The book has several recipes for a few different versions including a basic bread, and versions with dried fruit and walnuts.
The one I recall having when I was in grade school was served around Easter, and the dough is braided around 3 hard boiled eggs that are dyed bright red. After it bakes, when you pull the bread apart, you see that the dye leaches into the dough and turns the bread bright red in those areas.
I opted for the basic version of the bread, and a poolish ferment for a starter since I didn't have any barm on hand. My intent, once my barm is made and lively is to remake this bread again.
Relatively easy to put together. A poolish is best with at least one night in the fridge, so I planned time to do that.
The rest of the ingredients came together rather easily using the KitchenAid. By hand, I read that it can take a bit to mix the poolish through, but the mixer's paddle had no trouble.
Kneading was interesting. The dough needed at least half a cup more flour, and I probably could have gotten the dough more stable with even more flour kneaded in. In the end, it was a little sticky yet, but I opted to go with it anyways. I believe it helped create problems when I had to shape the dough later, but more on that in a bit.
Rising was beautiful. The poolish worked really well. It was easily doubled in the hour allotted for the rise.
Baking was quick. I've taken to using temp guides to know when my bread is ready and it seems to be working really well. I flipped at the 20 minute mark and then checked temp about 15 mins later and it was ready to go.
I mixed up the recommended glaze, but I suspect I overdid it. Or something didn't quite work in how I assembled the glaze because it dried really sticky. The bread turned out really wonderful, but it's fun to hold and cut without getting glaze all over my hands.
It has a very spicy but not exceptionally sweet flavor with the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg in the dough. The glaze adds a nice but limited sweetness.
Overall, this is the first bread I've ever baked with a nice soft crumb and crust. I'm very pleased with the leavening and the gluten and really am happy with my progress.
Next time: Bagels!
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