Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Crusty White Peasant-style Pot Bread

Another bread report... And this baking experience convinces me that I do want to learn to bake bread from Nancy Baggett's book Kneadlessly Simple cookbook over Jim Lahey's, My Bread cookbook. I have both of the books. What is the difference between the two books? Baggett's book suggests a refrigerated rise of 3 to 10 hours for best flavor or for convenience. Because of the refrigerator rise, I do have more flexibility in the timing of making bread. The flexibility just seems to fit better with my schedule.I also like that she has a lot more breads in her cookbook.  But most of all I think that the breads from Baggett's book have more flavor. This may be a premature opinion because I have cooked only two breads from each book. The other bread that I cooked from her book was the Cheddar and chiles bread.

This loaf didn't get my full attention but it still turned out okay. The crust may have been a little too dense but then I didn't follow the timing on the recipe exactly either. I mixed up the dough at 10:00 AM on Tuesday and put it in the refrigerator. I planned to take it out about 4:00 PM, a six hour rise and she suggests a 3 to 10 hours rise. I forgot about the dough until 9:00 PM. Oops, now I have let it rise for 11 hours. I think it will be okay. Next rise is 18 to 24 hours but I wanted to get it in the oven for dinner at seven. Doubtful. But after 18 hours, (3:00 PM)  I fold it until almost deflated and left it to rise for 2 hours. I forget about it again so when I look at it at 3 hours later it looks to me like it has over-risen. I read her trouble shooting tips. She recommends to stir it down and let it rise another time. I did that and I was surprised at how fast this extra rise was. Now it is 7:00 PM when I finally get it in the oven. It is suppose to cook in the covered pot for 55 minutes and then for 15 to 20 minutes longer with the lid off. Poor bread! I forgot it again. It baked for another 30 minutes after I took the lid off after the initial 55 minutes.

Are you confused with all these times? Here is what it boils down to. I didn't follow the timing worth a damn and I still got a decent loaf of bread. Although the crust was a little dense the crumb was lovely and it was flavorful. I took most of the loaf out to my friend's rancho. She had invited me to see her lavendar farm and have lunch. There were no complaints about the bread.

I'm encouraged and I'm going to try some more recipes from Baggett's bread cookbook. Stay tuned.


1st Mate said...

Billie, sounds like you need to use a timer. I use mine for all kinds of reminding tasks now, as my built-in organic brain reminder becomes more unreliable.

I never heard of rising bread in the fridge! I thought it had to sit in a warm place. But I love the idea of baking bread in a pot.

Heather said...

Mmmmm! That does look fab. I may have to check out that cookbook. I could use a good bread cookbook.

Calypso said...

Yum that bread looks airy and delicious! I am a fan.

Nancy Baggett said...

Wow! I am thrilled to read that you are liking my breads so much! It's especially great to hear that you prefer the flavor of the Kneadlessly Simple breads. I think that's a result of using ice water and retarding the yeast--which also is easy and as you say adds flexibility. Happy Baking! Nancy Baggett

Billie said...

1st Mate, I do need a timer.

Heather, Get Kneadless Simple....I think you will find that it works with your hectic schedule with work and children.

Calypso, you should try it. I think you'll like the bread.

Nancy, thrilled that you found my blog. I'm new to cooking bread so this is an adventure. I'm going to keep trying your recipes....sort of a Julie cooking Julia Child's recipes. LOL So I might show up some more in your google links. Next up is the garlic parmesan bread and then I think the English muffin loaf. Hard to find English Muffins where I live in Mexico and I love them.