Over a year and a half ago I decided that I wanted to bake all of my own bread. Before that I had been eating a combination of store bought bread, bread maker bread, and the occasional loaf of bread from the oven. I was armed with two of Peter Rienhart's bread books and felt that I could fit fresh homemade bread into my weekly routine without too much hassle.
Since then I have baked a good portion of the recipes from both The Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) and Artisan Breads Everyday (ABE) . The breads in ABE fit seamlessly into my schedule because most of the doughs are mixed up the day before and rise in the fridge overnight. I would get home from work, shape the loaves, let them rise, and bake them in the evening.
The more bread you bake the more you start understanding how the dough should feel and how it will react to substitutions and adjustments. Now I usually play around with recipes to add more whole grains or change the flavor.
I go through phases with the types of bread I like to bake and lately I've only been interested in whole grains or breads that I can turn into multigrain loaves. However this loaf that I've been baking lately is delicious (and beautiful) enough to lure me away from whole grains for a week or two.
It's 100% semolina bread that bakes up soft and golden and delicious. I had never used semolina before and I couldn't be more pleased with how this loaf turned out.
The recipe is from the The Fresh Loaf forums and I won't be posting it here because I really wouldn't change a thing. If you see some durum semolina flour buy it and try this recipe, it makes white bread interesting again.
Recipe here: 100% Semolina Sandwich Loaf
The other bread that I'm still using white flour for is sourdough. I have only been baking sourdough for a few months and there is so much to learn that I can see why people become completely obsessed. It's a whole different hobby than baking up a few sandwich loaves a week.
My sourdough starter is 100% whole wheat and its loaded with happy little yeasty beasties. I feed it a few times a week and it lives in my fridge the rest of the time. I started with a whole wheat seed culture because of a specific recipe but it has managed to stay alive and healthy so I have just maintained it as whole wheat instead of converting it to a white flour starter.
So far my loaves have been medium sour with large holes but my shaping and scoring need a lot more practice. As tempting as it is to buy more bread books (more bread books... moooore) I'm relying on information from the fresh loaf and other online places.
Sourdough is extra work and has a bit of a learning curve. Making my weekly two (or three) sandwich loaves is now a comforting habit while making sourdough feels more like an adventure because I'm still not sure how it will turn out. The extra effort is so worth it though for that extra flavor packed into each loaf.
I love hearing about what bread other people are baking. When someone mentions that they made bread I can't stop myself from asking them "what recipe did you use? Can I see a picture? do you have a crumb shot??(need to see that crumb shot!)". So I thought it was only fair to share what types of loaves have been in my oven over the last couple weeks.