When I first began gathering the ingredients for my first foray into bread making 101, I just visited my usual HEB and the flour choices were limited. I knew that the protein content of the flour should be around 13% so using my label reading skills, I thought I could determine which flour was the best. So many choices…stone ground, bleached, unbleached, all-purpose, whole wheat, white whole wheat (what????) and then a slew of other types of flours, oat flour, rice flour. Frustrated by my inability to figure out the protein content, I noticed a 1-800 number on the back of the King Arthur flour package for calling the “baker hotline” so I whipped out my cell phone and right there in the baking aisle of the grocery store I punched up the number and was immediately connected to a very friendly, knowledgable lady who was able to answer all of my questions about the King Arthur flour. How cool was that! I just love this high-tech world we live in! I envisioned a little old lady (much like myself) sipping tea in her kitchen with yummy aromas emanating from her oven as she fields questions from novice bakers across the United States.
Well today, I switched to the Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown and made another run to the grocery store to get more ingredients but this time I went to Central Market. Oh my! I struck pay dirt there….Millet meal, Barley flour, Buckwheat flour and in the bulk section a nine grain mixture that will be perfect for my first loaf from the Tassajara cookbook.
With the basic yeast bread recipe from this book, there was a whole lot more mixing, kneading, pushing, pulling and punching. I did alter the recipe a little but this book encourages experimentation. I have to say that I very much enjoyed the more prolonged sequence of mixing, waiting for a rise, punching down, another rise and finally a shaping into loaves and popped into the oven. It was relaxing and invigorating!
The first loaf is out and I am super happy with it. Great rise, pretty appearance and I am waiting for it to cool so I can give it the ultimate taste test.
The old saying goes that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Holds true for a nice complete loaf of bread and the Tassajara Bread Book has delivered . Great outside crust, tremendous soft moist inner crumb, satisfying taste with interesting crunches from the 9 grains incorporated within the dough. With these loaves I definitely got the “oven spring” that was lacking with the whole wheat flour breads.
Nice to have a success story. Both loaves were well risen and I am ready to bake my way through the Tassajara Bread Book. Yum, Yum!!!