I'm graduating to the next level....
I just sliced and buttered my third baking of "lesson two" loaf mentioned in "Lessons" in this website.
To avoid taking up space describing my first two attempts, let's just say they were a big hit with my friends at work, but I was not satisfied.....how could I be with all these great photos of bakers efforts on this website. The first thing I changed was that half the flour was whole wheat, and the other half was/is unbleached all purpose, and I substitute honey for sugar. I cut the milk in half and substituted water because the first two loaves were deliciously soft, but not bready enough for my taste.....
The finished loaf (third attempt) baked in a bread loaf pan because I/we use it for sandwiches.
I doubled the recipe because one loaf isn't enough and two loaves goes pretty quick at work.
1) I dissolved my yeast in 115degree water with a few drops of honey with a whisk.
2) I heated my milk/water to 115degrees with the rest of the honey.
3) I added the dissolved yeast to the milk/water/honey, and then mixed in 6oz. unbleached W.flour and 6oz. WW. fluor and whisked until very smooth. I then stirred a couple of minutes with a wooden spoon. This was a very smooth, thick pancake batter sponge. It doubled in about 25 minutes. I didn't want the sponge to get bubbly and weak....it was still very smooth with just a few small bubbles starting to form at the top.
4) To 6oz. W.flour and 6oz. WW. flour I finger mixed in 4 T butter and the salt. This I added to the sponge and stirred in with a wooden spoon until a rough dough started to form......I hand mixed with a wooden spoon until very smooth and dough like with a mixing with one hand and turning the bowl with the other hand. I gave attention to not breaking the dough with the spoon and tried to keep the dough as one piece.
My dough was very soft, and I kneaded it on a floured surface rather gently.....there were bubbles in the dough and I wanted to disturb them a little as possible. I didn't use any 'windowpane' test, but kneaded the dough until very smooth and formed a soft, silky ball. This I put into an oiled bowl, and proceeded to let it proof for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.....it was more than double at this point, and I figered it was ready for the dough pans.
5) I divided the loaf into two equal loaves...@ 1 pound 10 oz. each. I didn't knead them very much....just kind of handled and rolled the loaves and spread them out, and folded them to as close a shape to the bottom of the loaf pans as I could.
6) They proofed in the pans for almost an hour....a bit more than doubled, and then they went into a 425 degree oven for 13 minutes. I turned the oven down to 375 degrees, and baked for about 35 minutes.
7) I waited for about 90 minutes, sliced, buttered, and noticed a nice crumb for a whole wheat sandwich loaf. The bread was "bready" to my liking with the change of milk quantity. The sweetness is to my liking with half the honey. The bread is tasty, a little springy, light for whole wheat bread, and the crust is nice and dark with the milk and honey ingredients. It melts in your mouth........great for sandwiches.....we don't use any mayonnaise or mustard on our sandwiches at work.....the bread speaks for itself.
Tonight, I put a Reinhart pizza dough in the refrigerator to be baked tomorrow. I started my first seed to make a 'Mother Starter' to try my hand at sour dough pizza and bread when it's ready. Everything I did to these loaves of bread were basically intuitive......but the intuition was fortified and rooted in every thing I've read and viewed (videos) from "The Fresh Loaf" website, and some things I've read in Reinhart's books.
To everyone on this website, and the generosity of the professional bakers who share their videos freely....I give thanks.....and continue to butter the next slice of bread.......thank everyone very much.