Just look at that disgusting piece of _____. Don't say it. Don't call it bread, cause it's not. I couldn't live with such a failure. I had to improve my bread.
And so I scoured the Internet, and my local Borders, reading all I could on sites like The Fresh Loaf, and Bread Cetera, and books like The Bread Baker's Apprentice, to understand the fundamentals of bread making.Once I believed I had learned enough, I ended my hiatus and began to bake bread once again. First came this focaccia from Ideas In Food, which I've baked probably 5 times now (and in my opinion perfected),and then came this more complicated batard, which is actually 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that I shaped into a batard. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of how my bread baking skills have improved. In the near future I will conquer my nemesis, the baguette.
Recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
soaker (mix together fully one day ahead, cover with plastic, and let sit at room temp)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup water
poolish (mix together fully one day ahead, cover with plastic, and let sit in the refrigerator)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
¼ tsp instant yeast
¾ cup water
2 cups whole wheat
1 1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tbs honey
1 egg (optional)
1. Remove the poolish and let sit at room temp for one hour before making the dough.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour salt and yeast.
3. Cut the poolish and soaker into small 1 square inch pieces then mix into the dough with a paddle.
4. Add the honey and the egg, mixing with a paddle until the mixture become a rough dough. Transfer to a cutting board and knead for about 10-15 until a tacky but not sticky dough is formed. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and let rise for two hours.
5. For sandwich loaves, divide the dough in two equal pieces and place in oiled loaf pans, then let rise again for about 90 minutes covered in plastic.
6. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes until the dough is golden brown on all sides and sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool, then enjoy!