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Bittman bread/Lahey Loaf--pix and questions


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Home Cooking 17

Bittman bread/Lahey Loaf--pix and questions

rose water | Jan 4, 2007 08:28 PM

Okay, so I have a good job. I'm a heart-bleeding, saving the world kind of gal. And I have a good life. But nothing has given me more of a sense of accomplishment in the past couple weeks than baking this bread. I am so excited that I can make bread so crusty and tasty and pretty. It's gorgeous! Look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rose_wat...
And I made that!

The cool thing about this bread (besides the shatteringly crisp crust, and how tasty it is, and how gorgeous it is, and the sense of accomplishment, and its overall majestic greatness) is its simplicity. It takes virtually no active prep time, and very few ingredients.

In case you have managed to not be swept up in this, the original recipe is:


The modifications I've made:
-- Increase salt to about 2 teaspoons
-- One cup whole wheat flour and two cups all purpose
-- One and half cups of water (as they mention on the video, in contrast to the printed recipe, which calls for 1 5/8)
-- Put floured saran wrap on the towel for the second rise. (Even with a very well floured cotton towel, this very wet dough sticks to the towel otherwise)
--Dust the bottom with corn meal or wheat bran (the bran is tastiest)

My favorite variation has been to add 1⁄2 cup of kalamata olives, about 2 tbsp fresh rosemary and a tablespoon of dry thyme, which I do right at the beginning. They distribute pretty well, and gravity doesn't suck them down.

Be sure to watch the video, which you can find at:

In case that link doesn’t work, you can access the
video through a link on the side of the article here:

My questions are:
1. What other variations have you tried? I've tried dried cranberries and walnuts--okay, but not great. I've also been thinking about sourdough and dark chocolate.
2. Who can direct me through the very basics of sourdough?
3. People have talked about the dough springing up in the oven. Mine doesn't. I'm using a 6.5 quart pot (I think) and have had generally flat/wide results. I tried a second rise in a small bowl, which resulted in a taller boule, without much of a change in texture/flavor. Other ideas?

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