Wish You Were Here

You would if you could smell this bread.

Since back in November when every single person on the intarwebs went crazy for the no-knead bread, I’ve been playing a little bit. Reducing quantities, changing flours, adjusting baking times, and most recently, tossing in some lovely dried olives and some olive oil to make what is probably one of the best olive breads I’ve ever eaten. And I loves me some olive bread. This is easily better than the $5-a-loaf stuff I get from WholeFoods.

It would appear that you really can’t screw up the recipe. Everything works, everything tastes great. I was a little worried about the crumb, I initially found it a bit too soft and spongy for my tastes, but adjustments aren’t making a difference in that area. It is what it is. And last week when Greg and I had a loaf of the beer sour dough bread at Beer Bistro, we realized that the crumb is very similar to mine. So now I’m ready to accept that the crumb is supposed to be moist, that bread really is supposed to be eaten the same day its made, and my preconceptions were obviously based on loaves of generic store-bought bread meant to last for days.

The beer bread put some other ideas in my head, though, and yes, I’ll be trying a beer version at some point soon. Also a cheese bread, and you know I’ve got to try a version of the chocolate chip boule from Ace Bakery.


The other thing I changed was that I’ve been greasing the pan. After the sticky mess of the first loaf, I wasn’t running the risk of wrecking my pan again. Just the tiniest brush of butter or olive oil saves a lot of frustration.

Speaking of pan wrecks, though, the truth is finally coming out and I’ve seen a few people admit to completely destroying their fancy expensive Le Creuset casserole pots trying to make this bread. The standard Le Creuset dish comes with a plastic handle, and the website brags that it will withstand temperatures up to 350′F. Too bad the bread needs to be at 450 – 500′F to cook properly. So much for the handles, which are turning into melted gloopy plastic blobs atop a $100 pan. Me and my $30 metal-handled knock-off can’t help but snicker just a wee bit.