The Fresh Loaf

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Delayed post about a delayed bake

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Delayed post about a delayed bake

Two weekends ago, I brought some Portugese Sweet Bread dough home from a class I had taught about sandwich breads.  One weekend ago, I baked the bread.  This weekend, finally, I have an opportunity to post about it.

The class itself was about sandwich breads.  We made ciabatta into ciabattini, or ciabatta rolls, and made the Portugese Sweet Bread into, um, rolls for hamburgers and hotdogs. The length of the class was long enough to allow us to bake the ciabattini on site but the Portugese Sweet Bread dough was taken by the participants to bake at home.  Since my work schedule has been unusually busy of late, it was the following weekend before I had the opportunity to fish the dough out of the refrigerator and bake it.  I opted to shape it in two loaves, rather than rolls.

I am often asked by students whether dough can be held in the refrigerator for baking at a later time.  That question gets a confident "Yes".  The follow-up question is usually "How long can it be held?"  The answer to that question is a less-confident "It depends."  Generally, it is safe to say that a 2-3 day hold won't hurt anything.  Beyond that, it becomes a question of how quickly the dough was chilled, how long it took to get from classroom to home, and how cold each participant's refrigerator is.  In this case, in a cold refrigerator with temperatures in the 34-37F range, I got away with a full week's delay and no appreciable degradation in the quality of the finished bread.

During it's long stay in cold storage, the dough had approximately doubled in volume so I started to shape it immediately after removing it from the refrigerator.  That didn't go so well.  The dough was so stiff that it balked at my attempts.  So, I covered it back up with plastic and let it sit out at room temperature long enough to regain some flexibility.  Once it had, it was shaped into two boules and placed in rice-floured bannetons to rise, with plastic wrap draped over the exposed surface of the dough to prevent drying.

The dough took nearly two hours to double in the bannetons; most likely because it was still warming during that time.  Given the long hold in the refrigerator and the lengthy final fermentation, I was concerned that most of the free sugars in the flour might have been consumed by the yeasts.  As a result, I applied an egg wash to the loaves before slashing them and then baking them in a dry oven.

I needn't have worried.  As you can see in the photos, the slashed areas that are free of any egg wash are nearly as dark as the crust which has the egg wash.  Oven spring was good but not explosive.  The crumb, which I did not photograph, is very typical of this bread: fine textured with even distribution of small alveoli and slightly golden in color.

One thing you should know about me: if it were possible to rank artistic capabilities on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd score somewhere around a -2.  Nevertheless, I played with some decorative scoring on these loaves (the results support my previous statement) and I am pleased beyond any reasonable expectation with the way that they look.  Foolish, I know, but whoever said pride was reasonable?

One unanticipated result of this of scoring pattern, bi-lateral symmetry on two axes, is that it turns a round loaf into nearly a square loaf.  Look, Ma, no pans!  Yes, I'm aware that scoring affects loaf shape, but this was an outcome that I hadn't observed in previous bakes.  Maybe it is because the others didn't have the secondary slashing between the primary axes.  Or sunspots were especially active that day.  Or...

Paul

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Paul,

I like to think it was skill applied while sunspots were especially active :*)

Beautiful loaves and the scoring looks like beyond professionally done.  I love the shape.  They look very festive.

Your timing on posting is very apropos.  I am toying with doughs to see how long I can keep them refrigerated too so that I can bake part of a dough on one day and save some for later….My usually bread hungry 17 year old is working on developing a "6 pack" so his bread consumption has dropped considerably - to the point of my mini loaves actually becoming stale before they are eaten…What's a mother to do but bake less without creating more work while still keeping in step with my daily baking routine for others.  Now I feel a bit more confident in moving forward in my latest bread experimenting.

Thanks for sharing - photos and notes!

Take Care,

Janet

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Sunspots probably had more to do with the outcome than my skills.  Even so, I like the look.

Since this is an enriched dough, it might hold up better during the extended refrigeration than a lean dough would.  Also, colder refrigerator temperatures are helpful.  Keep us posted on your experiments.

As to your son's shift in diet, all I can say is that a 6-pack is typically the product of a lot of hard work.  Really hard work, over an extended period of months.  Eliminating bread won't cause a 6-pack any more than eating bread will prevent a 6-pack.  When body fat levels fall far enough, skeletal and musculature features become much easier to see under the skin.  However, limiting calorie intake during intense training can actually limit muscle development.  It's a balancing act between getting enough of the right things (some of which could be whole-grain breads) to fuel the body but not so much as to encase everything in a layer of unneeded fat.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 The contrast between dull and shiny crust is delightful!     

Mini

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

That egg wash really imparts a gloss, in addition to the coloring.

Paul

Shai's picture
Shai

Beautiful scoring pattern and I really like the square shape. I noticed that my leaner doughs improve with 3 days of cold retarding. But starts to perform worse if left longer. A week in the fridge is the furthest I'll go. 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It would be interesting to see whether the square shape could be achieved consistently and, if so, which scoring patterns are more favorable.

Thanks for the observations about lean doughs.  It ties in nicely with Janet's inquiry, above.

Paul

MDefourne6339's picture
MDefourne6339

nice

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Glad you liked it.

Paul

Kiseger's picture
Kiseger

You may "self score" this as a 2, but I think that your design is fabulous and it'll take me a few years yet before I get anywhere near that!!  So, on my scale, that's a "wow".

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Thanks for the kind words, Kiseger.  It was a case of succumbing to a moment's whimsy rather than following any grand scheme.

Paul

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I'm surprised your dough held up so well.  Very nice scoring taboot.  

Josh

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

My guess is that the cold temperature in the refrigerator, plus the enriched dough, let me pull this one out.  It isn't something that I would ordinarily attempt.

Thank you,

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

scoring - even Lucy is impressed.  We like the way this looks so much that we would probably shellac it and use it for a home decor piece of note. Way too nice to eat.,

Happy baking Paul 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Can't go with you there, dab.  It tastes very good, in spite of its looks.  Your compliments are appreciated, nonetheless.

White bread isn't the norm for me, despite the last two bakes.  Still, if you're going to do white bread, PSB is about as good as it gets.

MickiColl's picture
MickiColl

Your bread is beautiful ... however .. I have been making Portugese sweet bread for many years. Learned in 1976 when I lived in Hawaii. (a Leonards Bakery knock off) But never ever has the dough been strong enough to stand on it's own. It has always been a very very wet slack dough .. can u please post your recipe ? I would love to give it a try.

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I sent a PM to you.

Paul

emkay's picture
emkay

Lovely breads, Paul!  I'm pleasantly surprised to learn that retarding for a week did not have any ill effects on the bread. It's another great way to fit bread baking into any schedule. Am I correct to assume that your PSB uses instant/active dry yeast and not sourdough for leavening?  Did you have to decrease the amount of yeast for such a lengthy retardation? 

Mary

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Thank you, Mary.

Your surmise is correct.  These were made with active dry yeast.  Had there been a plan for such an extended retard, yes, I would have reduced the yeast quantity.  However, this batch had the full 7g that the recipe called for.  That it did not overferment is probably more of a result of the coldness in the refrigerator. 

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

That's some beautiful scoring Paul.  Great idea with the egg wash.  It's nice to see a plan come together and this one must make some great sandwiches for sure.

Regards,
ian

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Thanks for your compliments.

There are some breads that just seem to want an egg wash, like challah.  PSB is another that is prettier with than without, to my way of thinking. 

Paul