I was a bit disappointed with my french bread last week (should have made one larger baguette instead of two small ones–the crust just overpowered everything), so I was quite pleased that the italian bread was a complete success! I’m now convinced that my french loaves were much too small, and I think I will redo it to see if I can get it right sometime soon. A few things I did differently this time around:
-I kneaded this one by hand! I usually use my KitchenAid mixer instead of kneading it myself, but the bowl was dirty yesterday from making the biga, so I went for it solo…and it was actually fun! Of course I picked the recipe that calls for 10 minutes of kneading as opposed to 6 or so, but it was great! I think I will try to do more hand kneading in the future…it seems to do a better job when I only do a half batch.
-I think I’m getting the hang of scorching…I didn’t realize that they have to look wide before it goes in the oven otherwise they’ll look more like slits. Next time I think I’ll try one scorch that runs the length of the loaf; I really like that look!
-Finally getting the hang of hearth baking in the new stove. The last couple of times I don’t think I’ve gotten the door shut fast enough and by then most of the steam has escaped. I tried to be quick this time and I think it worked!
Overall, this bread is quite tasty. So far I’ve only had it alone, but I’ve read that it’s good as toast and I’m also thinking of french toast or garlic bread! It would have gone great with last night’s steak and veggies, but it wasn’t ready yet and I had already made au gratin potatoes…but maybe tonight!