(or Savory Asparagus Bread Pudding)
So what do I do with old bread ends and two of my sisters give me fresh asparagus from their gardens and fresh eggs from their chickens? I make this gratin, its easy and delicious! It completely transforms old bread into a really delicious dinner, well you really can’t go wrong with fresh eggs and asparagus and cheese!
Another loaf, another epiphany. I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of room temperature and it’s effects on the bulk fermentation and crumb structure. While this is important, I think the health and happiness of the starter is the most important factor when making a breadtastic loaf. No-Duh!
I’ve baked over 15 loaves so far and I learn something new every time, no surprises there ( I bet I’ll still be learning after 215 loaves ). I’m beginning to understand how important temperature is to the taste and crumb structure of my bread. The above picture shows a really great crumb and the bread tastes great. The funny thing is that I thought the loaf would turn out dense and sour due to the low temperature and mediocre rise after bulk fermentation.
I started to feel confident enough with my bread making skills to add a little something to the mix. Olive bread seemed like a good starting point, and for my first loaf this turned out pretty good. I did notice a few differences in both taste and texture when compared to the country loaf. The crust is thinner and not as crunchy, but tastes great, more like that of a whole wheat bread. The crumb is more compact and feels heavy, but has a very tender bite to it. In short, it’s better suited as a sandwich loaf than the crunchy, chewy feel of the No-Knead country bread.
I also made another departure from the No-Knead method by using a recipe from Nancy Silverton’s “Breads from La Brea Bakery” cookbook. The recipe has more steps but was a lot of fun and not too difficult to do. I highly recommend the book and think her insights, instruction and methods are fantastic.
Ingredients for 1 loaf:
3 1/2 c. bread flour
1/4 c. raw wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 5 Tbs. starter
1 1/2 c. warm water (70 degrees F)
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/4 c. pitted oil-cured olives
1 tsp. herbs-de-provence
What to do when your awesome, homemade loaf is too small or old for sammies or toast? Turn it into croutons! They are so good you don’t even need to add them to a salad-I ate half of them as soon as they got out of the oven.
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves peeled garlic
5 parsley stalks
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbs. grated pecorino cheese
A starter is sort of like a pet dog you’ve always wanted, you don’t have to walk it or clean up after it, but you do have to care for it if you want it to love you. Here are some simple steps to keep your starter happy. It is a good idea to feed it once a week and especially the day before you want to start making bread.
Here are step-by-step visual instructions for the easy no-knead country loaf.
I hope your attempts are Breadtastic!
3 1/4 c. bread flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. starter
1 1/2 c. warm water
rice flour for dusting (optional)