Newbie's Notes: Loaf Rescue Mission Accomplished!!
Note: If this post contains repetions, it's because I had to re-write it because it looked like half of it disappeared when it was posted. So I had to get back in and re-write it.
This post is for anyone who was following my saga from yesterday about the failed loaf and all that I learned from the experience.
I awoke this morning, determined to conquer the recipe again, this time armed with what I believed would be a workable plan.
I am thrilled beyond measure to report that my modifications worked beyond even what I had imagined!
I made both procedural and proportional modifications and will describe them here so you can see what you think.
1. First, I turned on the furnace and raised the temperature in my house to 77 degrees (our SoCal nights have been a bit cool lately).
2. Instead of cutting the cheddar cheese into chunks, I finely shredded it with a microplane. I made sure it was cool enough so that it would scatter rather than clump (my Zo has a "rest" or warming stage so I knew that would be ok).
3. Although the recipe calls for toasting the walnuts (which I did yesterday), and although certainly, toasted walnuts are infintely more flavorful than not, I decided not to toast them today. Walnuts are very high in oil (which makes them so delicious toasted) and can actually make a recipe oily. Since this recipe had so many problems of that nature, I decided just for today, not to toast, although I will probably toast them next time.
4. I added both the cheese and the finely chopped walnuts with the rest of the ingredients, rather than waiting for tha "add" beep. I suspect that the machine does not do a really adequate job of incorporating.
5. The recipe calls for the water (boiled) to be mixed with the required amount cornmeal and allowed to sit for 1/2 hour or more. I omitted this step. My reasoning was that this makes rather a denser "mush" and interferes with some of the yeast-freeing properties of water I read about in DiMuzio (water helps yeast to move freely within the dough). I added the plain water (I always use bottled b/c my tap water is horrifying) and added the cornmeal with the other flours.
6. Yesterday I substituted Maple Syrup for the Molassas the recipe called for, b/c to my cook's instincts, maple syrup would pair better with the cheddar cheese and the walnuts. However, the Maple Syrup I use is a very light, pure one and I wondered if it didn't have an equal sugar amount as the Molassas did, so I switched back to the Molassas originally called for.
7. About half-way through the knead cycle, I added just a bit of flour directly from my hands (kind of sprinkling it), then reached in there to incorporate it a bit. I knew that a moister, denser loaf (esp. with the cornmeal and whole wheat flours) would be naturally "tacky" but I felt that this dough seemed a bit TOO tacky.