My first loaf! Some newbie questions...
So, after reading up on it here and a couple other websites, I decided to spend Labour Day learning how to bake. How I came upon this idea, I don't really know, but the results were certainly tasty. Saturday was the basic loaf from Lesson 2 (I like skipping ahead, what can I say!). That was the only one I really used measurements on. I'm kind of a "throw more or less in and see what happens!" kind of girl. Don't have a scale or stone or anything yet, just the most basic kitcheny implements. Instead of just a few gentle pokes at it to degas, I kinda did a full on 10 minutes of kneading, and didn't cover it at all when it was rising...but somehow it still magically worked out. My yeast is also 2 years past the expiry date (I have a breadmaker whose sole purpose is to make me pizza dough once in a blue moon), but apparently still perfectly happy to do it's thing.
Day two was a raisin-y-egg thing, the remains of which you can see on the right of that picture. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I threw an egg in, threw some cinnamon and yeast in, and tried to make a kneadable dough. Worked out well enough for breakfast toast, anyway! Could have used more raisins. Also made up some 1/2 spelt, 1/2 bread flour starter for Day Three! Me, not really knowing what I was doing, basically make a little dough ball out of that, although further research leads me to believe it was far, far too dry. Either way. Also started a sourdough starter that day. I'm productive! :D
Day Three has me mixing in a bit more spelt, some flax, and trying to keep the dough as moist as I can (although as an utter newbie, I'm guessing it was still plenty dry). Again, I didn't follow a recipe or anything. If it went horribly bad, it's entirely my own fault. XD Tried to give it as much time to rise as it wanted, poked and saw how it rebounded, all the stuff I read about on here. Man, giving it the night to do it's thing made a HUGE difference in the taste! Below are the results of my weekend of entertainment!
Suffice it to say, I'm pretty happy with that, considering I'm just testing the waters and experimenting.
BUT, I have some questions.
Oven spring, I don't have any, not really. :( I preheat my oven at max for around 10 minutes or so, then stick the loaves in on the baking sheet they were proofing on along with a tin with some water in it. I turn it down a minute or two after, after I cleaned up the area a little. Then it was 350 for 40 minutes.
I covered these loaves with an old cut-up bedsheet which I rubbed flour into. Yet they still definitely dried out on top a bit, and that made scoring more of an exercise in poking the bread with a knife until I was done. I'm guessing that's what's causing the utter lack in oven spring, but still, it'd be nice to know how to fix that.My guess is that's why the crusts have been so crispy, even on the one with a bunch of egg and milk in it. Also, am I supposed to shape right before going in the oven, or before the rising session? They seem a little flatter than they could be, but not depressingly so.
I know I should pick up some books, a scale and such, and I likely will in the future, but I am but a poor student so it may be a little bit. Still, the adventures begin! I'm sure I'll have more questions later on, but this is a start.