We all headed for coffee and chats to the lovely and talented Lien in her Kitchen of the Month. Boy, did she pick the perfect recipe for us. A bread to gnaw at our nerve ends, a dough to wrestle and conquer in the broadest sense of the word. We were going Wet and Wild this month. A recipe from Carole Fields the Italian Baker, the wettest of the wet, a nice 107% liquid ratio;
And Carole, bless her white cotton socks, says the following:
"This bread, named for its shape, was dreamed up about thirty years ago by Gianfranco Anelli, a baker in Rome. It is his favorite bread and, judging from the numbers of people who come from all over the city to buy it, it may be his most popular as well. At the bakery it takes two days to make; I suggest that you start it in the morning, work at it again for ten minutes in the evening, and finish the next day. I actually prefer to stretch the process over three days because the flavor is even better. Three days may seem formidable, but the working time of the first two days is only 5 to 10 minutes.
This is one dough that you will find difficult to make without an electric mixer, for it requires thirty minutes of continuous stirring for the final dough-of course you could enlist help. The result is an extremely light bread with a crunchy dark-speckled crust and a very chewy interior. The bread stays fresh for an amazing number of days."
Wasn't shocked by the mentioned three days, not intimidated by the two separate starters, not even terrified by the thirty (30!) minutes stirring by hand (less when you use a stand mixer, but O.M.G... this was no dough, it was soup, the blobbiest of blobs, impossible to shape and fit to be tackled by Uri Geller I think. A mentalist good do some healthy work here to keep this monster at bay! (I do hope Lien is showing her hand magic with two bench scrapers). You can find the recipe in Dutch and in English in her Kitchen.
All I have to show you are these two pics, it disappeared too quickly to take anymore. Besides, I wanted to make it again, thinking I had thoroughly ruined this bread. See, I made the first starter, incorporated the first into the second starter the next day. Building confidence to tackle the dough on the third day. Put it to proof.
And forgot about it.
For several hours.
Only to be reminded by the big bowl in a warm spot in the kitchen at 11 pm! Pyjama-clad all ready for a nice last read in bed.... No way I was going to shape, rise and bake that monster blob that night.
I dumped it rather unceremoniously on a well floured lined baking sheet, performed miracles with two bench scrapers and my hands. (Yuck!!), divided in half and flipped each half over to one side. Then searched for the biggest plastic bag I could find and tented the whole thing. Shoved it in a corner, kissed it goodnight and went to bed..... Knowing all too well that this was going to be a large sticky failure. Already prepping myself I had to do this one again.
So..the next morning I silently tiptoed into the kitchen as to not disturb my croc. Fully expecting it to leash out at me, punishment for severe neglect. What I found was a even larger blob, spread out a bit, but altogether not too bad. Decided to bake it anyway.
Somehow between that first bread, and the hilarious exchanging of mails and forbidden words (do you know how many names this bread got called the past weeks?) I never got around to baking one again. Something got in the way, life perhaps or maybe I just didn't feel capable enough to tackle a croc. Call myself Sheila and get a proper Aussie hat first maybe. For now I feel I'm a Joey.
Oh and I did use my regular bread flour and some durum flour although the recipe asked for high protein flours from hard wheat. I guess I was a bit like Katie; if it can't be baked with what I have...too bad. After all; considering how I mishandled the dough, viewing the gorgeous breads my fellow bakers turned out and seeing what this bread is supposed to look like, I don't think it is too bad.
Please check our Crocodille hunters this month: A Fridge Full of Food (Glenna), Bake My Day (Karen), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn), I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), Lucullian Delights (Ilva), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Thyme of Cooking (Katie), and What Did You Eat (Sher)
Don't forget, you can become a Bread Baking Buddy again this month! How? Read all about it here, or in Dutch here.
To end this -late- post with a bang, let me show you my back side, (sometimes bread does imitate real life):