Bread will never cease to amaze me. The most basic variety is just four ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, water), and together they create something that exists in almost all cultures and is unbelievably tasty. Over the weekend I dove head first into Jim Lahey‘s amazing book My Bread. I was really excited to make the PB&J bread (which I did, and which will be covered in a subsequent post), but he recommending trying a loaf of the most basic bread first. I trust him and don’t trust my own ability to have a civilized conversation with yeast, so I followed his advice. The recipe is, completely seriously, idiot-proof. I don’t know how he figured it out, but Jim has discovered a completely foolproof bread-baking method. The image above is of my loaf right after I took it out of the oven when it was “singing.” Loaves will often make little crackling and wheezing noises when you take them out as steam starts escaping through the crust. In his book, Jim waxes poetic about singing bread and I have to say he’s right. It’s a beautiful sound. The picture below is my bread after I sliced it open. A few pictures of my dough in various stages after the jump!
My dough after the first fermentation. I was highly alarmed by that huge, bulbous bubble, but I guess it was okay because the bread turned out perfectly anyway.
My shaped bread getting ready for its second fermentation.
Needless to say, Jim has me hooked on baking bread.