Jan 31, 2010

A couple of follies in baking bread, Part One

This week had a few interesting Occurrences when attempting to bake bread.  Here's tale #1

Don't leave dough unattended

Today I was baking bread for the week.  I had just finished kneading the dough and put it into my proofing structure*.  Almost immediately after I put it under the light, I remembered that we needed to run out to pick up baby related items.  I knew the visit would take about two hours, and since it was pretty cold, I thought we would be safe to run out and make it back before the loaf shaping.

Thought is the key word.  We returned back from our adventure, and I turned my attention to my proofing station.  The dough had managed to fill the proofing structure, force the top up, and then proceeded to ooze its way out, down the side.  It looked like the dough had a sentience, and was attempted to escape its torture chamber.  It was inches away from the ground.  So close Dough-Brain!

When I saw the drooling dough, I was a bit upset.  I thought I had just ruined a big batch of dough.  I then realized that dough it dough.  I cut off the exposed, dried out parts, and proceeded to shape my loaves.

Since the dough went overboard on the primary fermentation, it was more airy than I would have liked.  When it fell out of the bowl, it looked like spaghetti squash.  I think it may have grown three times the size it started out as.  This allowed me to form four loaves easily, even after throwing out 1/4 of the dough.

After I was done shaping the loaves, I decided to try a new secondary proof technique.  I lightly oiled the top of the loaves (note: I did this by hand.  I need to get an oil mister to have a more even coating) and place plastic wrap over the top.  The addition of the plastic wrap did not allow the dough to dry out.  This made the crust thinner and more flaky.  Combine that with the super airy dough, and you get some of the softest, creamiest bread to date!  The bread is so smooth, I don't think it needs butter to savor and be enjoyed.

*My Proofing structure is a little MacGyver.  IT consists of one large, wide mouthed bowl, with a second large deep bowl on top.  The second bowl rests on the inside lip of the lower bowl, but makes for a very loose seal.  This means air can still get in, and allows for fermentation to continue.  Apparently, it works well.

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