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Abby Dodge’s peasant boule for January #baketogether

See that up there ^^^^^ Yes, that’s bread. Baked by me. I know, I know, it’s not really that impressive, but if you consider the last time I posted about bread, well, I have come a really long way….  Oh sure, I can make macarons but bread and yeasted breads in particular have always eluded me. We don’t “get” each other…  However, after last week’s successful brioches, I was eager to keep my hand in the bread baking game and try Abby Dodge’s peasant boule for this month’s #baketogether.

To be honest (and no offence, Abby), I didn’t really have very high hopes…. And apparently I made this in such an “out of it” (I *was* still on holidays…) state that I completely blanked on the fact that there were weight measurements (my preferred way to bake) in the recipe.  I guess I am not used to many North American recipes offering the weight option. In any case, it’s CLEARLY there, I am guessing my holiday brain just wasn’t working.

Which meant this:

Yup, way too dry.  And me being the novice baker I am, I didn’t want to add or subtract anything – not realising what was happening, I just blithely went ahead and baked it.  3 1/3 cups of flour can weigh a lot more than 15oz, which I totally KNOW. Grrrr.

Anyway, it didn’t look *too* bad…

Right? Sorta like bread, wouldn’t you say?  Even on the inside…

But a little dense.  Tasty, nonetheless and delicious thinly sliced and toasted the following day. But not quite as I knew it should be. So, with guests coming and three other untrialled dishes on the go (because that’s how we roll chez moi), I set to work on another loaf, using weight instead of volume. And also using my common sense. Even when I added the right amount of ingredients, it still looked a little dry. So I added some more water. Then it looked a little wet. So I added some flour. Hey, look at me mum – experimenting with bread!!  And I knew immediately this one would be better. Not perfect but way better… (Note to self: trust instincts more in the kitchen):

(yes it’s being baked in a small frying pan)

Et voilà:

WAY less dense. More buttery. Even, dare I say it, some lovely “crumb” (bread baking people say these types of things apparently. I guess it’s like us macaron people with our “feet”). I was very proud of this one:

And let’s take a look at the two loaves side by side:

On the left: not too bad but definitely dense. On the right: getting there. I have a feeling I am going to try again soon actually. Going to try deflating the loaf a little less after the second rise. Oh, and baking it in the right pan – I kind of wanted it to rise higher and be a little more fluffy. But this loaf was devoured at lunch, fresh, still warm, with cheese. And the following mornings toasted with jam. Finally, bread baked by me that’s edible!

Want to join us in #baketogether?  You’ve still got most of the month!  Check out Abby’s recipe for peasant boule here.  I mean, if I can do this, really anyone can!!!

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47 Responses to Abby Dodge’s peasant boule for January #baketogether

  1. Tora January 11, 2012 at 06:33 #

    Oh wow! Good job! Very brave trying to tackle the devil that is baking bread. I should approach this menace myself, but I’m thinking of doing that slow-rise overnight in the fridge thing that seems a little more foolproof. (that or I am just completely in the dark).

    Good luck and may your bread become increasingly delicious!

  2. jules @ bananamondaes January 11, 2012 at 07:03 #

    This looks really good – I like the texture a lot. I got to spent time with a master baker once and he said the key was – wet dough and a ridiculously hot oven. He filled his with bricks to boost the temperature.

  3. chefblogdigest January 11, 2012 at 07:45 #

    Everyone started from scratch and look where you are now.

    Good Job!

  4. Cher January 11, 2012 at 07:59 #

    I still say 2012 needs to be the Year of Yeast :-)
    Lovely job – in general, wet dough is not a bad thing. (And you can never go wrong with warm bread & butter…)

  5. Kiri W. January 11, 2012 at 09:00 #

    Looks fantastic – the crust is beautiful! I’d love a warm slice to dip in oil…

  6. Mr. Neil January 11, 2012 at 09:06 #

    I think I may need to pull my bread recipe from, umm, 30+ years ago, up from the cellar and bake a loaf for Mardi.

    (And yes, Mardi…I still have it in the basement.) :-)

  7. Jessica | Oh Cake January 11, 2012 at 10:20 #

    Good work! I have issues with yeast breads too. I try to make them… they don’t want me to. Sigh. Your “dense” loaf looks perfect for bread pudding or panzanella. :)

  8. Paula January 11, 2012 at 10:32 #

    Good for you! Soon you will be baking bread as beautiful and as delicious as your macarons.

  9. Carol Sacks January 11, 2012 at 14:33 #

    Great post, Mardi! Look forward to baking together next month.

  10. Geoff January 11, 2012 at 16:33 #

    I think the trick with baking bread at home is always to make a small enough loaf. Too large and you end up wasting it and we hate to do that.
    I’m not quite sure how small you could make a loaf, but I suppose the smallest loaf might be a bun. Love good bread. Nice, informative pics, Mardi.

  11. Eliot January 11, 2012 at 20:24 #

    I love to bake bread, but hate to knead it. In fact, I have not kneaded anything since I got my KitchenAid. Your bread looks fabulous!!!!

  12. penny aka jeroxie January 12, 2012 at 06:01 #

    I love baking bread but it really needs a lot of patience and love. I don’t! LOL

  13. Hanaa January 12, 2012 at 14:07 #

    Wow, kudos for your perseverance!! Both boules look great and I can definitely see more holes in the second one. Good to know that the extra water addition was needed. I’m thinking of making this bread too. It looks wonderful.
    If you’re a big Abby Dodge fan, you might want to check out my monthly baking group, ABC. In 2012 we’re baking from The Weekend Baker. Our February recipe is the Glazed Cinnamon Rolls, perfect for honing those yeast-baking skills. Here’s the info: http://avidbakerschallenge.blogspot.com/p/about-abc.html. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Hanaâ
    HanaasKitchen.blogspot.com

  14. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) January 12, 2012 at 16:38 #

    Hmmm….I’m not sure I’m up for another year-long cooking challenge but I would like to try some new breads.

    I find that humidity plays a good role in yeast bread baking – sometimes the flour can absorb more or less water based on the ‘weather’ conditions in the house.

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 12, 2012 at 16:55 #

    Lovely! Never again are you allowed to tell me that you can’t bake with yeast. Just so you know. :)

  16. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 13, 2012 at 01:08 #

    I loved making this bread too – and yours came out just beautiful! I love the crumb you got on yours. Congrats!!

  17. cat January 14, 2012 at 09:38 #

    beautiful loaf of bread! this seems the perfect thing to work on perfecting this time of year. nothing like a house smelling of warm, freshly baked bread – i think it’s a winter thing. can’t wait to see what you bake next!

  18. Alicia January 15, 2012 at 18:12 #

    This bread was the yummiest. The chicken and veggies were great but you’d just had this lovely warm bread and cheese I would have been content to tuck it away as a very satisfying lunch all on its own. Very tasty!

  19. Renee - Kudos Kitchen January 17, 2012 at 04:41 #

    Good for you Mardi. Glad you tried the loaf a second time. You’re becoming quite the bread baker! Yay you!

  20. Sarah, Maison Cupcake January 17, 2012 at 05:28 #

    They both look very appealing, I wonder what the sandwiches were like?

    Happy New Year xx

  21. Karen Harris January 18, 2012 at 18:22 #

    Your loaves both look delicious. It is a great recipe. I can’t wait to have a reason to make it again. I am so jealous of you and your macarons. They are definitely on my “To Make” list.

  22. Kate @ FoodBabbles January 20, 2012 at 13:54 #

    Your final loaf looks amazing!!! I’m so glad you had success with it. So yummy! You and I are in the same club with being “yeast challenged” but I’m glad that we both overcame that this month!

  23. Lisa | Dust with Flour January 31, 2012 at 21:13 #

    I’m glad you included both loaves of bread in the photo for comparison. I agree that panzanella would be a good use for the first loaf.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 09:42 #

      Yes well next time I make a loaf and it’s not quite perfect, I will definitely make panzanella!

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