The breads are turning out to be pretty tasty, though not always pretty. We often use them for lunch-time sandwiches, or I'll just eat a hunk with butter or cheese for a snack. But I've still been bothered by the shape of my loaves--or lack of it. That's why, when I recently won a blog contest for a CSN gift certificate, I decided to use it to get some bread-making gear I'd been coveting since the beginning of this project. (Thanks ValleyWriter! I know I was thinking of a pasta maker, but I was so excited to find CSN stocks bannetons!)
Here are the 2 bannetons (or "brotforms," aka bread molds) that I got--one round and one long/oval. My dough is rising in the background.
For my first banneton experiment, I decided to put the entire batch of dough into the long/oval one to see what it would look like. The idea is to dust the banneton with lots of flour, set the dough to rise (seam upright, if you make a seam), then dump it out right-side-up on the baking sheet.
Here's my shaped dough on the baking sheet. The flour in the banneton makes a pretty pattern on the dough.
Then I slashed it with my dedicated box cutter. (Still gotta get one of those fancy bread blades.)
Here's the baked loaf. It was kind of huge, but I really liked the shape! Also see that gigantic wire rack it's resting on? Another purchase with my CSN prize! (It is LOAVELY. <--That was a typo, but I left it.)
Here's the loaf sliced for another view of the shape. Good size for sandwiches.
This is a different batch where I used both bannetons (the long one was not quite as full this time). I also used 2/5 whole wheat flour here, my first use of anything but King Arthur All-Purpose. The whole wheat experiment was OK, but it's not the same moist, sandwich-ready bread that we've gotten used to. I do want to get that fiber in there though. Maybe 1/5 whole wheat next time.
Final note: I just finished Michael Ruhlman's book The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America. I highly recommend it to anyone curious about what it's like to go to cooking school. I went to cooking school myself once, though a shorter program than the Culinary Institute of America's. Anyway, reading about the exacting nature and professionalism of the Culinary's chefs and students reminded me how much of an amateur newbie I am when it comes to bread baking. Trust me, I know this. But I enjoy sharing my little experiments with you anyway. Thanks for reading them!