Monday, June 16, 2008

Boola, boola: Yummy Multigrain Boule of bread

Martha Stewart. She does know her food, I'll say that. She must have meticulous recipe testers too, because if you follow her instructions carefully, you get results, believe me, you get results.

Flush with my recent successes in Bread-Land, I decided to try a more flavorful Multigrain Boule, which Martha had in a recent issue of Living. Results blew the top off, so to speak...

I used the ingredients pretty much as listed on the site, but being a little lazy today, and also still recovering from being sick over the weekend, I didn't bother to weigh the flours, but just used cup measures. It didn't seem to affect the recipe adversely. I also feel like I'm starting to get the hang of that "feel of the dough." When it gets a certain elastic smoothness, you can feel it under your fingers, and you know if it needs more water or more flour to balance things out.

I remember long ago, a friend's blind grandmother shared some sourdough starter and advice with me (both of which I've sadly lost). She was an inveterate breadmaker though, baking bread every week, even though she had lost her sight and couldn't (obviously) measure things carefully anymore. Years of experience molded into her hands could tell her though how much flour or water to add.

Making this bread is a long-ish process. I made the starter last night at 8 pm, so I could start the bread this morning, as the starter takes 12-15 hours to develop. There are three risings, not including the initial 20 minute autolyse rest, and then the bread bakes an hour, so it's an all day prospect. Letting the bread make its last rise in a floured towel set in a colander gives it a great shape. I love that trick.

Apparently though, my boule-shaping technique was not so great. I guess I needed to pinch the seam on the bottom shut a little more firmly, because I got an "alien-brain" blowout on the side on my boule.

It didn't affect the flavor, though, which was fantastic. The rye and the wheat germ gave the crust a nice crackly crunch, and the seeds and mix of flours had a terrific hearty flavor. This might become my new favorite bread.

Have I mentioned that we're planning a trip up to Della Fattoria's farm in the next couple of weeks for dinner and some bread making? Very timely. I need some tips on perfecting the boola-boola...

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