June 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
The desire to bake can come on suddenly. A passing glance at a certain cookbook, a mouth-watering memory, curiosity or personal challenge can draw me into the kitchen. This time, it was the call of the carb, which is very much like a siren song.
I found Beard on Bread at a quaint bookstore along the equally cozy main street of Blue Ridge, Georgia, while on a trip with my family. Normally, I prefer cookbooks with at least some pictures of the treasures within, but the illustrations in this volume are even better.
Beard’s descriptions before each recipe are a blend of instruction, history, and practice; some of the recipes he includes came about by accident and, as a hit-or-miss bread baker myself, that is a comfort. My mishaps haven’t resulted in anything worth publishing, but knowing such a lauded chef messed up puts me at ease in the pursuit, kind of like seeing the scribbled drafts of your favorite writer’s work.
The joy the above photo gives me is immense. The loaves rose! The dough rose to nearly overflow the bowl on the first rise, and, after separating them into loaves, it did it again. This is no small celebration on my part, as yeast does not always behave for me. When I saw the recipe for Cinnamon Bread, I was intrigued and inspired to make it, mostly because I had some semblance of all the ingredients on hand. I did, however, have to substitute half white wheat flour for the all-purpose called for by the recipe. Best I can tell, it only served to make the loaves darker and a little denser.
The cinnamon is mixed in with the dry ingredients resulting in a subtle flavor throughout each slice, not just a thin swirl like I thought it might be at first glance. Beard advises waiting for the loaves to cool completely before slicing, but who can resist the beckoning aroma that long? Not I.