[UPDATE: I have added lots of photos of the bread making process here.]
I have made more bread in the last ten days than I did in my whole life before I found this recipe. I mixed up dough for two loaves Thursday morning to bake on Friday. I wanted to take a loaf to my knitting buddies for my lunch contribution and I took an extra loaf for them to share.
I received my order from King Arthur Flour earlier in the week which included bread flour, European Artisan bread flour, citric acid, and a seed mix for the top.
I used my original recipe (3 c. flour, 1/4 t. yeast, 1 1/2 t. salt, and 1 1/2 c. water) and I added a little garlic powder and onion powder (just a pinch each) to the dough when mixing the dry ingredients. I did not use the new flour. However, when I let the dough rise the second time, I sprinkled both sides of the loaf with the seeds and some Kosher salt. It turned out great! The seeds added to the taste and the appearance. I didn’t discern any difference using the garlic and onion powders. I probably used too little to make any difference. I did brush the warm loaf with butter after removing it from the oven. That was tasty.
I mixed up a batch yesterday morning using 2 cups of the King Arthur flour and 1 cup of the artisan flour, 1/4 t. citric acid, and the normal amount of yeast, instant this time, and salt. It rose much higher during the 20 hour rising than the other loaves. I am about ready to bake it. I hope it turns out even better than the others.
For me, the hardest part of the whole recipe is getting the bread off of the towel and into the hot pot. No matter how much flour I have on the towel, the wet dough sticks and I wind up struggling to get the dough off the towel without letting it slip away while I am trying to pull as much off the fabric as possible. I always wind up with a doughy mess left on the towel which does soak off pretty easily but I hate to waste the dough in a baking as well as monetary sense. Parchment paper didn’t work for me. Flour sacking towels were even worse. The next loaf I try may just sit in a greased bowl for the second rising. The bread is so good that this minor irritation is not going to prevent me making it.
UPDATE: I baked the bread this morning; I put it in the oven at 7:00. (I was up at 5:00 because my doggy was sick.) It was probably the best of the week. It had a slight sour taste, due to the citric acid, I guess. I don’t know what made it so good. Maybe it was just the combination of everything. My daughter said that it was the best bread she ever tasted. Now, she might have just been hungry, but her five year-old son also said it was good bread and her three year-old wanted a second piece after stuffing the first one in her mouth. So, it is the winner so far.
I’m not baking bread tomorrow, just a cake, carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I will share the recipe with you later.