Jan 31, 2010

The heights and depths and breadths of...well, bread

I pride myself on being a pretty good baker. My sour cream banana bread always gets rave reviews, and my cookie repertoire is quite impressive. It doesn't stop there: muffins, scones, scratch cakes and brownies...all are within my power to whip up at a moment's notice.

But truth be told, my sweet rolls are hit-or-miss. Sometimes they're near-perfection, but sometimes not even close. My Parker House Rolls are usually decent, but could be better. And my regular loaf bread is...well, inconsistent at best, and really awful at times.

I've had great bread, baked by others. So I know what really great bread tastes, feels, and smells like. And now I'm on a quest to find out the secrets of making great bread. Consistently great bread.

If I get a Dutch oven for my birthday this week (and just in case my DH is reading this blog, please make that a 5- or 6-quart red one with molded handles and the self-basting lid, pretty please - doesn't have to be LeCreuset, but Lodge would be nice ;o), I will try my hand at this NYT No-Knead Bread recipe. Apparently I've been living in a cave for the past 3-plus years, while this one made the rounds (and loaves) of bread-making circles.

But I don't plan to stop there: sourdough starter starts today. Artisan breads-- from super-crusty to super-soft--here I come.

While we're still technically in the throes of winter, (as witnessed by this beautiful shot taken today by DD), I hope to experiment with all sorts of shapes, textures, and types, and techniques for bread-making. Guess my running shoes will also be getting some mileage, cuz that's just how I roll.