spectating participant

October 23, 2007

bread rising

Filed under: cooking, food — suzanne henderson @ 2:08 pm

I’m working on my first whole-wheat sandwich loaf right now. I decided to give the recipe on the side of the bag a try since it was accessible and simple looking. I was a bit shocked that this one recipe (doubled to make two loaves) took almost half the bag of flour - wow. If I keep this up, we’ll be needing some serious flour containers and purchases to make sure we always have some on hand. This is supposed to be our sandwich bread for the week, hence two loaves because I know we’ll end up gobbling up the first one for snacks.

In other bread baking news, I made some yummy Buttermilk dinner rolls from the Bread Bible Book. They were super fantastic and yummy, though Alex and Chris both commented about them having a slightly funny taste — maybe it was the homemade buttermilk (milk and vinegar) I used. Warm from the oven, they didn’t even need butter - but butter made them oh so yummy. They lasted for a couple days (just as good as the first day); the recipe called for 16 rolls that we’re actually much larger than they needed to be. Next time, I’ll opt for slightly smaller rolls.

A few days before that I made a recipe from The Bread Bakers Apprentice and shaped the loaves into rolls (Chris wants to know what’s up with this roll obsession) and they were very crusty and good. However, they would have been much better as larger loaves because of the crustiness. I think I ended up making about 16 rolls, but they ended up being way too dense after a day or two (they were more like french bread). I think Alex still ate them anyways, but next time I’ll make them into loaves. This bread called for a pre-ferment dough (basically a partially made dough that you let rise overnight) and the my first attempt was too wet, judging by appearances, so I made a second batch that worked perfectly. I just threw the first attempt away, it’d been resting away in the fridge for over a week now and didn’t seem worth testing out in a loaf.

Over obsessing as always, I jumped into this bread thing over my head. I read some awesome books: The Bread Makers Apprentice, Crust and Crumb, and a bok on multi-grain breads by the same author. These books really take bread making to a new, and time consuming, level. Striving for perfection, I wanted to start there and keep going. However, after my first recipe attempt and all the hoop jumping to make a truly excellent bread — I’ve decided to go back to simpler processes and recipes. I’ll retain the weights versus measures for scooping flour, but no more of this steam bath and spraying the oven walls with water to get the perfect crust. I’m sure I’ll be able to manage excellent bread without all that hoopla (and judging by the awesome buttermilk rolls, I know it doesn’t have to be so complicated).

I’m gonna try a sour dough bread next - I had french toast made with sourdough that was oh so yummy and want to see if I can make it at home. I also want to work on some multi-grain breads, but will wait and see how the whole-wheat loaf bread turns out. It doesn’t make much sense to spend all this time making bread if I’m just going to be turning out nutrition-lacking white breads.