for the past 18 months or so i've been playing around with an assortment of bread recipes and trying to learn the techniques that go into making a truly artisanal loaf. i started out with monty don's recipe from fork to fork, a book i've mentioned before as being one of my all time fave gardening/cooking books. i just love it when the two things come together in one volume and i love monty so it had to be the right way to make bread. his was a bit of a faff involving an approximation of a starter dough and a no-knead style mix. the dough was bubbly and the bread chewy and rustic but not all together reliable to make.
around this time last year we moved house and all making of food items from scratch essentially went out the window until a couple of months ago when i decided it was high time i got back to my bread experimentations. sadly i was unable to make head nor tail of my own handwritten notes regarding my finely tuned bread a la monty recipe and had to start again from scratch.
this time around i decided to cut out some of the messing around that came with monty's bread and cut to the chase - the straight up no-knead loaf which has been everywhere on the internet for all of time but which i had not quite gotten around to trying. the results were tasty and pleasing to the eye however wholly unpredictable resulting in airy chewy goodness one day followed by cakey stodge the next.
it just would not do.
so i hit up my local library and borrowed a wealth of books on the subject, tartine, how to make bread and river cottage bread have been my handbooks in this challenge and by jove have i made some tasty loaves. all of these books have helped me to understand the essence of what truly makes a fabulous basic loaf and now i'm on to some new bready challenges. i'm excited!