bread #24 Pain de Campagne

I am sorry in advance.  I have been procratinating typing up this post the whole week because there were so very many steps to this bread that I am afraid I didn’t feel like typing them up.  The good news is its from this book, written by Mr. Reinhart, aka the bread genious of our time (dubbed by me).

While I picked this one just particularly for a few recipes that needed a nice crusty loaf and it most certainly served its purpose, I believe I am at a turning point.  A point which I absolutely need a baking stone.  This bread would have been a million times better had I not just used a sheet tray.

Despite the crispy exterior and color and well general look of the loaf, it was quite satisfying in flavor.  It has a bit of rye flour which gives it a grainy hearty texture that I like.  It was also fun to make a loaf that requires so much time and effort.  It is all about the anticipation.

A ricotta and parsley pesto topped with mushrooms

Bread #4 apple walnut bâtard

A quick bread post before I have a follow-up of the babcia trip.  After a purchase of some not so tasty and sort of mealy apple,s we needed a way to use them up.  In the absence of dear mama friends, but in the presence of my dear mama a sweet bread was in order.  I browsed my cookbooks and settled on Amanda Hesser’s apple and walnut bâtard.  This bread was just enough sweet, just enough hardy and perfectly satisfying.  She claims to hold hatred for a wimpy bread and I can tell with one chomp on this loaf.

This was my first bread with a starter and quite frankly it turned out to be a tricky one for me.  I need the help of an expert I have decided.  So, with that, if there happens to be any experts or experienced bread makers reading, please lend me a helping hand!  I mixed the starter as instructed; proof 1/2 tsp. of yeast in 2 tbs. warm water.  Then I stirred in 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of all-purpose flour with a wooden spoon.  It seemed that all day long I had to stir it down for this mixture took on a life of its own.  Every hour or so it would begin to creep over the edge of my bowl.  I ignored this side effect and pressed on.

After 8-12 hours, Amanda instructs you to create her White dough recipe; 1/2 tsp. yeast mixed in 2 tbs. water.  Then stir in 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tbs. milk, and the starter.  It should be the consistency of house paint.  Add in 2 tbs. wheat germ, 1 tsp. coarse salt,  and gradually add 1-1 1/4 cups flour.  Knead.  Rise for 2 hours or so.

Toast up 1/4 cup walnuts.  Caramelize some peeled cored thinly sliced apples in a cast iron pan (about 6 tbs. sugar).  Roll out your dough until it is about a 1/2 inch thick oval.  Layer the walnuts and apples on top and roll long ways(hot dog style for you teachers) nice and tight. Let rise again until doubled then finally bake her in a 425 degree oven with a small pan of water inside.  She advises you to use a baking stone but I am without this piece of equipment so I used a heated baking sheet.  This worked out just fine for me.  In about 30 minutes you will be in baked goods heaven.

This is all the picture I have of this gorgeous loaf.  Sadly, another story for another day, but I lost my camera.  But, with that a new door has opened!  More to come….