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Monday, July 11, 2011

Reinhart vs Field Italian Bread Bake Off

Our BBA challenge host Chris, at akuindeed.com, commented that he preferred Carol Fields Italian bread over Reinhart's. I thought that PR's was great, but also I'm comparing it to what I have made in the past and what has been available. Since it's been 15 years or more since I have tasted 'real' Italian bread from an Italian bakery , Pr's was delicious!
 Chris shared Field's recipe with me. That was 'awhile back'. Finnaly made both recipes, using malt syrup in both, since PR calls for it, there is no sugar in Field's, but there is in PR's. I made boules of both for a fair as possible bake comparison. PR's calls for a biga, Field's a fermented sponge, I believe the wet fermented sponge, left at room temperature for 18 hours made the difference in flavor in Field's bread. Also the baking was different, PR's method is a 500 degreee oven and steam pan/spray water, then lowered to 450, Field's uses a 400 degree oven with an hour bake vs 20 minutes or so for PR's
let's make some bread!........
 Field's dough has rien and ready to shape
I made 2 boules, one placed in a wicker basket lined with floured muslin the othe a clay bowl the wife made made, they covered and were left  to rise
PR's dough, left  to rise, then  shaped into a boule and one batard
Field's one left, PR's on right, all look good.
Crumb shot, cannot really notice a difference, EXCEPT. Field's recipe tasted better.Both are really good, but Field's over night sponge created a greater depth of flavor, so the winner is.....Field's recipe.


  1. Jim, this is so cool that you took the time to do this! Your loaves look so amazing. Looks like your are getting pictures worthy of your own cookbook!!

  2. Cool that you made both and did a comparison. I'll have to try it when the weather gets a little cooler...

  3. Ohh I love playing "test kitchen" with recipes like this. I'm still working through the BBA but when I'm done I'm going to give this recipe a try too