This was the first recipe I tried from my anniversary present this year, Rose Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible. Though the recipe has three separate rising steps and called for vital wheat gluten (an ingredient I had never heard of before but that Wegman’s had in abundance), it felt easy due to the extremely detailed instructions Beranbaum provides.

The resultant loaf was had a crisp crust and a delicate but richly flavored crumb. I was a bit disappointed by how quickly the crust lost its strength, but I guess that is to be expected with home-baked bread. I deviated from the recipe slightly by subbing in pecans for walnuts (my parents send me a massive bag of pecans every year, so I always have a stash in my freezer) and think the bitter note carried by walnuts but missing from pecans would have been a nice complement to blue cheese or smoked meat.

Rating: ★★★★★