Monday, February 14, 2011

The Second Loaf

I didn't post pictures of my first loaf yet, so here it is! It was a simple white loaf that was quite delicious with honey and butter. I made the mistake of adding the flour too fast, but it turned out all right anyway.

After the relative success of my first loaf, I found I was unsure of my second one. We all want to succeed in our endeavors, and I felt like my second loaf would determine whether I can actually do this or not.

My second guy was a little bit of a step up. I'm still not trying to get ahead of myself and I'm still trying to understand how everything works individually and when combined with other ingredients. So my second bread was a simple whole wheat and honey bread.

To my surprise (I didn't really know what to expect) it very much resembled the bread that you buy at the store!! This was quite a bit different from my first loaf. The white bread calls for shortening and it didn't really seem to be kneaded much. The whole wheat loaf called for eggs and needed a bit more care. I think this time I may have added the flour a bit too slowly. I used my stand mixer and at a certain point it just wasn't really mixing anymore. So I layed it out on my floured counter and started kneading. After about ten minutes the dough was still sticking to my hands but the temp had reached 77 degrees (my cook book says that you should gage knead doneness by either an elastic smooth texture or temp) I would love love love some kneading tips. Should I look for temperature? Or is it more important to pay attention to texture? Also, whilst kneading, i needed to add quite a bit of extra flour for my hands and the surface. Is it possible to add too much flour? My loaf came out just fine either way!!

Tomorrow I'm going to a friend's for dinner. I think I shall try my hand at foccacia bread! I don't have a baking stone or a baking pan to use for water. But I do have a very nice Sur La Table baking sheet and a broiler pan that I think will suffice. Any homemade suggestions on what else can be done for humidifying the oven?

All in all, I'm still super excited to be baking bread. My coworkers laughed when I told them I had joined a bread site and had started a bread blog. But as a fellow manager pointed out, there are worse things to be this excited about. :) And with two successes under my belt, I'm feeling pretty optimistic on future loaves. Not to mention that I won't have to buy store made bread again!!!

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