One of my other new fascinations is bread making. I received a sourdough culture from my dear friend and have been playing with the art for the first time. And it is an art, I assure you. In previous years, I’ve not had the best luck with yeast breads, so this is a leap of faith and determination. MiLady Carol: Bread Warrior. Rar.
I have decided to stick with a basic French bread, nothing fancy, until I understand what I’m doing. I don’t want to complicate matters with heavier grains, herbs and nuts – though that’s the goal. My first attempt saw a great rise and made a lovely interior bread, yet the crust was far too hard. I chalk that up to me following the baking time on the recipe and my oven having a vastly different notion.
My second attempt saw a much better exterior crust – I do sometimes learn lessons – yet, the interior was rather dense. This, I surmise, was a direct reflection of the lack of the dough’s enthusiasm in rising. I noticed the proofing didn’t really show a pronounced effort to froth, yet I hated to waste all that flour, so I forged ahead to rather lackluster results. It was still yummy, yet the slices needed to be quite thin -- did I mention it was a dense bread?
I also have noticed that both times, when I free-formed the French loaf, the dough spread out as much or (as in the second case) more than up when it rose. I’m not sure if this means I need more flour in my mix. Maybe. All these recipes say the texture of the perfect dough should be “satiny.” Well. I guess a satiny texture is in the eye of the beholder, for I’ve not noticed anything I would describe as such in what I’ve made to date. Perhaps with more experience…
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