My first attempt at baking bread...a success!
Well, I can't say it's a complete success yet, not until I taste it. But I can't do that 'til Brett gets home and that's way later tonight. Anyhoo, I'm so excited about this bread. If it tastes as good as it looks...I'm going to be baking bread 'til the cows come home!! Don't know what I meant by that, but what I do know is that I'll be making a whoooole lotta bread! Not only am I in love with this recipe, but I'm even more in love with my Le Creuset dutch oven.
Before going to bed, the dough looked like this:
I honestly took the bread to bed with me. Then in the middle of the night I transferred it over to my son's room cause it's way warmer in his room than in mine and Brett's. Then at 7:30 this morning the wee one helped me to wake up - no, make that he insisted I wake up that early. It could've been worse I guess. He did wake up originally at 7am but occupied himself for half an hour by being mesmerized by his hands (he can't believe he has hands!) before deciding it was time for me to wake up too. That's ok though, 7am would be exactly 18 hours that the dough was resting for. The next step was to take it out of the bowl and fold it onto itself once or twice and let it rest again for 15 minutes and it looked like this:
After those 15 minutes I had to smooth out the dough by "tucking" the ends under and creating a round ball in the process, then let the dough sit and rest again for another 1-2 hours. This time you just loosely cover the dough in some kitchen towels and let it breath. I had let my dough rest for 2 hours, solely on the basis that the house isn't that warm so it takes a little longer for the dough to rise. In the meantime I had the oven pre-heating with the dutch oven inside. Once the final resting was over I plopped the dough into my beloved LC pot and let it bake for 30 minutes covered and another 15 minutes uncovered. I was seriously squealing with joy when my bread came out looking like this:
Brett was amazed and commented on how it really does look like artisan bread that you can buy at specialty stores...or at Safeway. The bread looks exactly the way the recipe said it would, and exactly like the breads all those other people in blogland who made this recipe. I think the next time I make this I'll try it with straight up all-purpose flour, rather than the 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose flour mix that I used. I don't eat white breads unless there isn't a choice, but I just want to see the difference.
Anyways, I'm so excited and looking forward to dinner now, I think I'll take advantage of the little one napping and start dinner now. No one has ever protested against chili simmering all day, right?