For a while, my go-to bread has been a French loaf similar to a baguette. It’s a great recipe that creates a consistently good loaf. The bread has a crisp crust, is dense in the middle, and is best eaten with butter or thinly sliced for crostini. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, right? Who doesn’t like bread with butter or crostini?

However, I wanted to find a bread recipe that would be versatile enough to keep around the house and use for whatever we wanted, which is where the hearth bread from 
The Bread Bible
enters. The recipe, which uses a touch of whole wheat flour along with bread flour, creates a bread with a great crumb. Rose attributes the light crumb to the wetness of the dough – whatever the reason, I like it.

The recipe creates a large loaf but I think mine came out flatter than it should have. My guess for why is that I left the last rise go too long, which caused it to slightly collapse under its own weight. Despite the look being a bit off, the taste was still great. It was light and fluffy with a toothsome crust, just like bread given before dinner at a great Italian restaurant. It is good with only butter like the French loaf, or dipped in olive oil, or for sandwiches, which is how we used up the loaf.

Below is a simple recipe for one of my favorite sandwiches that I have named the BTB. The sandwich would also be delicious grilled into a panino.


Burrata Tomato and Basil Sandwich, aka the BTB 
makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices of hearth bread
half a ball of burrata
2 plum tomatoes, sliced horizontally
6-8 basil leaves
fresh cracked black pepper
good, aged balsamic vinegar

Lay two slices of bread on the counter with all other ingredients prepped. I like to start and end with the basil because the leaves act like a shield for the bread against the wetness of the tomato and burrata. After lining the 2 slices with a couple of basil leaves, layer on the tomato, burrata, black pepper, and then the last of the basil. Top the sandwich off with the last slice, which should be drizzled very lightly with the balsamic.

Note: I use the aged balsamic my sister got me for Christmas. I do not suggest using a regular balsamic vinegar or your bread will end up soggy.