I decided to enter a couple loaves of bread in the local fair, and thinking about having to achieve a particular result on a particular day made me realize what a sloppy baker I am. Well, maybe "sloppy" is a little negative. Let's say "happy-go-lucky," or "devil-may-care," or "possessed-of-a-certain-breezy-elan" when it comes to bread baking. Or maybe "sloppy" is the right word after all.
Whatever you call it, the result is that I rarely end up exactly where I originally set out to go. And I'm fine with that. Up until now I've only baked for myself, my family, and a few friends. And they're all fine with it, too... or at least polite about it.
But now it's down to business. I've picked the recipe (a torturous process), and I'm determined to stop improvising half-way through the bake and really dial it in.
As a happy side-benefit, this has turned out to be a great excuse to bake even more bread than usual!
The bread: The lean 45% whole rye and whole wheat from Whole Grain Breads. Minus the yeast. One has a touch of molasses and caraway seeds. The other has some packaged bread spice, no sweetner.
I've made versions of this before, but paid more attention to what I was doing this time. I'm pretty happy with it. I think I need to up the hydration just a bit. And I clearly went a little overboard flouring the bannetons - a touch of paranoia.
But about the rise... I went 45 min for the first rise, then shaped, then another 45min for the second rise. That seems awfully fast. That's about the recommended time for the yeasted version. I went by feel and look on the first rise (my finger press did not spring back). Since I've never seen a recipe with a second rise longer than the first, I put it in the oven 45 min after that. I worry about over-proofing with rye, but would a third rise maybe be an option?
Then I turned over the camera to my daughter for a couple shots. Future bread blogger? Hehehe... could be.