Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Baked beauty

While no baking expert, I don't have too much trouble baking fruit breads, cookies, the occasional cake or pie. But what has eluded me all of these years is a good stab at bread. Not pumpkin bread or banana nut bread or anything like that, but just good, plain bread. White, sourdough, wheat, even rolls. When I'd make them, they'd come out heavy and leaden. I don't know if I didn't knead them long enough, or if I was too impatient to let them rise properly, or what, but I always end up with a much denser, chewier bread than what I hoped for.

One of the goals on my 101 list was to learn how to make a good loaf of bread. Last weekend, I think I made a pretty good start of it. The recipe I chose was a standard brioche recipe from Barefoot in Paris. I chose this recipe because not only is brioche a wonderful, eggy, buttery, light bread, but also because I trust Ina Garten not to steer me wrong.

I mixed all the ingredients together on Saturday morning and let the bread rise in the fridge overnight. Then I rolled the dough out and put it into two loaf pans Sunday morning, before letting it rise a second time and baking it for about 45 minutes.

And it came out gooooooood. See that pic? That is but one of the two glorious loaves I baked. I put a nice egg wash over the top before popping it in the oven, so it has a wonderfully brown, shiny crust. I'm feeling pretty good about it, yes indeedy. And the bread is delicious simply toasted with a bit of butter and jam spread on it. I also have dreams about making French toast with it on Saturday morning (if any is left).

In fact, I'm feeling so drunk with ability that I migh try a different recipe later this month. If you have a good standard bread recipe, please share!

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