I needed to send a link to my blog yesterday and then felt so bad about neglecting my pet project. I love baking and I take photos so often while I'm baking with having every intention of blogging about it, but I never seem to get around to it. How is that possible?
So, last night I was baking my husband's favorite bread and decided I had to take photos. I even decided to use the real camera instead of the iPhone which is always in my pocket at the ready. And what happened? My husband forgot to turn off the camera when he uploaded the birthday pictures from Sunday and drained the battery! Ugh! I almost decided not to take any photos, but then said, "What the heck" the iPhone has worked thus far, even though it's the older 3GS phone with the way inferior camera - what is one more photo shoot? And really, it did the job fine.
Last night I made, once again the Pan de Campagne bread. My husband got all excited when he saw the bannetons out. Forgot what those are or have no idea what I'm talking about? Here's a link about bannetons: http://fantes.com/brotforms.html. They are also called proofing baskets or brotforms.
It's funny that this is his favorite of the breads I make. I make it because it's my favorite bread at Whole Foods that they sell. I've mentioned it before that they make one HUGE loaf and then sell it by weight/sections. One quarter of a loaf sells for $6 or so. And it's taken me a gazillion tries to finally get it right. It seems like such a simple bread, but it does need some finessing.
I have no idea why it sells for a gazillion dollars at Whole Foods. As for ingredients, it's one of the simplest and cheapest. It really is only whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, water, salt and yeast. That's it. The only reason I think it might be pricier is that it takes longer to make. It's not exactly a sourdough, but it does have a preferment that needs to sit/ferment for at least 4 hours. Then you make the rest of the dough, let that rise a couple hours. Then mold it and let it rise again for a couple of hours and then finally bake. Perhaps it's the preferment that is where they factor in the cost. I'm going to guess with their sourdoughs, that they don't make their own sourdough in the store and just use a scoop of it as needed - feeding it on schedule to keep it day to day, week to week, but with this bread, the pan de campagne, you have to make a new preferment every single time.
I'm guessing here. I don't know why it's so expensive. Maybe I'll ask one of these times, but it is one of my favorites and I've finally learned how to do it correctly. Now, next time, I'm going to make a different variation of this bread, the pan de campagne honfleur just to see how it differs in taste and complexity.
But you want to see the finished product, right? (Maybe next time I'll take some "while rising shots"). Here are the two loaves straight from the oven (and as always, click on the photo to see it larger):
Here is the round loaf up close:
My husband couldn't resist the bread last night so as soon as it wasn't burning hot, he cut into it. Here is the oval loaf inside. Pretty crumb:
And then this is what he loves - the crust. It gets a really nice crust. When I was taking pictures of it I could hear the crust crackling as it cooled. And here you can see it. Yum! Yum!
These were done about 10:30 pm last night. As of this morning (and not everyone ate it), there is only a quarter of the oval loaf left! My husband chose this bread over leftover birthday cake last night! So, I guess it is worth the effort, even if I don't eat bread any more!
Tomorrow, and I will post tomorrow, I will show my son's birthday cake and the cake that inspired my son's birthday cake. There's a tale to it too, of course! Can't believe my little boy turned seven!