This week's Bread Baker's Apprentice was a marathon, not a sprint, and a hearth bread, too. I wasn't smart enough to be filled with angst over it, given the miserable fail of my last attempt at a hearth bread. In fact, I interrupted the preparation of this bread so many times, with the dough going in and out of the fridge over a period of days that I wouldn't have been surprised if it failed.
It didn't. It was the ugly duckling of French breads, but it was crisp, deeply flavorful and yes, had holes inside. (imagine me skipping to work the day I made it!) My slashing left a lot to be desired and I mangled it getting it from the cloche on to the baking stone, so it wasn't the most beautiful looking bread, but it was delicious and, yes, authentic. My coworkers loved having fresh French bread for breakfast. Peter Reinhart's steam technique gave it an amazingly crunchy crust. I wish I could speak coherently about this bread, but I'm so blown away by its success that I can't!
The victims after the slashing
Make sure you check out the other members of the Slow & Steady subgroup of the Bread Baker's Apprentice event (and they are Nancy (of Corner Loaf), Cathy (of The Tortefeasor), Audrey (of Food From Books), Jessica (A Singleton in the Kitchen), Melissa (of From Laptop to Stovetop), Kayte (of Grandma's Kitchen Table), Sarah (of Blue Ridge Baker), Di (of Di's Kitchen Notebook), Margaret (of Tea and Scones) and Natalia (of Gatti Fili e Farina). I know they will be able to hold themselves together and describe their breads more eloquently than I am able to.