Lately I’ve been baking bread in a loaf pan for variety and also pragmatic reasons. Kid’s lunches are more easily made with rectangular slices of bread, and when the kid himself suggests it, it’s always a good idea to listen. The semi-random fluctuations of flour types in the pantry have made for some interesting variations lately: a wheat/spelt/triticale mixture, and more recently a whole wheat/rye blend where the only white flour came from the starter. Both were very good eating; the spelt has a nice nutty flavor, and triticale is subtle, combining aspects of its parents wheat and rye. The whole wheat and rye loaf is a thing of fragrant beauty–it tastes amazing–though really more of the inner beauty variety. These rectangular loaves are practical, yes, but they lack the compellingly oblate topography of a boule.
To fit nicely in the loaf pan and get good height, I’ve been making a batch of dough that’s 50% larger than the single recipe. Using different proportions of different flours in almost every loaf is helping me slowly understand some of the finer points of this whole baking thing. Besides the very many variations on grilled cheese and smoked meat sandwiches I’ve been enjoying (I had a reuben for breakfast yesterday) the bread also came in handy for a meal we had here on Sunday where Rich from Elephant came over to cook a mess of offal for my next article. Among the things he brought was a wonderful chicken and pork liver terrine that was sexy as hell with the fig jam (figs, raisins, port, sherry vinegar) he made to go with it. Having crusty, chewy, whole-grain bread on hand to use as a substrate definitely contributed to the perfection of this bite.
I was going to post this yesterday, but the power went out and today was another snow day (Woo-hoo! Five-day weekend!) So it’s been busy. Tomorrow I’ll have something nicer, I promise.