The Wood-Fired Blog

Slightly Less Challenging Bread

Some people like crusty, nutty, tangy, chewy bread. You can count me as one of them.

But not everybody is the same, and as the household baker, I am held accountable to the standards of my constituents — the family. And if I go too far down the path toward hearty, challenging bread (and if you throw in a mistake here and there), my eaters will start to become leery, and stop eating my bread. You can see it coming — “who wants toast with breakfast?”. And no hands go up.

Which leads me to challenging foods. Off the top of my head, I can think of two wonderful foods which have a “challenging” scale — sushi and cheese. Many (many) years ago, very early in my Silicon Valley career, I worked for a Japanese computer company and took a “getting to know you” trip to Tokyo to meet the managers, where I came face to face with serious sushi. It was nothing compared with the shopping mall sushi that we have all become accustomed to. There was some pretty crazy stuff, and I often found myself wondering, “what the heck is that? A fish or plant?” But over time, learned to love it.

Equally, there is the world of chevre’s and very ripe aged cheese. In a typical French cheese plate, the restaurant will help you develop your palate by starting you off with fresher, younger cheeses and then bringing you along for the ride to where you are enjoying the strongest cheese.

So, that’s my plan. I am going to throttle back a little bit on my bread and bring everybody along a little more slowly. Here is a less challenging loaf.

You can’t tell from the photo, but this bread doesn’t have seeds or nuts or lots of extra whole grains. It is 80% whole wheat, 15% white whole wheat and 5% AP flour, with 20% oat bran, 80% hydration, 4% honey, 2% olive oil, salt and yeast. It doesn’t have any of the heavy stuff.

The bread on the left is my less challenging loaf. I think you can see that it’s a little lighter, but compared with supermarket bread it tastes great and it’s fully of really good ingredients.

We’ll see how it goes.

Well, that and I am going to start experimenting with Rye flour. Hopefully I can do that without breaking the challenging food scale.

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