Bread, Bruschetta, and Brunello

Over the past 4-5 months my bread-making efforts were dismal failures.  The breads did not rise properly, they came out too flat and dense, and I became discouraged, because I was unable to figure out what was wrong.  So I did what any normal person would do: hide.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to tackle the topic again.  This time, instead of using any of the variations of bread formulations which had worked for me previously, I returned to a standard Ken Forkish recipe, Field Blend #2, page 158 in Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast.  I followed the directions precisely, and  — although the timing required was longer — it worked perfectly, and my faith was restored.

Breads proofing in baskets, going in refrigerator overnight:

The next morning I baked the loaves and was happy again.

For the next week or two, we had wonderful Bruschetta on demand (e.g. white bean purée and sautéed beet greens):

Two accompaniments of note:

White Bean Purée from Rancho Gordo’s Marcella cannellini, made with chopped onion and garlic, sautéed, and mixed in food processor with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Charkhali — a Georgian-style Pickled Beets, with cayenne, salt, garlic, chopped cilantro, and red wine vinegar, from Sephardic Cooking by Copeland Marks:

Now a confession about the title of this post: I have only one bottle of Brunello left in the wine cellar and I’m not ready to drink it yet, so while I loved the alliteration in the title, I don’t have the Brunello to show you.  However, two out of three ain’t bad, and I can recommend an excellent Rosso Veronese, Le Guaite, which goes very well with these dishes.

While we’re on the subject of this wine, it was a perfect accompaniment two days ago to a cabbage, white bean, and cavolo nero soup that I made from a Marcella Hazan recipe.  Here’s what it looked like:

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