When I first bought a KitchenAid mixer, I was all over bread baking. Totally addicted. But my inability to make a super crusty bread with a super squishy inside caused a brief bread baking hiatus. And then I re-discovered the ever-popular New York Times bread recipe and figured it was high time to bake some bread again.
But this time around, it was going to be different. You see… I’ve learned some new tricks, some new cheats, and I’m less afraid than ever to use them. Like “helping out” rising dough. I heated my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest it would go) and then turned it off. When it lowered to about 100 degrees, I set my covered dough bowl in there for two hours.
When I removed the dough from the oven, I knew there was a possibility that I messed something up, big time. But when I saw that the small, sticky dough turned into a huge dough monster, it was oh so apparent that assisting the dough was totally ok.
This recipe yielded 4 loaves, which was a perfect way to fit a little experimenting in. I made one large traditional loaf, one round loaf in a ceramic cast iron, and another loaf brushed with egg whites in a ceramic cast iron. The most beautiful loaf, which I have yet to cut in to because it’s that beautiful, was the traditional loaf. And the loaf with the best crust was the egg white loaf.
Next time, I plan on coating the traditional loaf with egg whites halfway through the baking process. And next time… I’ll be adding fresh herbs and cutting the recipe in half. Because nobody, and I mean nobody, needs multiple loaves of crusty, squishy bread in their kitchen at one time.