Thursday, August 13, 2009

Italian Bread (Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge)

I haven't seen Julie & Julia yet because I want to read the book before I see the movie, but I've read enough about it to know that it's based on a true story of a gal who cooked and blogged her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I can't help but see the similarities as I bake and blog my way through Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. Stepping way, way outside my comfort zone, I've learned terms, technology and techniques that I'd never have learned had I not jumped into the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge with both feet running.

I didn't know until recently that Julia Child was in her mid-thirties before she even considered culinary school. Now I'm over that by more years than I want to admit, but the bottom line is that it's never to late to discover a new passion. And for that newly found passion, I'd like to thank Nicole from Pinch My Salt for organizing and making this whole challenge possible.

This week's Italian bread recipe was as much of a delight to eat as it was a PITA to work with. I struggled with this dough, people. It turns out that I'm as batard challenged as I am braid challenged (think Challah bread.) I don't know if my dough was too wet or if I over-proofed it, but I had a heck of a time shaping this dough into rolls. I was disappointed in how they looked coming out of the oven but when I took my first bite, I knew I'd struck pay dirt. The flavor was amazing! I took Mr. Reinhart's suggestion of using milk instead of water since I knew I wanted a softer roll. And here's why:

Meat loaf subs! Think meat ball subs only with flat meat instead of round. Slices of my famous meatloaf (recipe to follow next week,) pepper jack and provolone cheese, lettuce, and some meatloaf sauce (recipe also to follow next week,) on a fresh Italian hoagie. Grill it and enjoy. Best grilled sandwich I've had this year!

22 comments:

Ms Dyan said...

smovie is hilarious..bfead and hoagie is mouth watering!

Mags said...

Ms Dyan: So glad you commented! And I'm jealous that you've already seen the movie. Did you have to arm wrestle Phil into taking you?

Cindy said...

Good for you for persevering with this difficult dough. I have not made it yet, but thanks for the warning. That panini sandwich is unbelievably gorgeous. Wow!!

Pete Eatemall said...

The book and the movie are great for different reasons!! I really have to start eating meat again so I can eat a meatloaf hoagie...OMG! I am working on this bread soon...so temptimg...Thank you! Happy baking!

Moogie said...

It was the witching hour and all were safely tucked into their beds. But one person still remained awake. Like a mad-scientist she sat hunched over her kitchen table, knuckles clicking wildly as she kneaded the bread dough, panini grill glowing red hot in the meager light of the flickering candle. A flash of lightning, a boom of thunder, and a sinister laugh could be heard when she finished her creation.

"It's delicious!!!!"

Jenn said...

What beautiful bread! Looks soooo good!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Jenn @ Watch My Butt Shrink!

Mags said...

Cindy: Good luck with your Italian bread attempt!

Pete: And good luck with your Italian bread attempt as well!

Moogie: You may call me Dr. Magenstein.

Jenn: Thank you for stopping by!

June said...

Is there something you can't do so I don't feel so inferior? LOL - The bread looks amazing, crumb & crust...oh geez, but that meatloaf panini has got my mouth watering and it's only 7:30 in the morning. Now I'm sure that would cure a "wineover".

Mags said...

June: There are only two things I can't do. Sew and throw a ball. How are you at those? (I'd better not see you wearing a homemade softball uniform on your blog.)

Jackie at PhamFatale.com said...

I'm in awe. Beautiful airy dough. I'm getting hungry. I love bread!

Mags said...

Jackie: Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Your Italian Bread looks SO good! I've been putting off buying that book, but I don't know, I might just have to now. I want to make that bread.

Baked Alaska said...

Your bread looks so good. It just might be time to buy that cookbook now!

Mags said...

Anon and Baked Alaska: Yes, you must buy this book... NOW! (thanks for commenting)

misterrios said...

I totally love the rustic look of the loaves. Of course, you don't have to make perfect batards to make perfect bread. It still looks awesome! I have my biga in the fridge right now ready to be made into Italian Bread. Already feeling inspired to make it!

Mags said...

misterrios: You're going to LOVE the Italian bread's flavor.

Frieda said...

I like the term 'rustic' myself! The shaping and slashing do come with practice, as I'm still learning myself~
PR is all about flavor...not looks and this bread is a winner. I'm glad someone else made torpedoes besides me!

http://tinyurl.com/ng6hwl

Kelly said...

Mags, your sandwich looks AMAZING. OMG, I want one right now and it's 9:08 am. I'm continually impressed with your breads, week after week. Bravo!

Mags said...

Frieda: I agree, it's all about the taste and PR definitely knows how to develop it.

Kelly: Thanks for you kind comments!

Mustang Terri said...

You had me laughing girl. When I read that the bread dough was a pita... I know what that means and I just had to LOL. Great looking bread.

Mags said...

Terri: Thanks! Are you still in the challenge? I keep checking your blog and wondering if you're still with us.

Mustang Terri said...

Yes, Mags, I am still in the challenge. Just took two weeks off to go and visit New England, Eat a lot of seafood and enjoy the in-laws. I'm back and baking again. Your meatloaf panini looks great. I have to get the recipe. DH would love that one.