I’ve now finished my second bread for the BBA Challenge (started over at PinchMy Salt – kudos for setting this up). This one called for a poolish – a French word for a pre-ferment supposedly so named because the French learned it from Polish people (according to Peter Reinhart). I had made the poolish on Sunday so I felt pretty pressured to make this bread last night after getting home from work as you’re only supposed to keep the poolish up to 3 days in the frig.
It’s actually a fairly easy bread once you get all the mise en place done. I really like that part. Gathering all the ingredients laying them out, measuring them, stirring things around. Must be some hold over from playing in sandboxes and making mud pies as a kid. I pretty quickly got the dough mixed together. I like to partially knead it with my mixer for a couple of minutes (literally) until it start climbing the dough hook. Then I turn it out on a board and luxuriate in kneading the silken dough for 5-6 minutes. This dough was a pleasure. It was a tiny bit sticky at first but with the addition of small amounts of flour on the board and hands it quickly became a soft, non-sticky texture. The smell of the spices was amazing.
After setting it in an oiled bowl to double I decided to go ahead and make a little bread for dinner using dough I’d made from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I recently purchased what turned out to be two great tools: a Magic Peel and La Cloche. I got them from the Breadtopia site (a wonderful bread baking resource). I shaped and benched this bread and set the La Cloche heating in the oven. Then I relaxed for a bit while the yeastie-beasties did their work.
After allowing the La Cloche to heat, I scooped up the little bread and easily dropped it into the hot La Cloche quickly putting the cover on to keep all the steam from the bread inside.
After 25 minutes I checked the internal temperature and it was done. The crust was a deep golden brown and wonderfully crunchy looking. Meanwhile, the Artos had doubled and I shaped it carefully (so as not to degas it too much) into a boule and placed it on a parchment-lined sheet.
I pulled together dinner for my hubby and I (fortunately I had leftovers and had thrown some rice into the rice maker). And, of course, we had some nice warm bread! I know you’re not supposed to cut the bread until it’s completely cooled but we were hungry and it was the only bread available. And, let’s face it, warm bread out of the oven is heaven no matter what the experts say.
By the time we were done with dinner the Artos had risen beautifully. It was HUGE. I don’t think I’ve ever made (or, possibly even seen) a loaf quite that big. You could almost hear a WHOOMP sound!
I pre-heated the oven and in it went. I went back to relaxing for 20 minutes until it was time to turn the loaf around (for even baking). Boy! What a surprise when I opened the oven. That loaf that I thought was huge when it went into the oven had now sprung to GARGANTUAN. I rotated the sheet and did a few chores while waiting for it to be done. After another 20 minutes the temperature was only 170 or so. I gave it another 8 minutes or so and it reached 195. I had prepared the glaze and it went on as soon as the bread was out of the oven.
By then it was after 10PM so it was off to bed for me while the bread slowly cooled next to the little loaf I made earlier. They looked pretty funny side-by-side. Like the Artos had birthed a baby bread.
I cut into this morning and it was well worth the effort. Beautiful texture and wonderful taste. Is there anything more gratifying than making something that tastes good?