Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm in business!

I completely forgot about this, but my late brother Mickey had purchased this mixer some years ago.  Thank you Lau for reminding me!  It took my brother Lou and I some time, but I finally found it amid the mass of stuff in my Mom's basement.  It was touch and go scary looking in places that have not been disturbed in a long time, but it all worked out.  In addition to this, I stumbled up a small attache case that held some pretty cool documents.  We found my Grandfather's communion certificate from Italy (1884) and his citizen papers from 1927.  Lots of cool stuff I didn't know existed.  We now know the names of our grandfather's parents!  How cool is that?

Anyway, here's a new toy to help with my baking craze :)  It's a 5 quart Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer with all of the blade accessories and 2 stainless steel bowls.  Gonna try it out tonight.

BTW: today's bread was outstanding and a big hit in Brooklyn :)

The Proof is in the Eating :)

OK, this is a slice off the one that was a little "flat" looking.  I was afraid that the crumb (the inside) would be too dense but (with my limited ability at bread baking analysis) I think it looks pretty good.  I had the bread on the next to lowest rack in the oven on a pre-heated (425F) baking tray (one of Martha's products).  I just realized I should have preheated  to 450F.  Oh well...   Just after putting it in the oven, I poured about a 1/2 cup of water into a tray I had on the very bottom rack (to produce steam and form a crispy crust).  Don't think I put enough in though.  While the crust is pleasant to the bite, it's not quite what I was looking for.

 Since these loaves weren't as "big" as my previous loaves, I cut back to 375F after about 20 minutes and gave it another 20 - 25 at that lower temp.    Next time, I'll make sure I set it to the correct temperature initially and leave it a little longer (before lowering the temp).

Here's what it looked like.  Tasted very good...  thought it had better flavor / texture than the last one.

I can see that this not something I'm going to learn to do really well overnight :)

I'm pleasantly surprised :)

Well!  Turns out that the loaves did spring somewhat; one more than the other.  I think the one that spang more was a little smaller and better formed before proofing.  The color of this bread is beautiful...  nice and golden brown.  I'll give it about 1/2 hour and check out the one that's "flatter" and the other will make a trip to Brooklyn (going to see Mom today) :)

Baking Day

The dough I made yesterday evening has been rising in the refrigerator overnight.  It didn't appear to have exactly doubled in size but I think it's fine.  Smells pretty good.

Last night:

This morning:

It actually did start to rise again while I was slowly warming it up.  I gave it close to two hours before I started to work with it.   Not sure how this is going to turn out, but I think the consistency is OK.  It just happens to be much tackier than my other batches and a little difficult to work with.  I probably would have added more flour (I did lightly flour the work area) but decided to leave well enough alone.  I didn't want to work it too much and release too much of the bubbles that have already formed.  I'm aiming for larger irregularly shaped holes.  (or so I think :) )

I formed this batch into two boules, let them rest for about 10 minutes and then tried to shape them into something that's supposed to be a B√Ętard.  Doesn't look like I nailed the formation of them correctly as they look like they're not retaining their shape.  Not sealed right?  Too much water?  I have no idea :)  I'll give them an hour to proof, make my cuts and pop 'em in the oven.  BTW:  the tops were rolled on a damp paper towel and then into a pan of mixed regular and black sesame seed.

 I've let the dough proof for about an hour.  I'm not sure where I went wrong on this but I'm leaning toward over-proofing...  Scoring was not as easy to do as in the previous batch.  In addition, as soon as I scored the top, it just totally flattened out.  So, while it'll taste ok, I don't think I'm going to get the "spring" or the rising of the bread in the early stage of baking.  Worse comes to worse, it'll be a ciabatta :)  I just popped it in the oven.  Also trying something different here.  I'm putting it on a pre-heated baking sheet toward the bottom of the oven.  Not sure how long to give it so I'll have to keep an eye on it.