Monday, August 9, 2010
with Indian spiced okra and the pictured French Country Boule. I think it's fair to say that this is the best bread I know how to make, and one of the best I've eaten. It's pretty simple (white, rye, and whole wheat flours), and, in my experience, hard to mess up. If I had to quibble with this loaf I'd say I over-salted just a wee bit, and I still haven't mastered oven spring, but on the whole, if this is as good as my bread gets, I can happily live with it. I learned two things this round. The first is that I dislike a starter made with all whole grain; both the spelt starter I made a while ago and the whole wheat starter I baked with last week made a bread that was too tangy for my taste. Even in a whole grain loaf I prefer a starter fed mainly white flour. The second is that preheating the oven and using a baking stone are both unnecessary steps. Following the advice of a number of posters on The Fresh Loaf (link to the right) I baked this in a cold oven, on a baking sheet, and it is both delicious and indistinguishable from loaves I baked on the traditionally recommended searing-hot baking stone. Since I always found pre-heating to be just that one extra step that turned the whole thing into a chore, this is big news for me.