twd: baking with julia: white loaves

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´╗┐´╗┐today is the start of a fun new project for me: tuesdays with dorie. i'm one of more than 300 food bloggers who are going to bake their way through a cookbook: baking with julia by dorie greenspan.

i've been wanting to up my baking game, and this is goign to be a great way to try recipes i never would have picked out myself – sweet and savory.

enter this lovely white loaf.

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despite my brief flirtation with challah, i've been in a serious monogamous relationship with jim lahey's no knead bread for the past year or so. it truly is everything i want in a bread. crisp, chewy crust. a french bread-like crumb, but dense and moist.

i was worried this white load would turn out too much like sandwich bread – soft, soft, soft. but it's more like the farmer's loaves ate my year abroad in england, sitting at the table in the student flat's shared kitchen, hoovering down slice after slice with nutella or honey or jam.

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yes, yes i did gain 15 pounds that year. this would be why i ended up chucking most of this loaf in the freezer. save me from myself. amen.

the jim lahey bread is still my go to – including for a friend's cheese tasting party this weekend. it's just so easy to make.

but these loaves have a nice crust on them, a firm dense crumb. they were nearly as easy to put together (although you need either a very serious kitchenaid mixer or arms of steel for the kneading). the bread was tasty straight up, excellent toasted, and maybe even better a day or two later as french toast when the crust starts getting a bit stale.

i went a bit crazy with the photo shoot. i'm sparing you the process shots of dough magnificently rising to the ceiling, taking over my kitchen like the pillsbury dough boy. there's just something so satisfying about a bowl of dough rising like a muffin in the bowl, isn't there?

manchego got in on the action. you know he likes to be in the mix. also, he's a camera whore.

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pensive kitten contemplates the wonder and joy that is freshly baked bread.

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 kitten decides bread is overrated as it is not roasted chicken, turns to magical january tulips.

although, maybe not so magical given this spring-like winter which has duped the daffodils to poke their sunny yellow heads out months early. lovely, but wrong, wrong, wrong.

good thing there's nothing like a slice of toast with orange marmalade to bring you back to the proper season.

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 for the recipe, or to check out all the other great posts, visit tuesdays with dorie.