Sunday, January 16, 2022

Back to bread baking

Olive and walnut sourdough bread

I haven’t been making bread for nearly 18 months due to our having to move out of our apartment for four months while renovations were being done, and then our having bought a country home where we spend weekends. I have missed the thrill of home bread-baking so decided to resume, finding a new schedule that avoids weekend preparation.

I bought a lovely new book called Upper Crust: Homemade Bread the French Way, by Marie-Laure Fréchet, and thought this might offer some new opportunities; after all -- France and bread. Maybe it’s me, but my first two tries at a “tourte de meule,” a pretty basic white whole wheat sourdough, were abject failures. Lead weights, useful as a stone for olympic curling , but not fit to eat.

Pretty, but inedible tourte de meule

So I returned to my tried and true sourdough walnut and olive bread for which a use a hybrid of ????‘S levain method, as described in Chad Robertson’s brilliant Tartine Bread, and the sourdough method published by King Arthur Flour Company. Wow, nailed it the first time!

And when I sliced it several hours later, it did not disappoint: salty with a nice texture and an unctuous mouth feel.

I haven't given up on the French method book yet, but I'll try to combine the author's ideas with techniques that I know work for me.

Bobby Jay

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