As much as I want to continue my attempts at perfecting French macarons, sheer economics dictates otherwise. In my last attempt, I had come to the conclusion that my food processor simply can’t grind the almonds finely enough and that using purchased almond meal would be necessary. However, at $11.65 per pound almond meal is rather pricey – much more so than the 25 pound bag of bread flour we recently purchased for under $7.00. So. Macarons on the back burner; bread on the front.
Yesterday I decided to try a new sourdough bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. (I’m still using the starter from the Tea & Cookies sourdough challenge.) After I printed the recipe for Rustic Sourdough Bread, I realized it was scarcely different from the Extra-Tangy Sourdough recipe I’ve been using. Still, I wanted to bake bread yesterday and the Extra-Tangy requires overnight fermentation. But then I had the idea to make both recipes and compare them. The overnight fermentation of the Extra-Tangy is one of the differences between these recipes, another is that the Rustic Sourdough has added yeast. I was curious as to how the yeast would make the final loaves different. The mixing methods are slightly different also, but since I don’t follow the instructions very well anyway that wasn’t much of a consideration.
The dough for the Rustic Sourdough was simple to make (dump all the ingredients together, mix, and knead) and was quite lovely in texture: smooth, supple and very easy to handle. It’s what my baking instructor would have called a “sexy dough”. At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant by that. I get it now. That’s pretty much where my infatuation with the dough itself ends though. The addition of the yeast apparently meant that so much as looking at the dough the wrong way caused it to deflate. I still ended up with two nice loaves of bread. The crust was crispy and the interior was chewy, yet tender, with a coarse crumb. But it didn’t particularly taste like sourdough. Good bread, just not good sourdough bread.
|The boule on the left was baked in the cast iron skillet; |
the one on the right on the baking stone.
Ordinarily, I bake my loaves on pre-heated baking stones, but this time I decided to try baking one of the loaves in a pre-heated cast iron skillet. The loaf baked in the skillet browned more significantly on the bottom than the one baked on the stone. And made it very difficult to peel the parchment off the bottom of the bread. I believe I’ll stick to the baking stones.