I haven’t been sleeping very well lately. I know it is because I’m jet-lagged but the past week has been a little strange. It has contributed to a wonderful development in my home though. When you wake up at 3 am and your fridge is empty, it makes perfect sense that you should bake some bread. Right? I thought so. In the past week I’ve been experimenting with some yeasted breads. I can’t help but still get a thrill when they rise up like magic.
Perhaps the most delicious and filling was the rosemary focaccia. I used the recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking pretty much exactly as it was written. This loaf was dense and yet fluffy, moist and salty and completely packed with rosemary flavor. The one time I’ve made focaccia before it was not nearly this thick and wonderful. I want to eat a million sandwiches off of this stuff. The crust has a light oiled flavor and the olives compliment the whole thing quite nicely.
Another project was a basic french loaf. This was the simplest of the batch but still satisfying. It was plain but great for toast. The crust was fairly crunchy as I tested out the technique of throwing water in the oven to steam it. I was impressed for it being such a basic loaf that it really was so good. This was also the quickest to prepare, easy to turn to in a pinch.
When I was researching tips to make my french loaf, I discovered that everyone in the bread making world seemed to be crazy about this No-Knead recipe from the NY Times. Of course I had to try it as well, despite it having a rising time of 20 hours total. Everything I read, promised me a light interior with a beautiful crunchy crust. I was not let down. I must admit that I definitely messed up this recipe. At hour 12 or so I could see that my dough was definitely too wet. Being that it had been rising for so long I just decided to go ahead with it anyway and hope for the best. Though I know that something was off, just by looking at the dough, it still tasted amazing. It was insanely good and very easy to assemble, despite my mis-measuring somewhere. If you have the foresight to put this together a day in advance, it is well worth the wait.