It's been a while since I have baked bread so I was glad at the opportunity to do so for today's TWD. I think the last time I made a loaf of bread was when I was in the professional kitchen and I think it was safe to say I'm a little rusty. I used to bake several loaves a day and could recite the recipes in my sleep. First glance upon the recipe in Baking With Julia, it seemed straight forward enough. Well let's just say, rusty, was a good choice of words, and I ended up having to make it twice.
The first go around I cut the recipe in half and used molasses instead of malt extract since that's what I had. I found the dough too moist and a bit difficult to work with. It got a decent rise but not what I was expecting. It definitely didn't look like the loaves I was used to making. With that being said, the flavor and crumb was nice and it smelled fabulous. It was delicious toasted and topped with some heirloom tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
I decided to give it another try this time making the full recipe and got some malt syrup to see how much of a difference it made from the molasses. The dough was still stickier than I would have liked even after adding the extra two tablespoons of flour as suggested in the book. I proceeded anyways and found that the malt syrup did not affect the outcome of the bread too much and I think I might prefer the aroma from the molasses batch. It didn't get that nice rounded top I was hoping for either but it was still pretty perfect on the interior and was really great toasted with honey.
I will definitely be baking this wheat bread again as it was quite good and I like the texture. There really is no better smell than fresh bread in the oven and I definitely missed it. Maybe next time I will add some seeds or nuts.....For the recipe head on over to Veggie Num Nums or The Family That Bakes Together or on page 83 of Baking With Julia.