One of my New Year’s resolutions was to “make peace with yeast” and learn to bake bread, and perhaps pizza crust. This decision was born of my move towards reducing the amount of processed foods I eat and trying to eat more “whole” foods. Delicious breads are available at several bakeries in Greensboro, and certainly other places, but what could be nicer than bread from your own kitchen? Not to mention fresher.
Armed with no-knead bread recipes from the internet and a 5-lb bag of whole wheat flour I attempted my first loaf last week. The bread came out with a stronger yeast flavor than I really liked, but I’ve been slowly eating it. I did discover that the yeasty bread was delicous when dabbed in a little extra virgin olive oil, and paired well with a bowl of pinto beans.
For my second loaf I deviated from my 100% whole wheat goal and made a loaf of 2/3 white flour, cut back slightly on the yeast, and added a tablespoon of sugar. This recipe did require a quick knead before the second rise, but that went well and the resulting loaf can be seen above. Not only is the yeastiness improved, but it has a wonderful crunchy crust. It was so crunchy in fact that it was difficult to slice. After cutting a few by hand I was inspired to try using my electric knive, the one I use to carve turkey with on Thanksgiving! Incredibly even the electric knife had trouble piercing that beautiful brown exterior. Once it did it make beautiful slices. I think I can slice nearly as quickly by hand, but I do like the smooth surface that the electric knife leaves on the slices.