Monday, May 19, 2008
I love baking bread. Everything from taking out your frustrations while kneading the dough to smelling the intoxicating smell of bread wafting from the oven is really exciting. However, all that work to make one loaf of bread, one loaf that often disappears in a mere day or two? Not so good. So, I decided to feed not one, but two big batches of sourdough starter and make not one, but three big loaves of bread last week!
I decided to make two loaves of sandwich bread. As you can see above, the silicone pan expanded a bit! The bread on the left is a combination of white bread flour, rye flour, and semolina flour, with cranberries and a maple sugar swirl, topped with poppy seeds. The bread on the right is a combination of white bread flour, spelt flour, and rye flour, with raisins and a cinnamon/date sugar swirl.
Here they are out of their pans and ready for the cooling rack. I was so happy with how they came out, especially because I improvised and didn't really follow a recipe.
You'll notice my swirl skills need a little bit of work! This bread still tasted great and made wonderful cinnamon toast.
Ok, you can barely even see the swirl in this loaf! But it's there, I promise!
The final bread was a free-form loaf, the same as the raisin bread above, but without the cinnamon swirl. I love the combination of dried fruit and sourdough bread because the resulting bread is flavorful, but not too sweet, and perfect for sweet or savory uses.
Here's an X-treme close-up of a raisin poking out of the bread. Baking multiple loaves of bread at one time is a great strategy. It doesn't take considerably more time or energy to make three instead of one, but you are left with a bigger payoff for that work. The great thing about sourdough is that it acts as a natural preservative, and so breads made with sourdough starter don't go stale as quickly. However, to keep them at optimum freshness (and to guarantee that we wouldn't finish them too quickly!) I sliced and froze half of each loaf. This makes for convenient toast at a moment's notice. It's also fun to experiment with ingredients and flavors. Next time you decide to make a loaf of bread, why not make two? Or more?