Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Experimenting with Crusty Bread

I know there are a gazillion versions of this online, but this is the one (actually two) that happened to catch my eye - the recipe I used (reference below) had a bit more yeast and salt and used lukewarm water. Not sure that any of those are a deal breaker.  I made it simple this time but after giving this a try, I cannot wait to make all sorts of varieties of this.  Love the idea of fresh dill and havarti cheese,  gorgonzola and rosemary, roasted garlic and just about anything (!) - and the list goes on - even cinnamon and raisins.

The recipe I used was from Chef In Training.  But there is an old one, very similar, with a great video that they just added last week and this is what inspired me to jump on the bandwagon!  Check out this video at Simply So Good - and there is even a separate section with tons of ideas for add ins!

It literally took less than 10 minutes to put together and I needed no fancy tools - just a bowl and a spoon. This is a recipe that will convince you that ANYONE can make fresh bread - yes anyone.  I admit to not being a novice to homemade bread and alternate between the bread machine (clearly cheating) and the old fashioned kneading that makes me feel so empowered when the end result looks like a real loaf of bread!
This gives you all of the comfort of making your own bread and takes away all of the obstacles. I don't think you can go wrong if you follow the directions.

My trusty ceramic clay pot - love it. Great for this kind of baking

The bread dough after 17 hours..... nice and bubbly

After a very quick knead (really just a few light flips in flour)

Ready for the oven -the parchment makes it easy to place inside and take out

 I let this loaf go about 17 hours and I think I could easily have baked it at 15 or less as the kitchen was warm, but it is a very forgiving loaf!

Used a bit too much flour, but heavenly regardless

I am not quite sure why my loaf is sporting a mohawk, but it just made me chuckle when I took it out of the oven.  Leave it to me to make bread that makes a statement!

I can hardly wait to try more flavor combinations!  This may be a series of bread posts - or at least photos. And I plan on taking a few baking classes from Craftsy to try new bread baking techniques.  I look forward to learning and sharing!

It IS as good as it looks

And even better with butter!

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