Thursday, September 3, 2009

reached an impasse in bread baking so have to try new ground

i have reached an impasse in my bread baking. been baking for about a year now but have stopped experimenting with new stuffs. been using the same basic recipe over and over again.

so need to try new stuffs.

it so happened that i bought 2 books on bread baking recently during the book fair organized by popular about a week ago. kuala lumpur bookworms have been having one hell of a time as there have been so many book fairs etc. i have acquired more than ten books in the past few months and have had hell of a journey devouring them!

one of the bread book i bought and just finished reading is richard bertinent's crust.

this book was sold at half price (hardcover!). it comes with a dvd too as no amount of text written could describe better the techniques used by mr bertinent than watching him in action.

and so, i tried one of the recipes in his book.

baked the ciabatta...

of course, this is all done with white flour, not my favourite at all, as i'm for wholemeal bread.

followed the recipe to a tee, as i wanted to see how it would turn out in the end.

mr bertinent recommends to weigh all ingredients (even water) rather than use spoons or cups as this is far more accurate. but he also acknowledged that some adjustments have to be made to cater for your local environment, say it's a hot sunny day or a cool rainy day etc.

now this ciabatta consists of 2 parts, a biga and then the real thing. this biga is unlike previous biga i did before, as it's a lot drier and consists more than 1/3 of the flour.

instead of the usual kneading, mr bertinent recommends the "stretch and fold" technique. it's quite interesting but could be very very messy as we are dealing with a very wet dough here. i do agree him that wet doughs still turn out better bread than dry doughs even dry doughs are easier to handle/knead.

needless to say, i made a mess on my kitchen top. got wet gooey dough all over the place!

the other difference in technique is that mr bertinent prefers to preheat the loaf pan to 250c and sprays mists of water into the oven to create steam. something which i never tried before! he suggests to preheat the oven to 250c, then once you place the dough in, let it bake for 5 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 220c for an additional 20 minutes.

compare to my tried and tested 180c over 40 minutes, this is interesting!

well... after all the work... i can say the result is worthwhile!

please forgive the pics. took with my phone as can't resist taking a bite! 
look at the holes! look at the beautiful holes!
look at the crust! look at the beautiful crust!
even wifey agrees this is a wonderful bread. smells lovely and the crust is just heavenly...
my only complaint is that white bread absolutely sucks! so will be trying the same recipe but with wholemeal bread this weekend.
stay tuned...

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