I wish I could say I made this bread . I think I almost made it because it was baked in my oven, even if my sister Irene was the one who prepared the dough down to the very last step. That counts for something, right? But seriously, isn't this bread beautiful? And it tastes amazing, with a soft and bubbly interior and a crunchy, chewy crust.
We have been experimenting with making nicer artisan bread around here (last week it was this recipe, highly recommended by my sister the baker, which did turn out very nicely). And here are a few of the tricks of the trade I've noticed:
- Use a recipe that requires an overnight rise along with additional proofing.
- Throw some water in your (very hot) oven during the first few minutes of baking-- this makes the crust very chewy.
- Bake your bread on a hot stone. Irene actually uses a tile she purchased from Home Depot for some very small amount of money, like $3, and it seems to work well (although occasionally will crack).
- Use a starter. If only I could keep one alive. Oh well.