The last time I wrote about bread, I was thrilled with my ability to reliably turn out a decent loaf. Would it surprise you that I almost didn’t hit “publish?” There was a small, but vocal part of me that worried if I would somehow jinx myself (even though I am aware that this is logically impossible) by seeming too successful at the whole venture. True to my own illogical worries, I have since been plagued by a number of mediocre, shrinking, and otherwise not quite right loaves of bread.
Rather than throw my hands in the air and give up I decided to keep on baking (and failing) because even if I knew that they weren’t right, they were still tasty and not a single member of my family paid my failures any mind. If it looks like bread and smells like bread, in their minds that’s good enough for lunch. Mostly, I did a lot of reading, a little bit of troubleshooting, and watched a few more videos from my Craftsy class, “Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Baking.” It’s a lovely class – the perfect mix of the why and the how of bread baking. I’ve already learned quite a bit and I’ve been working on this whole bread thing since 2009.
Isn’t it pretty? I’ve been mostly making enriched loaves lately, but there’s something quite wonderful about a nice lean dough – just flour, water, yeast, and salt. I love the techniques used in the class. They’re somewhere in the middle between “Artisan Bread Everyday” and your standard cookbook bread recipe. Tonight it was all about catching the bread on the rise and trying not to squish too much of the air out of the bread when shaping the final loaf.
Oh, and yes, dearest loved one, your loaf is coming.