Sunday, August 7, 2011

The first attempt

My first attempt was a total disaster.  I looked at the first instructional video I found on a YouTube search and followed the instructions (or so I thought).


Unfortunately, I should not have poured the proofed (rapid-rise) yeast directly into all of the flour.  I tried to mix it by hand but it appeared to be way too dry and un-mixable, so I tossed it and tried again.   This time, I left out one cup of the flour, used it to flour my table top and incorporated the balance into the dough while kneading.  Wait a second...  did I count the right amount of cups of flour?  Hmmm... I THINK I did :)  The dough felt a bit mushy and was still sticky (is that OK?) so I added flour until it felt like I thought it SHOULD feel like.  Oh &*%$, !  I didn't add the salt!  (Note to self:  stage the freakin' ingredients before you start) Oh, what the heck,  I added the salt to the dough and kneaded it until it felt like it was all incorporated.   When I was done, I put it in an oiled bowl, covered it with Saran wrap and let the dough rise for almost 2 hours (until it was doubled in size).  Wow!  It looked (and smelled) pretty good after all!  I punched it down and attempted to form it into two loafs (like an Italian bread) and scored it three times across the top.  (Darn.... I should have scored it after the proofing) To be honest,  I was so anxious to get this going,  I didn't wait long enough for it to rise the second time and popped it in the oven (after I brushed some water over the top of the loaf in order to form a crispy crust).   The end result was a rather pale looking bread (not high enough temp or the rack too low in the oven?) with a dense crumb (not a lot of airy bubbles inside).  However, it didn't taste too bad and I managed to turn the leftovers into some incredible garlic / parmesan croutons :)  LIke my Mom would say, if you put good things in, it will taste good :)

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