Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alien Bread

After we had dinner, I went to get Larry and Jackie's bread out of my car.  While I had it in a paper bag,  I forgot to close it up.   God only knows what the humidity did to the crust :)  This is the first time I haven't been able to analyze a finished bread so it's a little scary.  Like sending a kid off to school on his own for the first time (hopefully not to get eaten)  Well,  maybe it turned out OK.

Larry called it the "Alien Bread".  Darn if it doesn't look like an alien :)  Hmmm... I definitely have to work on my scoring technique.  Will have to buy some razor blades this weekend :)  Using a sharp knife isn't (excuse the pun) cutting it.

Bread was on the next to lowest rack in the oven on a baking stone pre-heated to 450F.  One cup of water was added to a pan on the first rack for steam.  The bread and the oven sides where sprayed with water in the first minute.  Two minutes later, I did the same thing.  Baked it for 15 minutes and lowered the temp to 375F (the loaf was getting a nice golden brown color at the time). Unfortunately, I was afraid it might take longer than normal to bake (and we had to leave by 5pm) so I put back to 400 after about 15 minutes.  The bread baked for a total of 50 minutes.  Color was darker than I would have liked, but it smelled pretty darn good and it seemed like it would have a nice crunchy crust.  Still not getting a lot of "spring" in the oven (although it definitely did spring more than the last one)  so I'll cut down on the proofing time on the next batch and see.

Larry and Jackie and bread... oh my ;)

Mod Larry and Jackie's Bread...

First of all, I made a boule yesterday that came out pretty well at the 60% hydration.  Definitely easier work with.  Had our good friend Joe stop by for dinner and 1/2 of it was gone in no time.  The balance went back home with Joe :)

At about 8:30 this morning, I put together a 63% hydration bread dough:

572 grams flour
358 grams water
3 grams yeast
11 grams salt
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil  (put in the batch 4 minutes into the kneading on "2" on the KA mixer).  Gave it another minute or so until it looked fully incorporated.

At 63%, it was still pretty sticky, but I used the "stretch and fold" technique which seemed to improve the handling fairly quickly (although still very sticky).  Note to self:  buy a bench scraper and see if the local tile place has a scrap piece of granite they might want to part with)

I put the dough in a greased bowl, covered it with a plastic bag, and put it in the fridge before we went out.   Got home around 1:30 and put the whole thing in the oven (that I preheated for about 3 minutes) so it could warm up a bit.

About an hour later, after the boule was formed, I put it into a wicker basket that I lined with a heavily floured linen cloth.  I'll line it properly before I do the next one.  It's now in the oven for proofing.  Since it was still cool to the touch (but apparently active), I'm going to give this an hour before I check it.  Will report back soon.
So everyone knows, the detail I'm putting in these blogs are for me :) so I can remember what the heck I do from batch to batch.   Maybe someone else might learn something from what I either do right or wrong :)