Simple, Simply Delicious Homemade Bread

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and insights on my last post. It's been both enjoyable and helpful to reflect on your words these last few days. And, while I've slowed down, I also did a little bit of baking.

This is the first time I didn't halve a recipe from Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, the authors of the wonderful baking books Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. A full batch of their dough typically produces four one-pound loaves, and I usually halve the recipe, turning out two loaves instead. When I got the baking itch this week, however, I decided to go for the full recipe and baked a long(er) 100% whole wheat baguette from Healthy Bread in Five.

While the size of the loaf didn't cause any trouble, there was a bit of baking fail. I was going to try baking the loaf on a cookie sheet placed on top of warmed pizza stone in the oven, but after rereading the directions, I saw that this method was not as simple as I first thought. I had assumed that the loaf would remain on the sheet for the full baking time, when in fact Francois and Hertzberg recommend to move the loaf directly onto the stone about halfway through baking. I had already placed the loaf on the sheet, so at the last minute I just flopped the thing to the pizza stone for the whole baking time. Because of this, there was no cornmeal to separate the loaf from the stone, and I ended up with this:

The bottom of the loaf stuck to the pizza stone and, when I tried to remove the loaf, ripped out. Oops. Thankfully I was able to clean the residue off the stone and, since the bread was still delicious and hearty, the endeavor was not a total loss. The only real downside here is that the loaf doesn't keep as long, so the Best Husband Ever and I had to hurriedly eat our way through it. It was a tough job, but we shouldered the burden without complaint, food martyrs that we are.

Also, the resident bread connoisseurs/photo shoot assistants gave the loaf their stamps of approval, so it couldn't be all that bad:

They're very opinionated.

Happy August! I can't believe July is over and done with. Already the leaves are started to yellow and fall from the trees. Autumn is on its way! Also, did you know that yesterday was a fun and special set of birthdays? A good friend turned another year (happy birthday!), and so did Harry Potter. I find it weird that Harry's "older" than me, as he was born in 1980. (And yes, I did know it was Harry's birthday yesterday off the top of my head since I am a big dork, but mostly because it's my friend's birthday, too.)

If Harry's fictional birthday doesn't excite you (and even if it does), check out the official Artisan Bread in Five website, where you can ask Francois and Hertzberg baking questions, read their blog, and discover a few super recipes.

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