Thursday, February 9, 2012

Waiting for the payoff

Is there anything better than the aroma of bread baking in an oven? I think not. True to my word, I made my first batch of dough from, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, on Saturday. I didn't bake it right away, choosing instead to let flavor develop overnight. I baked the first loaf on Sunday, and while it wasn't bad, I thought it was rather pedestrian. Meh. And small. I had baked it on a cookie sheet because the pizza stone I bought was about a half inch too wide for my oven. Oh, it was crusty alright, but it was too dense and salty. Not what I expected at all and I couldn't figure out what all the commotion was about using wet doughs. In a word, I was disappointed and so tempted to throw out that big bowl of dough taking up space in my fridge.

Instead, I gave myself a little lecture that I always gave new ICU nurses I mentored and trained: Yes, you are a good nurse and you're really smart, but you cannot expect to be an expert in the ICU until you have plenty of experience under your belt and this takes time. What in the world made me think I could be an artisan bread baker my first time out? I absolutely was not going to throw in my bread baking tea towel after my first foray.

Last night, about 2 hours before my shift ended, I opened the fridge for a snack and could swear I smelled beer. The smells in that fridge were intoxicating and my nose pinpointed the bowl of neglected dough as the source. The four day stint in the fridge had produced a rather mature product and I had a fleeting thought that this must be the reason people rave about this recipe.

Throwing caution to the wind and praying the phones would stay silent, I hacked off a 2 pound piece of the dough, fashioned a cloak around it, and set it on the peel to allow it to rest. Around 11:15 PM, I decided I was going to bake this loaf in my fancy ass new dutch oven as initially advised by Sue B in the comments on a past post (also, I haven't returned the ill fitting pizza stone to the store). Following online instructions, I set my stove to scorching hot allowing my dutch oven to come to temperature in the 500 degree heat. When I was certain I was done working for the night, I tossed the dough in the pan, placed the lid atop the pot and waited.

Leo waited, too. He parked his butt on the living room floor with his nose pointed toward the kitchen and over the next 45 minutes, periodically raised his head to sniff the air.

Sara--less patient and more verbal than Leo--asked me at least 3 times how long it would take until she could have warm bread smothered in butter and jam.

When the timer announced the right amount of time had elapsed, I opened the oven to see the most glorious loaf of bread I've ever produced. The loaf was crusty, beautiful and smoking hot. We let it cool precisely 2 minutes before we cut into it to find a light and airy crumb.

O.M.G!

I finally understand the fuss.

Sorry no photos. It's all gone. Maybe next time.

20 comments:

Silliyak said...

This post has ben deemed unnecessisarily cruel to the gluten intolerant. You HAVE BEEN WARNED! ;)

Silliyak said...

See? I can't even spell!

Rudee said...

I didn't even think of gluten intolerance. Sorry...Not!

The Bug said...

Poor Silliyak - I guess that WAS cruel.

I need to turn Mike onto the joys of bread baking (no I don't - we do NOT need another carb in our lives!). It sure sounds fabulous though...

sapphireblue said...

You'll get it worked out. I am not a breadmaking person.

Stephanie V said...

One word: Yum! Nothing like fresh bread. Any kind will do although this does sound especially tasty :)

Miss 376 said...

My boys love fresh bread, it never lasts long

colenic said...

The dutch oven trick sounds good...I had never heard that before...I might have to try it...I have found a love of fresh bread with this recipe..but agree you need to let it go a few days to develop

Brenda said...

I remember going on a field trip in elementary school to a large bread factory and talk about an aroma you will never forget....I LOVE BREAD..
Darn...wish I were not so overweight..

Gail said...

Leo's no dummy!!! I can smell it, too. Glad it worked out.

Mimi said...

Now who's a tease?
I'm salivating here, at 11.48 at night!
Son here bakes the most delicious yeast bread, light and very moreish. And it's true that you can't be an expert overnight, in breadmaking, ICU, or anything else! Experience counts for far more than it's given credit for.

Ruth said...

I love bread we used to have abread machine and used it all the time but with just kevin and myself and him away a lot i gave it away.
The smell of baking bread is fanastic.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

OMG I can smell that bread. Traveling down on the weather stream.
QMM

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh man, i want some!!!!

hugs, bee
xoxoxooxox

Cheryl said...

Sounds heavenly. There is nothing better than the smell of bread baking. I have not tried it in a dutch oven, but what a great idea. We use to have the bread makers everyone had, but I loved it, especially the smell. We got rid of it, but would love to explore making it again, now that I am home. Like I said, few things taste better.
Good for you for not giving up.
XXXXX

sue b said...

So glad you liked it! I love it with greek olives in the dough, but you really can't go wrong however you make it.

SkippyMom said...

I love, love, love homemade bread. Especially because I can make it how I want it.

Please, pics next time. :)

Anonymous said...

Just a tip from someone who has been there and done that..•If loaves are browning excessively, remove them from the oven and make an aluminum foil ‘tent’ to shield them, and then return them to the oven.

Rositta said...

I chuckled my way through your post knowing all along that you didn't bake it correctly. I make this bread a couple of times a week using an old covered roasting pan. I also heat it at 500 d for half hour and bake covered. Glad you figured it out, it's yummy bread... ciao

Jadekitty said...

I read this post aloud to my friend yesterday and then we promptly went to the library and checked out the 5 minute bread book:-)