Sadly, I am not a Bread Wizard (I don’t even think I’m a half-blood). Sunday was my 2nd attempt at bread baking, and, well, you’ll have to see for yourself . . .
Last year, the LOML and I came back from visiting the Bridgers in Chicago (where Stephen grew up) all psyched about baking bread from a Sourdough Starter. I did a bunch of research online and found multiple websites/instructions for making your own bread starter (obviously, I was too proud to get my starter from someone else). I “fed” my starter according to plans and after a week, tried to bake a loaf. I was pretty excited . . . except the bread didn’t rise and the finished product looked (and tasted) like a bagel brick . . .
A month ago, I looked up Mark Bittman’s recipe after JCCVI said I could impress my friends and become a Bread Wizard. This recipe sound good. I already pictured us getting a larger Le Creuset as obviously, this recipe seemed fail-proof, and we’d soon be baking artisanal bread semi-regularly and supplying Chris Hastings with our home-baked goods.
The recipe starts easy enough: Bread, Water, Salt, and Yeast. After combining, covering and leaving alone for 18 hours, the dough was dotted with bubbles. Sweet!! That meant the yeast worked!!
Next the receipt called for folding over the dough once or twice on a floured work surface and then covering with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. I’m not sure how you can fold over really runny dough, but I did my best. As you can see, the dough ran pretty flat, but I still had hope for our bread.
Since this recipe was supposed to fit in a 6-8 quart Le Creuset (and we were working with a 2 qt) I tried to divide the dough in half and let rise separately. After two hours, I saw no noticeable rise. Oh well, I pulled my dough from the cloth towel (WHY could this not have been something else?? parchment paper, plastic wrap, etc.), poured it in the pre-heated dish, and put it in the 450 degree oven.
I will say it had a good crust. I’ll give it that. But it was small. And it was dense. And it kind of tasted like a bagel. As you can see, there were some pockets of air in the bread, but still dense. Very dense.
What did I do wrong?
Will I try this again?
Will any blog-stalkers out there give me bread-baking tips?
** Unbeknownst to me, there is an on-line Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge that just started over at Pinch my Salt. While I don’t have the book, I’ll be following along and may (or probably not) try a loaf or two along the way????