Egg Harbor Bread, from the Amish (provenance somewhere in Wisconsin)

IMG_20130224_143125_739Today’s bread is lighter and more airy. That’s because it calls for a whopping 6 (six) rising periods over the course of the day. The first one is 30 minutes. Then there are 4 successive 15 minute rising periods, and finally, a last 50 minute rising period in the pan before going in to the oven.

It’s a very satisfying bread, both because you feel accomplished once you’ve completed all those risings, and because it has a light, elegant texture. I noticed that each time I punched the dough down, there were more bubbles that had to be deflated. Before going in to the oven, I simply brushed the top of the loaf with plain water.

As you can see, someone got to the bread before I could, with my camera. But that attests to its great taste and appeal. Page 24 from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads!

A Daily Loaf, Bernard Clayton

Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of BreadsI need some sort of regular, yet stimulating routine to keep me going through this dreary mid-to-late Northeast Kingdom winter. Something apart from the exciting peaks and valleys of law practice. Today, the answer came to me while I was poring over Bernard Clayton’s classic tome: The (New) Complete Book of Breads. It’s a volume that never fails to inspire me, where I always find some interesting recipe or piece of information about baking. Until now, though I’ve just chosen a few recipes here and there that seemed to work for me. But today, I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind.

Admittedly my plan isn’t terribly original. Those of you who have seen the fabulous film Julie & Julia will remember how the contemporary Julie, inspired and obsessed by Julia Child, decided to make every recipe in The French Chef–and to blog about it. I’ll never forget the scene when the contemporary Julie has a meltdown in her kitchen after a failed attempt and lies prone on the floor, sobbing.

I’m going to see if I can actually make a loaf of bread each day. That might be unrealistic. But at the very least, I will try to get through every single recipe in Mr. Clayton’s book and see what happens.

In the oven as we speak is Mr. Clayton’s recipe for Cuban Bread, pages 23-24.

Here is what it’s supposed to look like. Wish me luck!IMG_3261