Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A beautiful and delicious bread to brighten your day
James Beard once said: “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” This chestnut baguette from the Bakehouse would back up James Beard’s statement in a big way. I love it.
Baking with chestnut flour is a long time tradition in Europe—Italy, France, Hungary, and much of Central Europe all used large quantities of chestnuts for cooking. It wasn’t about prestige—chestnuts were what poor people ate. Unfortunately, chestnuts in the U.S. fell prey to a massive blight in the early years of the 20th century and were almost totally eradicated. Lucky for us, Michigan has been the center of the American chestnut revival over the last decade or so. This bread uses Michigan chestnut flour along with the Michigan wheat flour. It bakes up into a light brown loaf with a natural sweetness from the chestnuts and a nutty flavor I love with goat cheese, or toasted with butter or olive oil.
Here’s what Frank Carollo wrote in the beautiful Zingerman’s Bakehouse book:
We fell in love with the flavor of the bread (especially the dark crust) and the beautiful color of the crumb. The … chestnut flour gives the crumb a slight purple color and rich depth of flavor. It’s become my favorite bread to choose when I’m asked to bring an appetizer to a dinner. I grab a Chestnut Baguette and run next door to Zingerman’s Creamery, and I have them put out a really ripe Manchester cheese for me.
P.S. If you want to make the baguettes at home, the recipe is in the Zingerman’s Bakehouse book on page 228.