Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I spent the weekend baking bread. I promised pictures, but I was way too busy to take any. I made two loaves of Royal Crown Tortano from Maggie Gleazer's Aritsan Baking book, and six loaves of my own daily bread recipe. It took all day, and the really tricky part is remembering the timing for all those different batches.

The Royal Crown Tortano is a fantastic bread, a huge, round, donut-shaped loaf with a dark golden crust that's not too crunchy, and a soft, well-structured crumb full of big holes. (I know, I need to take pictures). It calls for potato, honey, and a starter you make the night before. While it takes a LOT of time (you pretty much have to be home all day), it actually requires very little hands-on work. And while the dough is wet compared to your standard sandwich loaf, for an artisanal loaf it's relatively easy to work with, and forgiving of mistakes. And it's delicious, and lasts for a few days before drying out. I highly recommend this bread, it's one of my favorites.

Although this makes a really large loaf, I had no trouble mixing up a double recipe in my Kitchenaid stand mixer (note - I have a professional size - don't try it in one of the standard sized ones). I then had to stagger the rising and baking times because I can only bake one at a time. In the meantime, I did two large batches of basic bread for a total of 6 loaves.

The reason I made so many is that I'm freezing them, now that we have our fantastic freezer. This is working out great - I dobule-wrap them in plastic and stick them in the freezer after they cool off from the oven. Then when we need some bread, we turn on the oven, put in a frozen loaf, cover it with an aluminum roasting pan, and voila. Fresh-tasting bread, with a crispy crust.

So far I've only done it with my daily bread, but I've just tried it with the tortano, so we'll see how that turns out.

No comments: