Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Breadfest

It was 9 lbs of dough, give or take. We burned through it in 3 batches of bread. The third batch was one large loaf. Because it was kind of sticky, it ended up being kind of unattractive. And pretty flat. And because it was bigger than previous loaves, it was not completely cooked at the 30 minute mark. Disappointing. But the crust was superbly crusty, as with every loaf. Cooking the bread with water in the oven is definitely the best lesson from this effort.

I prepared the third loaf on Saturday - a mere 5 days after making the batch. I didn't notice and sourdough notes in the final loaf at all, I guess these take longer to develop. Anyway, here's what it looked like.

The crust was great, but the shape was more like a calzone than the large ball I'd hoped for. Perhaps the wet dough method is just not up to making a tall loaf. Here's a cross section.
As you can see, not quite fully cooked. Just 5 or 10 more minutes would have completed the job.


A couple things I did learn from this experience. Baking bread on high heat with a pan of water in the oven is a great way to go. Good bread can be made from just water, flour, salt and yeast.

But I want bread that will be suitable for sandwiches. Duncan needs sandwich bread, and I don't want to send him to school with a lunch of preservatives if I can avoid it. So I went out and bought some bread pans. I whipped up a batch of the same dough I used. Here's how it went.

The wet dough

After 50 min rising

30 min later

Flagship loaf
The crumb

This worked out ok, and the bigger loaf should do ok for sandwiches. Once again, crust was great. Next attempt I'm going to try a bit less water and see if it'll stand up better on it's own. Also I need to set the pan up better so it won't stick. I just used cooking spray this time. Maybe cooking spray + a little flour next time. From what I've found on the internet, seems like the pan should be hot when you put the risen loaf in. Instead I let the loaf rise in the pan.

On the garden front, we're scraping the walls in the basement to prep it for painting with a concrete sealant. Should get that done this coming Friday. Then we'll get the seedling set up arranged and get a bunch of our plants going next weekend - peppers and tomatoes at least. Today was warm, we did some yard work. Feels like spring is coming.

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