As promised, a late-day review of Mark Bittman’s greatest-thing-since-sliced- bread-except-that-I-hate-sliced-bread bread recipe. For what I put into this bread, I was very, very impressed. As you can see from the photos, it baked up almost too well. This is what I got baking it in my oblong 4-quart Le Creuset chicken roaster. Essentially a football:
As you can see it has a nice golden crust, which as advertised is also extremely crispy. Shatter-crispy, as prominsed. Nice little flakes of brittle crust rained down on my cutting board as I sliced it, an oft longed-for (but seldom realized) feature of home baked bread. It also has a nice heft, not too heavy but not especially light either. Inside, the crumb is nice and open as you can also see:
It’s also quite springy and shiny-like, with a not-too-chewy texture. And the flavor is…extremely so-so. Which I have to say is a disappointment, considering another overnight, minimum-effort bread that I love (Peter Reinhart’s pain à l’ancienne) has so much. Ah well, it still has a tad more flavor than the mini baguette I bought from Whole Foods last night (yes, sometimes I buy bread smart guy, what am I superman?). A good bread to make in a pinch, and a great one for people who might be new to home bread baking and are interested in a low-bar success.
It is really and truly hard to go wrong with this recipe. Just don’t make the mistake I did and pick up the pre-heated pot lid without an oven mit on. I was moving fast and fogot it was hot. It hurt. And yes, this is a photo-first for Joe Pastry. I may do more of it.