Country Bread for a City Girl
Last week, I baked some bread. I used my sourdough starter and the recipe for Rustic Bread from the La Brea Bakery book. When I started making this bread, I really had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew at the time was that it met my three requirements for making bread that day:
1. It used up all the starter I might have otherwise thrown away when I fed the monster.
2. I had all the ingredients.
3. It could be out of the oven and done in about 6 hours.
So, I mixed up the bread, let it proof, and then shaped it. This is when I started to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew.
They were kinda big. I mean, I should have known when the recipe called for half a bag of flour that the loaves would be big, but I guess it didn’t really register. Before their final proofing, these loaves were about 9 by 11 by 1.5 inches high. When they went into the oven, they had just about filled up the half sheet pans that held them. Here’s the first one when it came out of the oven.
These were the biggest loaves of bread I have ever baked and maybe even seen. Do you need some scale? It is hard to tell how big the bread is from the photo above. Here’s the second loaf, which was bigger than the first.
And yes, it was good. We cut it open while it was still a little warm and enjoyed it with some soup. It was crusty on the outside, but light, moist, and springy on the inside. It kind of reminded us of ciabatta with all those big holes.
It made great sandwiches with mortadella, manchego, lettuce, and spicy mayo. We ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for several days, and by the end of the week, I still had half a loaf left!-though it was quite stale by then. For a few moments, I thought that I had met a bread that we could not finish, but then it was time for Sunday brunch.
French toast really gives stale bread a new life. I am especially pleased with how all the sausages and french toast fit on my griddle. I know, I’m weird. Anyway, the country/rustic bread lives on, but not for long. The city mice in this house will make an end of it soon.