Wednesday, February 09, 2011

More Adventures with Bread

A couple of weeks ago, I waxed rhapsodic about a small boule I baked using the techniques in Artisan Baking in Five Minutes a Day. The rest of that batch of dough became a small baguette to eat with another dinner. Immediately upon ridding the container of batch one, I mixed up batch two and plopped it in, ready for the next baking adventure. That turned out to be banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). Although my baguette was not "authentic" (made with rice flour, although I've read some comments online that strongly suggest not worrying about the rice component and just going with nice, crusty bread) it sure was pretty:
The second half of that batch became a pizza crust. Heeding the book's warning about the possibility of smoking cornmeal at 550F, I cooked the pizza at 475F. While the bottom didn't have any nice blackened spots (as my bread loaves do), the cornicione (crust) was nicely crisp/crunchy and a far cry better than that of your typical generic restaurant pizza.

No, the heart shape wasn't intentional. I always have issues making a round pizza. My hands activate the gluten in dough with the slightest touch so I'm usually wrestling with it. And lose.

A commenter on my initial bread post suggested that I try the book's brioche recipe, saying, "my hubs, who cooks professionally, had to grudgingly admit that the brioche was every bit as good as the recipe he uses which takes 3 days and a whole lot of Frenchified effort." Strong praise. I had to try it next. Here's my wee loaf rising...

...and here it is, cooling.

It. Was. Amazing. While it was baking, it perfumed the house with the most wonderful sweet aroma that lasted for hours and hours. It was a cold and nasty day, typical of the weather we've been having recently, and every time I came in from walking the dog, I was greeted by the sweet perfume of brioche.

The flavor was as good or better than any brioche I've had previously. Mine was richer and moister; Mr Minx compared it to pound cake. And I was happy to be able to share a large slab of it with my Dad, Mr Bread, later that evening.

I can't recommend Artisan Baking in Five Minutes a Day enough. I'm not a big fan of hyperbole, but I can almost say that the book changed my life. It certainly has changed my bread-eating ways for the better.


Kristine said...

OK, I'm getting this book next. Especially since I cannot find brioche anywhere. I happened to have some pizza dough in the fridge (Peter Reinhart recipe), and now I'm really hungry.

Tapiterii Auto said...

I guess I don’t have the words to tell you how incredible your brioche looks. I could almost smell it the way you described it. And that bread…hmm…not to forget the pizza and that unintentional heart shape was great. Thanks for the article.

Kevin said...

Thanks for the heads-up about the book. The Amazon reviews seem to match yours.

I have been making more home-made breads in the past year with varying degrees of success. I look forward to learning more and this book looks like it would be a big help!

MCWolfe said...

So happy you tried the brioche and enjoyed it. Your pictures look so delicious I may just have to run upstairs and mix up a batch.