Summer Baking

I love making bread. If I were an independently wealthy woman, I would spend all day doing it. But my funds are limited and my free time scarce. So if I’m going to go to the trouble of mixing and kneading the dough, allowing it to hang out on the counter or in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours and then letting it rise and rise again, the bread better damn well be delicious. Because lord knows there are 501 million delicious ready-to-eat loaves just waiting to be purchased. In fact, my local co-op sells a fantastic unsliced multigrain sourdough for $4.50.

My birthday yielded two of Peter Reinhart’s books: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads. Reinhart is a bread guru and his books (according to one of my friends) have the ability to change lives. Needless to say, I was excited. Last week I threw together some ciabatta and today I finished off two loaves of multigrain struan.

The ciabatta (pictured above) was unquestionably a success. It turned out airy, chewy and delicious–just as it’s supposed to be.

The struan looked delicious, but the taste definitely leaves something to be desired. These particular loaves contain brown rice, quinoa, bran, flaxseed and lots and lots of whole-wheat flour. Healthy? Yes. Delicious? Not so much.

I thought the point of Whole Grain Breads was to teach techniques that make whole grain breads taste not so much like whole wheat but rather like scrumptious balls of deliciousness. Yet the struan is decidedly dense and wheat-y. And it took two days and four bowls to make.

Perhaps the struan is just not my cup of tea. Perhaps I added too much bran. Perhaps I didn’t let the loaves rise long enough. Or perhaps even a bread guru can’t make four grains and several cups of whole-wheat flour taste like ciabatta. Still, I’m not ready to give up on Whole Grain Breads quite yet. Anyone up for some whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread?

1 Comment

Filed under baking, bread

One response to “Summer Baking

  1. Okay, so I just realized that you have a blog! And also, I've been too afraid to make the chiabatta (or any of the loaf breads) from Bread Baker's Apprentice. The bagels and sticky buns, however, are divine…

    You have inspired me to pull it out again and try something new.

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