HBinFive August 1st Bread Braid

Every now and then the yeast beckons me to play elsewhere. Somewhere other than HBinFive. I am here to tell you that my hands have been in the dough, but not in any way with broccoli or mesquite flour.

If you remember from our last assignment, I told you I would report back about my explorations into Peter Reinhart's cold fermentation method from Artisan Bread Every Day.

I've now made two batches of the Classic French Bread dough. I started with this one because he says it's one of the easiest to work with as it isn't as wet as some of the others.

This dough is a dream after our wet, sticky dough. I've been baking from ABinFive/HBinFive for so long now, that such elastic, perfectly textured dough was a shock. I forgot what it feels like.

After the dough is mixed and kneaded for only a minute, it goes into a clean, oiled bowl to rise in the fridge overnight or up to four days. Big difference number one.

On baking day, you need to take your dough out to shape it and let it rise about 2 hours before you want to bake. Baking takes about a half-hour or so, and then he suggests you let it sit for 45 minutes before slicing. So, refrigerator to table, allow about 3 1/2 hours. Difference number two (we've been know to put up baguettes from ABinFive, shape, rise 20 minutes, bake 30 minutes, and take it right out of the oven and tear into it at the table--so, maybe an hour?!)

Once I completed the process a couple times, it was easy, and I didn't have to think about each step so much. However, I was then so relaxed that one evening I completely forgot about my rising batards while I was getting A. and O. through their bedtime routines. No harm done, it seems.

I find this book really helpful in terms of it's suggestions for shaping the loaves. The step-by-step color photos made the instructions very clear.

Both my boules and batards crackled for a few minutes after I took them out of the oven. It sounded a little like a bowl of Rice Krispies with milk!Link
The interior of the boule was a fine crumb and the bread tasted like, well, French Bread that I would buy from Baker Street. It tasted less salty to me than the loaves from ABinFive Master Dough. Difference number three.

In terms of flavor, I would say I prefer the ABinFive bread from the Master Dough. In terms of texture or crumb, I prefer the Reinhart Classic French Bread. Perhaps these aren't the two best dough's to compare, however, maybe I need to compare one of the wetter dough's.

I've had fun here and look forward to delving into the more challenging dough's. I also recalled that I have a signed copy of Brother Juniper's Bread Book from an event we went to 11 years ago. He signed it, "To Clarice, May your bread always rise!"

So far, so good.