Dan Leader's Ricotta Bread - a débacle and a couple of questions
I decided to make this bread today. I had already purchased the ricotta so I had everything on hand.
First off, when I opened the ricotta tub I found mold between the lid and the plastic paper covering the cheese. The lid had cracked at some point; whether before I bought it or after I don't know but had I been at all superstitious (which, touch wood, I am not) I would not have continued. But I cleaned off the mold and replaced the paper with cling film and continued.
The kneading took me much longer than the book (Local Breads - I should have mentioned that before) but that may be more my technique than the book. I tend to take it slowly especially with wet doughs and this seemed wetter than the baker's percentage would indicate but that's almost certainly the ricotta.
Anyway, bulk fermentation went rather quickly which leads in to my first question. The recipe calls for 20 grams of yeast - 4% by baker's percentage - or, in volume, one tablespoon. Well my SAF Red Label Instant took way more than a tablespoon to make the 20 grams. Is that yeast weight correct? (The book converts it to 0.7 ounce which is what 20 grams converted to on my scale.)
So I divided the dough into two roughly equal portions, rounded them, covered them, left them to proof and set the oven for 400 deg. F. I heard the beeps that told me the oven had reached the temperature but the proofing needed some more time. Finally it's time to load the loaves and here's my next question. The book says, in effect, to flip the loaves over onto their 'tops' before putting them in the oven. I did that and was rather horrified to see them sort of deflate and get ripples in the dough. Dan Leader doesn't explain why this is done so is there a reason?
Finally, boom! I live in northeast Connecticut and we've been having a winter storm since yesterday morning. About 7 inches of snow. Not a big deal around here but the wind has been very strong. And this was the point at which we lost power. So out I go to the generator, fire it up, back into the house, flip the switch from utility company to generator and, presto magiko, we have power. I forgot that the oven turns off when the power goes out - it's gas but has electronic controls - so when the power came back and I'd reset everything I checked the loaves. Ooops. I turned it back on and more or less timed the baking but really I just waited until the crust was a golden brown and the internal temp was 200 deg. They're cooling right now so I'll try a slice later.
So that's my probably rather low-grade baking débacle but if anyone can answer those two questions I'd appreciate it.