We have a clear bakeoff winner. Wasn't even close.
As I wrote the other day, I decided to bake two batches of Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Modena Mountain Bread, one using organic flour, the other using conventional. Kasper is quite the nag on the subject of organic, stone-ground flour and I wanted to decide for myself.
While the organic starter sponge was livelier than the conventional, it soon lost its edge. And when I mixed the two batches of dough, the results were indistinguishable. Both doughs rose magnificently -- broad and fat and tall.
Baked them simultaneously in steamy oven and two beautiful, golden-brown loaves emerged. The organic loaf (see top left) kept its shape a bit better. I can't attribute that to the flour with complete confidence.
Isabel served as blind taster. I sliced the loaves and after taking a bite of both, she immediately picked the organic bread for its flavor. She couldn't put it into words, but was very definite. Mark also chose the organic, but when I told him, he immediately recanted. (Mocking organic food is a point of pride with him. Long story.)
The organic bread has a lovely, assertive flavor I've never tasted in a bread baked by me. The best adjective I can think of is "grassy." Or maybe "flowery" -- not perfumey like a rose or a jonquil, but fresh, like a daisy. Subtle and delicious. I felt sorry for the poor conventional bread, which, when tasted side by side, had no flavor whatsoever. I mean, it's homemade bread and therefore pretty great, but there is really no comparison. Organic flour = much, much better bread.
So now we have two mountainous loafs of Italian bread and just now, as I type, Isabel walked in eating a piece of toast made from store-bought sandwich bread. "WHY AREN'T YOU EATING THE HOMEMADE BREAD?" I cried.
"Ask Daddy," she replied.
"MARK WHY AREN'T YOU USING THE HOMEMADE BREAD?????"
"It's too hard to cut into toast-sized pieces."
Am hyperventilating. Please email recommendations for marriage counselors, asap.