Sunday, February 28, 2010

BBA Slow & Steady #15: Italian Bread roundup

Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice continues to delight the Slow & Steady bakers, as we make our way from beginning to end as (very slow) participants in the BBA Challenge. We're approaching the middle of the book; right now we're on Italian Bread, another classic hearth bread that we'd all love to master. Read on to see how we did (hint: as a group we were far more successful than with the previous recipe, French Bread).

This week I'd like to welcome a new member of the Slow & Steady group, Wendy of the blog Pink Stripes. She began the BBA Challenge at a quicker pace, but decided to stop and smell the roses and finish the book with us!

Wendy baked the Italian Bread as torpedo rolls - pictured above - to accompany her (not quite) vegetarian Christmas Eve dinner. They were a hit, especially with her mother, who always advises that good bread, good conversation and good wine are the keys to a good dinner party - smart mom (aren't they always?!) Read more on her full post: {bba} italian bread torpedo rolls


Although the two day process for baking the bread is a bit time consuming, Karen, of the blog Shortbread found the taste of her Italian bread rolls "fantastic" and the time investment "so worth it." She suggests that the rolls would be a great base for sub sandwiches. Read her post: Super Bowl Subs Italian Bread Rolls


I love the way Jessica of The Singleton in the Kitchen introduced her bread: "Next up is Italian bread, the softer, more versatile friend of French bread. It's still a hearth bread, but this time with feeling. Italian bread gets its wonderful personality from a biga starter and the addition of some barley malt. ...If you know anything about Italian bread, you know it likes to party. Italian bread is great on its own, but it's also a great base for things like garlic bread and sandwiches." For more hearth bread insight, check out Jessica's post: More Globetrotting Breads! BBA French Bread & Italian Bread


Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table found this bread "less fussy" than the French bread was. The texture and flavor were wonderful and Kayte's husband loved this bread for his sandwiches. Sounds like she will be busy baking this bread from now on! Read more: BBA: Italian Bread


Thanks to Natalia of Gatti, Fili e Farina we learn that because of the added fat in its ingredient list, the bread that we call "Italian" bread is softer than the breads in Italy usually are, and she calls this kind of bread "Corean [Korean] or Indian" bread. Whatever it's called, this bread looks pretty spectacular and I'll bet it tasted just as delicious! More about this stunning bread at: BBA Slow and Steady: Italian Bread


A newly-self-professed "bread snob," Leslie of Lethally Delicious now bakes, rather than buys her daily bread. The Italian bread came together smoothly, and her verdict: "I thought it was pretty great, especially in a sandwich." Here's Leslie's post: BBA - Italian Bread


Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook showed her bread-baking expertise on this week's recipe. She has baked the BBA Italian Bread several times previously, so she decided to experiment this time around and used her sourdough starter as the main leavening agent in her bread's biga pre-ferment. She baked one large loaf and it turned out perfectly! When the rest of us are ready to start baking with sourdough starters, thank goodness Di will be able to guide us. Her post: Italian Bread


Sarah of Blue Ridge Baker had a bit of an adventure while her Italian bread was baking. One step to getting fabulous crust on hearth breads is to pour hot water into a pan on the floor of the oven as you place your dough in to bake. Unbeknownst to Sarah, the water extinguished her oven's pilot light! Even though the oven had cooled a bit, her bread baked perfectly - as if nothing in the world was wrong. Sarah liked the fact that this bread had a softer crust than the French bread, as it was easier for her little ones to chew. Read about her bread here: BBA Challenge: Italian Bread


Although her bread spread a bit more than she would have liked, Margaret of Tea and Scones thought that her Italian bread was a perfect accompaniment to some stew. Looks perfect to me! Here's her post:: Slow and Steady BBA - French and Italian Bread


I can't say that I have the shaping of Italian loaves figured out, but my bread turned out pretty well in spite of me, and we absolutely loved the taste. My post: Italian Bread {bba}

We will continue our streak of crusty white breads with Kaiser Rolls. Stay tuned!


Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Delicious round-up! Pass the butter...

natalia said...

What a wonderful fornaio you have around here !!!

TeaLady said...

How can you not love bread. Just reading about everyone's bread makes me want some - NOW!!!

Cathy said...

Okay, seeing the gorgeous breads in this post makes me really regret falling off the BBA S&S wagon; I think it's time to get back on. I'll start with Italian, in fact! I love how everyone's bread looks different, but they're all beautiful!

Leslie said...

What a great round up! I know I say this every time, but it's so much fun to see everyone's breads all in one place and visit the ones I missed. I worry less (as you know) about how things look, so your shaping wouldn't be a deterrent to demolishing the loaf!

Anonymous said...

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Kayte said...

I am laughing at how dark my bread was in this photo...I have made it so many times again and I have known when to stop before it looks almost burned! It still tasted fine. Was nice to see them altogether so I could compare and know that it was good I changed my ways. Lovely breads.