The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I work weekends. Sat. 0000-1200, Sun. 0000-1200, Mon. 0000-0700. This is an insanely great schedule for most purposes. But, like all schedules, it complicates and contorts things at times. So begins our story for today. Two weeks ago on a Friday at approximately 1300 CST there we sat with 3 hours to kill before needing to go to bed. I decided to break out the flour and make a quick loaf for test purposes. I began with the following.

  • 2c water (115 F)
  • 2 1/4t yeast
  • 2c flour
  • 2t sugar
  • 1T oil

Mixed this until it was the consistancy fo spackle (or Gumbo for those from Alabama). I then covered it with the following and let it set for a half hour:

  • 2c flour
  • 1/ 4c dry milk
  • 2t salt

In the past, this normally turns out a standard loaf of sandwich capable bread, But this time, it was personal. After the initial ferment, I mixed in the dry ingredients that were on top. But the dough was far too wet. I added 3 add'l cups of flour and the dough was still too wet. I could not get the dough to set up or become anything other than a sticky mess no matter what I tried. So bedtime came and I decided to ditch it into the fridge and let it think about what it had done. At this point there was a small ball of dough in the bottom of a large (4qt) rubbermaid container).

Saturday 1200 CST. I returned to examine the offending dough to notice that it had nearly filled the container while in the fridge. I told my partner to keep an eye on it that night, so it would not eat the entire contents of the fridge. We went to bed. About 0200 Sunday, George completely filled the container it was placed in. My partner contiued to drop the container to deflate it and bought another 24h but again it filled the container. As punishment for its crimes, we left the demonic spawn in the fridge until Thursday at 0600.

We removed it from the fridge and divvied it up to make rolls and to preserve part as a culture to test hardiness. Below are images following feeding and at 1 and 2 hours post feeding. The rolls were delicious.

George after feedingGeorge @ 1hourGeorge @ 2 hours

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--pk

Ok, so not day 1, but sort of. I have baked bread for a few years now, but not with any sort of structure. I mixed some water, yeast, sugar, and enough flour to make a dough. Kneaded it until it felt right, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, shape, let it rise and bake until it sounded hollow.  About 6 months ago something went wrong and for some reason the bread that I was turning out just did not taste good.I blamed the flour change (had previously used only gold medal bread flour, then switched to a local store brand AP), but I realized that I could not actually narrow it down to this as I had not documented the process when it was not working. So began a long period of frustration where I cannot seem to get anything right and I end up tossing about half the bread I am baking out because it does not look/feel/taste good to me. I have resolved over the next year to get to the point where I am a decent baker and can tell why my bread is doing what it is.  I have picked up several bread books and am doing as much research as I can. So anything that you see here is from my understanding only. Not law. If it is incorrect, let me know. I appreciate any help that can be afforded.

 

 

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