The bread last night was amazing.  The tomato soup plans, sadly, had to be cancelled as we have run out of tomatoes without me noticing, but some frozen CSA summer squash went well in the spicy basil tofu.  Anyway, on to the bread.

I started out intending to make challah, testing out Megan’s favorite recipe, but I only had about a cup of white flour, so it ended up being at least 3/4 whole wheat. The last time I attempted to make whole wheat challah, it ended up being somehow neither satisfying challah nor satisfying whole wheat bread, but by this point I had committed to the eggs. I also tried out several new baking theories. I realized that one reason my breads haven’t been rising much might be that they’re cold, so I rose it in the oven on “warm”. Fluffy springy happy yeasties! The dough rose beautifully. I then baked it in the new cast iron dutch oven (which was then placed in the oven-oven), which solved the problem I’d been having of uneaven baking. The bread was fluffy, but with a good weight to it and this amazing chewy-crunchy-gritty crust. I am always baking in the dutch oven. The only minor flaw was that the braid came unbraided, probably because whole wheat dough just isn’t sticky enough, but that’s ok, because I’ve been breaking chunks off, toasting them, and eating them with copious quantities of good butter all day. I think I’m going to make this bread for Shabbat every time. This is so much better than the white-flour kind. I mean, I like challah, but it’s practically pastry and somehow always seems slightly more appropriate on Saturday mornings.

To aid me in my newfound ability to bake bread, I have been looking through the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, which arrived along with the dutch oven. (Also in the box were the Less-With-More cookbook, containing many promising recipes, and a book on dutch oven cooking and one on cast iron cooking, both of which have some good recipes, but weren’t quite what I was looking for) I highly suspect that I’m still not kneading the dough enough, but I have SO MANY TASTY RECIPES on which to try out my gluten-pummeling skills. Flipping through that cookbook made me crave bread, which is fine, because I had bread! Unlike the book I’m currently reading for YA lit, which is excellent, but makes me have vague identity angst and crave samosas.


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