Saturday, February 20, 2010

Italian Bread {bba}

I'm glad that the Italian bread happens to be the bread that immediately follows the French Bread alphabetically in in Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice because I was able to compare the two breads that I baked in succession in the BBA Challenge.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- This bread uses a pre-ferment mixture called a biga. I used regular bread flour and
1.5 tsp of fresh yeast in my biga.

- After the biga rests and ferments in the fridge for a day or so, it's time to mix up the dough. The biga is cut into 12 pieces and mixed with new ingredients, in my case King Arthur's "European style flour" and fresh yeast. I love the elegance of using a food processor at this stage, as it cleanly and efficiently incorporates the biga into the new ingredients, producing a lovely supple dough in just a minute or two.

the verdict:

I made a series of missteps in the rising and the shaping and the slashing, but in the end it didn't matter because the first rule of the kitchen is "taste rules" and this bread tasted amazing! We preferred the more substantial taste of this bread to the French bread of a few weeks before. This is likely to become my "go to" hearth bread, which should give me plenty of opportunity to perfect the aesthetics of my Italian bread loaves.


Di said...

The Italian bread is one of my absolute favorites. (I've made it several times.) I definitely like the texture better than the French bread. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much. =)

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yup, taste indeed rules!
Looks delicious.

natalia said...

Ciao ! I'm glad you loved it too ! Now this is the recipe I go back to when in need !

Anonymous said...

which recipe did you follow?I dont see the detail recipe n your post for Italian bread.It looks fabulous and I would really like to try it.

Leslie said...

Taste does rule! And I remember this bread was delicious and forgiving (I think I put it in and took it out of the fridge several times). Yours looks so authentic!

Kayte said...

I like that whole taste rules bit...I am thinking that is what I usually follow around here. Guys don't necessarily notice the other things as well, so taste is definitely the biggie. Yours looks wonderful. I made this into hoagies for sandwiches and now it is what the guys are requesting weekly...and they will now eat frozen bread thawed if I make it.

TeaLady said...

My new motto - Taste Rules. Don't we always say it's the taste that counts. True with bread, too.

Cathy said...

Hearing that this is going to become your go-to hearth bread is all I need - I'm definitely going to make this! It was so easy to find excellent Italian bread where I grew up - lots of Italian bakeries (and even the grocery store bought from these bakeries, so you could get it there). Here, finding great bread is not so easy. I will have to make it myself. Yours looks Italian bakery-worthy!