Test Kitchen - Peasant Boule Bread

My mother was looking through my blog one day and noticed that I've been baking a lot lately.  "Do you eat dessert everyday??" she asked.  No doubt, she was expressing some concern over my waistline.  Growing up, dessert was not a ritual that my family practiced.  Partly because we always had Korean for dinner and dessert isn't really a cultural practice in Korea and partly because my parents are health nuts.  That's not to say that we never had any baked goodness around the house but it was always with mindful moderation.  Last week, I thought I'd take my mom's cue by branching out from sweet treats and into the one area of baking that I've been actively avoiding for years: breads.
Seemingly complicated and finicky, breads have always scared me and I always passed them over in favor of simpler and sweeter cakes and cookies.  Honestly, the biggest reason why I've avoided making breads is because yeast has always been a kind of mystery to me.  I just don't understand yeast.  It grows in certain temperatures, but dies when its stirred too much, too soon.  I could never really get it. 

Then I saw this recipe for peasant boule in 'The Weekend Baker' that seemed harmless enough.  Actually, it was super easy.  The hardest part was having the patience to wait for the dough to rise.  But in the end I managed and after about 2 hours, ended up with a mound of dense, buttery bread.  While I normally like heartier breads, I had envisioned something different for this recipe and couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.  Our theory is that I didn't knead the dough enough in the beginning.  I plan to test this speculation later this week when we finish this loaf, but until then, we'll be filling up on what I call our "yeasty cornbread."


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