New member and first loaf today
Hello all. I've been reading this site and anything else I could find about baking bread for the last week or so and I made my first loaves today. A whole wheat (KA WW, a little BF and vital wheat gluten). It was a very enjoyable day with an acceptable outcome.
I tried to combine a couple different techniques with mixed results. The recipe called for a sponge to sit for 45 minutes. Well I've read that poolish overnight can be even better. So last night I made the sponge. Just a little flour, the yeast and water. This morning I was up early and the sponge looked beautiful.
The recipe did not call for any autolyse but hey, I read about that too. So I added most of the remaining flour reserving the salt, honey and vegetable oil. I let the sponge with the flour mixed in, sit for about 30 minutes. Autolyse right? Then I combined the salt, honey and vegetable oil and kneaded it into the dough.About 30 minutes of kneading with a couple rest periods. For me and the dough.
I also read about steam in the oven so I had my pan in the bottom of the oven for a long preheat and added a cup or so of water right after putting the 2 bread pans on the pizza stone. The first rise was a good doubling and the second in the pans was fair. I shaped the loaves, put them in the pan and into the oven. At the end of 45 mins at 350 with the first 3 or 4 minutes at 500, I checked the internal temp of one loaf and it was right at 200 degrees so I took them out. Well, no oven spring. In fact I think they shrunk a little. And they were not the prettiest loaves I've ever seen.
They cooled for 90 minutes and I tried my first slice. It was delicious! I couldn't believe it. A little dense but not really a negative. The crumb was pretty tight but very moist without being doughy at all. The flavor was rich and sweet and nutty and fantastic. The crust was defined and a little crunchy. So, they were not the most attractive loaves and not the highest rising but my goodness, the flavor is fantastic.
I love to cook and regularly take liberties with recipes with usually good results. But baking abviously demands much more knowledge to "take liberties". So tomorrow I am trying the recipe again and I am following it to the T! Cutting the recipe in half though. I have been losing weight and want to contine. Maybe not the best time to take up baking. But I am really enjoying this.
Sorry for the essay here. Just meant to share a little and introduce myself.