These days my bedside novel is Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Bakers’ Apprentice. I am in love with this book. Last night, even though I was sleepy I couldn’t put the book down- like it was some really interesting crime mystery novel and I was at the part where the murder was just seconds from getting solved. No one would have thought, especially those who have seen me growing up, that I was so passionate about baking. I too never knew till only recently, and even though I am not a great baker – I’ll call myself that only when I am able to concoct my own recipes- I know that I’m passionate about this. And, believe me, if you find something you are passionate about- you can and will eventually become great at it. Until that day I’ll keep trying!
Inspired by Reinhart’s words, I decided to try my hand at his version of French Bread.
Bread – a combination of flour, water, salt and yeast- all combined to form this beautifully fermented dough with layers of flavor hidden in it. One bite into the bread- and I’m talking about the freshly baked kinds- not the store bought, kept on shelves, filled with preservatives kinds- and you are like- whoa…oh my god, this is it- Yes! almost like having an orgasm for the mouth!
Previously, I have tried making French Bread with decent results. Reinhart’s version is slightly different and does require more time in the preparation. He starts off with a pre-fermented dough, pâte fermentée (dough that has been kept overnight to ferment in the refrigerator). The resulting bread has a sweetness associated with it due to the sugars released from the starches during fermentation. The crust is nice and rustic on the outside and the bread full-flavored!
Use this bread for making garlic bread or serve it with a roasted garlic infused ricotta cheese topping or use it to make your own version of crostinis!