Sunday, January 31, 2010
I purchased both of these books from amazon after reading a recipe on Ivory Hut. I have had a lot of problems with bread rising the last few months. We had a water softener put in, apparently the culligan man had rarely experienced water with as many grains of hardness that ours had! Anything over 10.5 according to this web site, is very hard... Ours had THIRTY-EIGHT grains of hardness per gallon! Frank's Father had suggested we have the water tested, and a system installed to soften it and sure enough, it worked. My bread seems to be rising well again.
During this time, however, I was searching for help online. I came across Ivory Hut's blog and I found a great recipe for a bread sponge that she was using from one of the above cookbooks. I asked her a question in her comments and was answered! I had asked some other bread artisans some questions and by no fault of their own they were too busy to answer, I found it thoughful that this woman found time to answer me.
I ordered both books post haste after the initial recipe turned out well. Its water, flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Nothing more. Mix, let it sit for some time and then tear off a hunk and let rest, then bake! This was the master bread recipe from the book, rolled out with cinnamon, sugar and butter on it. I forgot my raisins...
There was much sugar and butter dripping from this bread on the cooling rack when Nathalie arose from her sleeping space. She was amazed at all the sugary yumminess and wanted to eat it off the counter. Being such a mannerly mom I didnt allow this right??? This bread has to cool before you slice it, its a simple white bread sponge and is very light. It isnt very tall but the loaf started out small so it did rise. It was incredibly good! It was like a gooey cinamon roll with every slice!
I highly recommend these cookbooks. I have few cookbooks, most of my cooking is done out of my head. What I think will work, taste and add as I go. I have one old cook book that has fallen apart that I love, it was my first, but I only use it as a basic guide when needed. These 2 books however, have a special spot in our house. Open. On the counter. Already stained with sticky and oil and floury doughy bits. I will modify these recipes and use them differently than suggested, but lets just say I am in love!
And oh, the jar in the background? Bought that from amazon also. Its a sealed crock, I can make the sponge in it, let it rest the 2-4 hrs, then put the lid on and refridgerate it for up to 7 days though so far, it hasnt even made it to the fridge. It gets baked within a day, my family can go through aprox 4 baguettes a day...