Friday, September 5, 2008

Deprived of a Loaf of Garlicy Bread

There is a very good reason the average college student strategically avoids eight o'clock classes and continuously grumbles about those their schedule and graduation date force upon them. If any of us were morning people before entering freshman year, it's likely that we've become quite acclimated to hitting the snooze button. All night cram sessions, projects that have been put off and put off some more, and parties keep students awake far too long for them to function shortly after the break of dawn. Stop me now if these stereotypes simply don't fit, and I'll admit I'm just talking about myself.

Yesterday I found myself yawning excessively during class because my body was dreaming of that bed I had left sooner than I wanted to, the bed I didn't get to curl up and fall asleep in until 2:30am.

The pathetic part is that a loaf of bread kept me up.

You would think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but when I set about kneading my biga into the rest of my dough it was 8pm, and I couldn't imagine the entire process of making a rustic country loaf of bread would keep me up past midnight. Oh, was I wrong.

To save you the mundane details of watching the clock tick away necessary intervals of rising, I will just say that my efforts were not in vain. I pulled a beautiful loaf out of the oven, chuckling at what I was going to do with such a massive amount of bread. (It was huge.)

But it was also delicious. I sliced the thing in half the next morning and brought one portion over to a house full of guys, and my roommates and I are still picking away at what's left.

It was an almost foolproof recipe, thanks to the details and specifics that can be depended on from Cook's Illustrated. It would have been even more perfect, if I would buckle down and save enough money for a baking thermometer, spray bottle, and bench scraper (I know these can probably come incredibly cheap, but, hey, I'm a student).

Oh, one last note! I made this recipe my own by roasting a head of garlic beforehand and distributing the cloves on the flattened rectangle of dough just before shaping it into a loaf. It was a delicious touch, but if you choose to do this, I would definitely advise using two heads, to make sure there are at least two cloves in every slice.

Whole Wheat Rustic Italian Bread Recipe

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