s apprentice — winner of the james beard award. i have to say that the book has thoroughly deepened my knowledge of bread baking. reinhart is a bread master and explains the science behind the craft, like why a soaker is used, the different types of soaker, different types of yeast and substitution ratios. it used to be that whenever my bread didn’t turn out quite they way i anticipated, i blamed it on my oven. (surely if i had one of those fancy steam injection ovens, my bread would have been perfect, no?). according to reinhart, achieving good bread is 80% in the dough!
i selected anadama bread as the first bread i baked from his book. reinhart explains that its a classic new england bread with a funny back story. apparently in rockport, ma, there was a man who was mad with his wife not only for leaving him, but also for leaving behind only a pot of cornmeal mush. the husband then tossed the mush together with molasses and some other ingredients and ended up with some delicious tasting bread, all the whilst muttering “anna, damn’er!” the phrase was later amended to anadama.
the bread utilizes a cornmeal soaker that draws out more flavor from the grain. lacking molasses (once again), i substituted with maple syrup. the bread has a great rise, and elastic texture without being too dense, rough or sour tasting. c, hubs and i quite enjoyed it! in fact, i even gave c the 2nd loaf to take home since she seemed to like it so much!
(makes 2 9×5″ loaves; adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)
|Water||1 cup @ room temp|
|Bread Flour||4 ½ cups|
|Water||1 cup, lukewarm|
|Salt||1 ½ tsp|
|Butter||2 tbsp @ room temp|
- The day before make the soaker by mixing cornmeal and water in a small bowl. Cover with plastic and let sit at room temp overnight.
- The next day, mix together 2 cups of the flour, yeast, soaker and water in the bowl of your stand-mixer using the paddle attachment. Just mix until it comes together. Then remove the paddle attachment and cover with plastic. Let it ferment for 1 hour or until it begins to bubble.
- Finally add in the remaining ingredients. With the paddle attachment, mix until the ingredients form a ball.
- When the ball has formed, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium until the dough passes the windowpane test (about 8 minutes). The windowpane test is as follows: cut-off a small section of dough. Stretch and pull it. If the gluten has sufficiently developed, the dough should be able to hold a translucent membrane of dough.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic. Let it sit at room tempt for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.
- Lightly oil two 9×5″ loaf pans. Divide the dough into two pieces, and place into the pans.
- Proof in the pan for another 90 minutes or until the loaves crest over the top of the pans.
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with some water and place in the center of the oven.
- Baker for 40-50 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown.
- Remove immediately from pans to cool on a rack.