Wednesday, January 23, 2008


OK, so I learned a lot about the ideas behind bread making and some of the techniques.

I made a ferment. This is a flour, water and yeast mixture that sits in the fridge for a day or two or proofs for about 5-6 hours.
I made mine and then got sick, so it sat for 3 days in the fridge. Cold slows all chemical reactions, so it fermented slowly.
Then I made the dough and let it rise, then "punched it down".
Almost a kilo of flour makes one hell of a lot of dough.
I formed the baguettes like the book showed, but the dough was very tacky so it became a lesson in patience.
I let them rise and then ran into trouble.
I used fine semolina flour to make the bottoms slick so they could slide off the pan onto the baking stone. With the dough so tacky, they did not slide. I pushed them off and slapped them down on a 500 degree baking stone. That is really hot.
I hit the back of a knuckle on the door at one point. I hate the sound of sizzzling skin. Thank the maker for aloe

Proofing is when you let the dough rise. Then, you cut the top of the loaf so it can expand correctly. And, you add water to the oven to create steam so the crust does not form too soon.
So, I gave up on hte baguettes and made three boulle, one large, two small. The baking saw them rise in a wierd manner and they did not expand at the cuts like they should have. instead they balloned up from the base.

I cut a K into the big one, for my woman. The two smaller ones just puffed. They look wonderful.
Here are the baguettes

They look strange but they taste good.

So, I learned:
cut the recipe in half, I do not need to make a months worth of bread in one session
baking takes ALL FREAKING day between rising and resting...
I need a bread peel, so the dough slides off onto the stone more easily
find a better way to let it rise so the tops do not crust too soon and they puff out in all directions
a 500 degree oven makes the room really hot
artisanal breads probably are not the best to start with
working the dough by hand feels really good
fresh bread, even a learning loaf, is tasty

Wil, I am a long way from NY sourdough...

More experiments to come.......
Now for olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks great!!
My granny used to let her dough rise on top of the hot water heater. It was located in a small closet, so just the right temperature.
Good luck with your next attempt,
Angela & Madi