Admittedly I wasn’t as excited about this week’s recipe – not sure why. Essentially this recipe is the same as the first lean bread recipe, but you add in whole wheat flour to the bread flour. It’s still the same basics with water, yeast, and salt. I decided though that I would use it more as an opportunity to practice shaping. I still have a lot to learn about that.

Everything went well but again, I made some minor mistakes. I left the dough sitting for over an hour and I was supposed to fold it after 30 minutes and then again after another 30 minutes with some additional time after that. It’s like I have selective reading skills sometimes. Not sure where I read that. Oops. I decided to keep going because I wanted to bring freshly baked bread to my daughter’s dance class and I didn’t have time to do it again. The dough had doubled in size and when I took the plastic wrap off, it looked like this:

Pretty cool, eh? I thought so. (Sorry for the choppy video quality.)

Then came the preshaping. For the life of me I can’t seem to get the shape right (must practice) so I just did the best I could. I decided to make two loaves. Here’s what that looked like and then again after the proofing stage.

You can see where I pinched the edges.

They look similar enough.

Given my time crunch and lack of shaping skills, everything looked ok so I went ahead to the scoring stage. You want to score the dough not just for decoration but to allow for expansion as the bread bakes. The tool of choice for bakers is called a lame pronounced “lahm.” It means “blade” in French apparently. It kind of looks like a razor on a stick. I don’t have one. Yet. I’m ordering one soon. You can use a very sharp knife and though the knife I used was sharp, I think maybe I shouldn’t have use the serrated one. Live and learn. I tried to get all fancy with alternating slits and cross crosses, but it looked a mess. Ok. Maybe that’s extreme, but I’m still learning so I give myself a pass. See for yourself.

You can see the serrated bumps in the dough.

I placed the loaves onto my pizza stone, added some water to an aluminum pan I have at the bottom of the stove to create steam, then let the oven and bread do its thing.

Just placed in oven

Success! And I finished just in time to take a loaf with me to my daughter’s dance class. I brought butter, too. Imagine their surprise when I brought in a freshly baked loaf of bread! It was a total hit. I felt so proud, especially when the six-year-old boy in the room (sibling of a girl in my kids dance class) asked me for several slices much to his mother’s embarrassment. She had no need to feel that way. I took it as a compliment. She said he was picky usually, but he sure did devour that bread. It was good. Not overly “wheaty” or dense. Perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I’d definitely make it again.

Finished product

Now I need to find durum flour for the next recipe – Durum rosemary bread. Now we’re talking! Even more unchartered territory.

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts. -James Beard