18 May 2016

bread bread bread bread.

I mentioned a few months ago that I hoped to work on my bread-making after becoming inspired by the Air chapter of Netflix's COOKED (highly recommended, go watch it!!).  Here is an update.

I stuck with four recipes, which I'd like to cover one-by-one:

Ina Garten's Honey White Bread  - cookbook  recipe and video
Jim Lahey's No Work Bread  - cookbook  recipe and video
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François's Bread in 5  - cookbook  recipe  video (recipe is slightly different, but method is the same)
Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread  - cookbook  recipe  video

(none of these links are affiliate links.)

The first three recipes can be found in the books pictured above, and the fourth in Tartine Bread, not pictured.  I've also included links through which to access the recipes online, however I strongly recommend reading the recipe passages in the cookbooks themselves.  They provide additional commentary and insight that is extremely helpful and informative to that particular recipe's bread-making process.  It is also sometimes helpful to see someone carry out the recipe first, so I've provided links to videos that might be helpful as well.

Ina Garten's Honey White Bread

I think this is the bread recipe whose method is most similar to the one our moms used when we were little.  There's kneading and loaf pans involved - it's all very familiar.  I accidentally fell into the goal of making all of the bread we eat this month, and this is the one I have turned to every week or so.  It's your every day sandwich bread, and in our house it's most commonly used for grilled cheese and french toast.  This bread is simple, delicious and goes from ingredients to in your mouth in about three hours, which is the best turnaround time anyone can ask for.

Jim Lahey's No Work Bread

This is a great starter recipe for people wanting that artisan-like bread.  It does require a little planning ahead: from ingredients to in your mouth takes a little less than 24 hours.  But it's worth it, if not just for the beautiful crackling you'll hear from the bread when you remove it from the oven and let it rest.  Some people might read the "no work" or "no knead" label and think of it as an annoying step that has magically been taken out of the process.  I prefer to think of it as "DO NOT WORK" or "DO NOT KNEAD."  Not only is it not necessary, but it would result in a poor loaf of bread.  This is the case for these last three breads: keep the air/gas inside the bread!

Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Sometimes I can tell that I might want some bread in the next couple of days or so and have a little bit of time in that moment to prep for that future hankering.  This is the best recipe for that scenario.  The dough really does only take five minutes to make, and then you toss it into the refrigerator for the next two weeks.  You can make bread from this dough at any time during those two weeks.  I like this bread because it helps me practice my bread loaf slashing, which is somehow really hard to learn to do!  The master recipe of this method can be used for multiple types of breads - boules, baguettes, peasant loaves, etc.  The groundbreaking moment I had with this bread recipe is when I discovered a variation in the book which teaches you how to bake your bread in a slow cooker.  The resulting loaf obviously isn't as desirable as the one made in the oven, but for the 115 degree days this summer when I want homemade bread but don't want to turn on the oven, being able to use a slow cooker is basically a miracle.  This recipe is my go-to for an every day boule.  Perfect for our family's dinner, and on baking day it's ready in just over an hour.

Tartine Bread

This is like, the mother of all breads, no?  There are all kinds of sourdough starter recipes out there to choose from, but when you actually get down to the bread making, I like Tartine's method the best.  It's high maintenance compared to the other breads, but it's also rewarding.  I even made a video of me forming a loaf using the Tartine method!  I'm soooo hip you guys.

A video posted by kristin (@krstnhd) on

Okay, but here's where I get real with you: I've completed this recipe twice, and neither times were the loaves even close to being perfect.  I mean, they were edible.  But just barely.  Not to mention, I had a hell of a time with the sourdough starter process.  I killed so many starters, and the first attempt nearly killed me with its vomitous smell (I traced the problem to our tap water... is it poisonous?!).  I'm taking a bread on the sourdough baking for now - I think I need time to recuperate and scribble together all of the notes and observations I made during the experiments.  Then when I've built up my courage and gumption again I'll get back at it.

So that's the bread story around here!  It has been a fun couple of months, and I'm going to try to keep things going even through the summer.  A/C don't fail us please!

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