Bread made with wild yeast captured last summer, following a recipe in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant. Ever since last fall, I was having difficulty getting the bread to taste sweet rather than sour. In November, I came closer but it was still unmistakably sour and the bread was only good with very strong stews and hearty soups.
While the bread was rising, I placed 3 heart shaped cookie cutters on top to etch a design into the bread. Instead of removing them just before baking, I left them there for the first half of the baking and removed them when turning them around to account for uneven heat in the oven. (see the etched stars created on an earlier loaf)
The other loaf was slashed with a serrated knife just before being put in the oven.
We are still having some problems with the oven temperature. I don't know if it is because of fixing the oven or if it is because I have been using silpat rather than parchment paper. Luckily, this darkness does not have any burnt flavour or aroma.
The bread really was outstanding. Wonderfully crisp and chewy on the outside and light and open-holed inside.
Closer view of the crumb
We sliced the heart stamped bread first, leaving the other loaf intact. Just in case one loaf was enough for six people. Ha. Maybe enough for six regular people but not enough for six hogs. We ended up finishing all but one slice of both loaves. The bread was fabulous with goulash, steamed green beans and beet salad.
(See photos of this bread with olives)
When the national newspaper "the Globe & Mail" asked if they could send someone to photograph me making bread, I was thrilled. After waffling around about what kind of bread I'd make, I decided to show off and make wild bread. Deborah Baic arrived at about 10:00am and took many photos as I measured flour, stirred, kneaded and offered previously made multigrain bread. Silly me, I didn't think to ask her if I could see the proofs she took and this is the only online version I have from the day - gleaned from the published article online. It also appeared on the front page of the Life Section.
This is the photo that appeared on the second page of the article. I was "stretching and folding" the dough.
Detail showing multigrain bread and hamburger buns
Deborah couldn't stay (of course) to photograph the resulting bread, nor could she return that evening or the next morning because she (lucky her) was flying to France that evening. Here is the bread that I baked that day: