Greetings, bakers. From a posting on my facebook wall last week: I'm doing something I rarely do with success, but trying again at the request of [a friend]: Baking bread. I do fine with quickbreads and cornbread, and cakes and pies, but traditional yeast breads ... never been my strong suit.
I begin my introduction with "Why do I want to bake? There's a perfectly good bakery on every block, and bread is cheap and my time is expensive." Well, while the kerfuffle with the French in the 19th century left behind a legacy of fine baking, there are some kinds of bread that are just unobtanium here. I want a nice sandwich rye. I want a white bread that is more flour than guar gum (or whatever it is that goes into commercial white bread). I want a tangy sourdough.
I'm also about to head into the mountains for a year or two, and when 'town' is an hour away on a muddy jeep track, learning to make it at home can mean the difference between having bread and not having bread.
I've decided to start with "basic white bread", and when I feel I can consistently produce a loaf of that successfully, I will move on to some more complex pieces.
Last week, my first try, I used a recipe I got off the net that was all in "cups" and "tablespoons", and it was an unmitigated disaster. I spent the evening searching online for a recipe that was in weight.
I had luck today with a basic white - I started with a sponge of 200g AP flour, 10g instant yeast , 10g sugar, 10g salt, 200g 45° water. Let that ferment "a while" (about an hour). Added to that another 370g of flour and 140g of whole milk. Knead. Rise. Punch down. Pan. Rise. Bake 35 at 200° in a pan 32 x 13cm. Turned out okay, but more research has shown that I need to use a smaller pan (or make more dough - I weighed the dough before rising - 940g)
I welcome your ideas on what to bake next.