Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pain d'Epi

I have been anticipating this experiment from the moment I saw the cookbook: the beautiful Pain d'Epi (wheat stalk) bread! It uses the basic boule dough and I am assured by the authors that it is quite simple to make, with impressive results! Having devoured more than my share of the free form loaves of the boule recipe, I know the bread would be delicious as well. However, nothing about the look of the Pain d' Epi looks like it would be simple to create, so I was very intimidated.

After my first attempt to get this creation into the oven, I realized my sense of intimidation was totally justified--the dough started sliding as planned onto my hot bread stone and then, inexplicably, flipped itself over completely and I had to bake it upside down! Here is the result after 20 minutes:

I have to say that the bread is delicious--it was a struggle to get a photo before I took a bite (notice where I broke the end off on the left and had to set it back to pose!) If not for the odd configuration I would have no problem serving this bread to anyone who loves a good crusty French loaf.

HOWEVER.....my whole goal was to make a loaf of bread that none of my friends or family have ever seen the likes of ...to totally blow them away with my skill and aplomb.....so my next attempt is now in the oven, having had a much more uneventful trip onto the baking stone.

Okay -- here is the second loaf -- I must say it is less than beautiful; I guess I need to experiment with the angle of the blade when I snip the sections.

Somehow, it doesn't look much like the photo in the cookbook, but it is still AWESOMELY GOOD!! Live and learn. I still have one more ball of dough calling me from the refrigerator...

....1 hour later....

How embarrassing. I believe this 3rd attempt is closer to the first disaster (Pain d' Neck????) than the next try. It isn't a Wheat Stalk, it's just a lumpy baguette!

I hope I have the courage to try this again...someday....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whole Wheat

Ah, hello again....it has been a long time, many baking experiments undocumented!

I have just taken my first loaf of 100% whole wheat bread out of the oven, made in the No-Knead method from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". Here it is, uncut, since it is still hot:
I think it looks rather unimpressive, with a lumpy top as though it is a batter bread, and rather 'brick-like' ! It smells heavenly, though. Soon ( but not soon enough!) I will cut it and take a taste!
Okay, now here is the cooled bread, cut so that I can examine the crumb..

Hard to tell, although it looks to be cake-ey, less like bread than I'd like. Tasting.....Mmmmm.....
It tastes quite good, not bitter like some, nice nutty flavor. I think it will hold up in a sandwich but it may crumble--overall I think it is ok. I'm not sure what I was expecting.