I usually bake all the bread we eat at home. Since I began baking for real (you can read more about that here), I’ve mostly done variations on the same recipe. But last year when I was trying to find the motivation to complete the revisions on a paper, my husband Paulus came up with the clever idea that I would get a reward whenever I finished a writing project. My first reward was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Given that I’m not a very good bread kneader (I tend to knead for a while and think that surely it must have been at least 10 minutes, when in reality it’s been more like 2), the mixer really makes a difference. And in the middle of last week, it produced something like a miracle. I wish I could tell you the recipe, because this bread was… amazing. It was airy and fluffy despite containing whole grain flour, it had a beautiful thick crust, and eating it was just spectacular. If I do say so myself. Actually, Paulus says so, too, and he’s probably not biased.
I was making this bread simultaneously with a cauliflower pizza, and the pizza was really my focus. I was just sort of baking the bread because we were going to run out in the immediate future.
So into the mixer went the ingredients: water, yeast, salt, white flour and whole wheat flour
And then I let the mixer do it’s thing while I was working on the cauliflower pizza. I stopped and tested the dough a few times. Finally, it was all elastic and amazing.
So I left it to rise for a while, under a kitchen towel, for a while. Maybe a few hours. When the dough reached the top of the bowl, I switched tactics.
Given the wetness of the dough, it seemed prudent to let it prove further with some support. Enter the proofing basket.
After some quick shaping, the dough went into the basket. It stayed there for, well who knows, possibly another few hours.
When it reached the top of the proofing basket, I decided it was time.
Getting dough out of the basket without destroying all the lovely air bubbles inside is always a challenge, but this went surprisingly well.
Then, into the oven went the bread, where it baked for.. well, until it was done. I tested this by tapping my finger on the bottom crust, listening for a hollow sound.
Here it is, fresh out of the oven. Also featured are my owl oven mitts.
After the bread had cooled down a bit, it was time to have a look at the inside. And that was certainly worth looking at. Nice airy crumb, rustic irregular air pockets, and a thick crust – exactly how I like it.
So I took a close-up for posterity.
The next day breakfast could easily have been a sad affair, as we had run out of our favorite breakfast items (egg, cheese, avocado) and had to make do with apples and peanut butter. But honestly, some toasted slices of this bread, spread with peanut butter and topped with an apple slice was heavenly – crispy, crunchy, sticky and tart.
Now all that remains is to repeat the experiment!