Monday, September 29, 2014

The breadmaker's rustic loaf

I suppose when you take hiatuses for as long as I do, you kind of lose any existing writer's edge, while veering in and out of funks, even if your aim be not such. Here and there, you nod off at the keyboard, eating whole bags of potato chips (no frets, they're the baked ones) counterproductive to this whole eat and tell show. The monologue that was supposed to have seen light two and half weeks ago, gets deferred in publishing because one completely forgets how to form sentences. Ahh, where is the quality editorial I strive for?

Anyhoo, I needed my prompt, maybe some boosting inspiration. By the way, repetitive watching of Rocky's motivational training circuit will never get old, a must-mention after powering through my ten year old's seven disc La Saga Completa. I was ready to fly.

So, I shall cut to the day's chase. Which involves the following true story and the above visual. Yes, that overbearing easilyfeeds10people loaf sessioning on your technicolor screen was over 80% diminished 2 hours into a particular home-from-school racket. I think I've mentioned a few sequences ago the enticement starch holds over this household, so it should by no means knock your socks off when hearing that my two junior people eat their weight in leavened flour. 

Further, I must make mention a few salient features of making bread. Not only is it the best air freshener ever; there is The Calm, a preciously therapeutic something that  happens on encountering scattered singular elements inputting together to be part of an expanded, delicious smelling whole. In our kitchen it is a recurring theme, featuring more than any other in BFMK chronicles, page after page of elastic gluten being twistedknottedflattenedstuffed, weaved, and fried. Clearly, I do spend more time with thoughts of flour and yeast conclusions. But really, when life gives you a bread maker, what else do you do?

Which brings me to Collosas, my fail-me-knot beast companion. He entertains me endlessly with more than twenty options and several preprogrammed settings, assembling the perfect loaf each and everytime. His no-fail track record for kneading, beating and leavening liquid and dry agents into glorious forms of dough is impressive, all done with zero complaints. Ahem, this is in no way a setup for unfair and biased machine- human comparisons. Though, one can wish.

I learned 4 years and about 60 recipes ago that it is a solid, standard source for good recipe building. With a database of mostly home cooks, there is treasure amidst those no-nonsense pages and pictures that desire possibly more light. It impressed me deeply that this particular contribution ranked beyond all others, numbering one on wikisearch, a solid five stars decorated to its page, complete with a whopping 151 reviewers. 

Novice bakers and those minus a loafcrafting kitchen appliance, the sequence should in no way intimidate you. According to Commenters One, Two and Three, the same blueprint, with very few tweaks can be pulled and formed in regular stand mixers. Identical results may also happen with diligent hands and a bit of elbow grease if you're ambitious.

To classify this as mere bread would be grave injustice. Possessing all the attributes of Spectacular Leavened Glory, moreso as it shines further, having the bakerystyle rugged-encrusting that satisfyingly plays into an airy softerthansclouds midsection. 

So what makes and why is this so fantastic? Possibly the cornmeal dust ensuring a stonehearth texture. Just about here I'll ask you to peek down to last point on our ingredient list. Spritzing water from a bottle over the top entirety of the loaf might be what secures that much envied crisp, a legendary outcome from great bakehouse ovens. The science behind will fascinate, though my Artsmajor head barely muffled over the whole mist to vapor spiel. Summarised, it goes like this; waterspritzing  mid bake will and should delay the cooking process, and its steam allows for a porous, gorgeously beaming and crackly crust. The excellent form, with an impressively light, springychew will be this wonderful loaf's endnote.

Country style. Artisan. Rustic. Italian. So it shall be whatever fits right with you.

Get ready to pat yourself on the back. With floured hands.

(Adapted from
  • 1 c warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 c bread flour
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • handful cornmeal to sprinkle on baking sheet
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp oats to sprinkle over loaf
  • clean water in a clean spray bottle
  • Add the water, oil, flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the order suggested by the bread maker manual.
  • Program the machine for dough and  press start.
  • When the cycle is complete, the dough should form a soft ball, not too sticky or stiff. If not hand knead with additional flour or water, as necessary.
  • Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. If you plan to leave it longer than 30, turn dough out into an oiled bowl, keep covered and refrigerate for upto half a day. Warning:it may ferment to more than triple size.
  • After its rest period, deflate dough, form into an elongated loaf or round ball. Place seam side down on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Cover lightly with the towel and allow to rise for another 25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 375° F.
  • After the second rise, gently create 2 or 3 crosshatch/slashes over the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or pizza wheel. Might deflate the loaf a bit, but the oven's heat should spring it back to life :-D
  • Brush with the egg white and sprinkle oats over the loaf's top.
  • Bake at 30-35 minutes, opening the oven 2 times midbake to lightly spritz water over loaf's top and oven sides. Don't overdo it with a heavy hand. All you need are a few quick sprays.
  • Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. 
Sidenote~ I'm all for slicing once cooled, but really the luxury of tearing off chunks of just-from-the-oven bread can't be beat.

School's in routine, and this year the two are driven to an actual building instead of being present at our kitchen table. So, with those spare bits of free time, I intend to work at clocking in, with regular intervals of my editorial bits, hopefully my own definition of regular will ride along the same lines as yours;-D Thank you.
"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22
Give it to Jesus. Only He redeems, recharges, restores, renews. I should know. He dazzles me time and again with His amazing grace, healing power and kind compassion. So much so, that as I fretted on how, He abled me to sit through and type the very words that fill this end of September post.


  1. Love the new look of the blog... good job, dear! :) Please don't take such long breaks, keep missing you in action... the bread looks delicious...

  2. I love my bread maker! Your bread looks super, Tisa.

  3. What a beautiful loaf, a perfect golden colour! :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Please come back soon with a fab post..This looks very tempting and nicely puffed up,loved the room freshner vey much ;)

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!