My First Four Loaves Ever!
I was in pursuit of a relatively cheap hobby and basically entered into the Google search bar: "stuff to do for free." One of the many lists I read through suggested I make some bread. One loaf later, and I was hooked!
My first loaf, not surprisingly, was based off of the Your First Loaf recipe from this forum. I combined 3 cups of AP flour, 2 tsp of instant yeast, 2 tsp of salt and 1 1/4 cups of water that I heated up in the microwave before adding. I attempted to shape it into a boule, but this was prior to any research on how to properly shape the dough, and it ended up being quite a blob-y looking thing with some ugly scores!
The result was some fairly dense (but edible!) bread. I was very pleasantly surprised, and inspired to try again and try implementing some "fancier" methods.
For my next loaf, I attempted another white bread, but this time I tried to autolyse the flour (~400g) and water (~300g) for 45 minutes. I think maybe I did it wrong, honestly, or had too much flour, because the flour never became fully saturated with the water and remained quite dry with a lot of leftover flour and dry chunks in the bowl. Not sure if my mixing (by hand) was inadequate or I just had too much flour in the mix.
Regardless, I let it "autolyse" for 45 minutes then added the yeast (approx 1 tsp because I didn't realize that's all I had left in the house) and salt (2 tsp). Tried to slap and fold for around 7 minutes. I almost felt as if the yeast was not enough to start the fermentation process, because this loaf sat for over 3 hours and barely rose at all! I decided to throw it in the oven anyway, expecting an inedible loaf, but after 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven, this came out:
I didn't even bother attempting to shape it because I thought it was a goner! Anyway, I was surprised by the interesting color/flour swirls in the crust and was pretty pumped by the holier crumb.
My last two loaves of the weekend were the ones where I felt like I was finally a little comfortable with the process. I weighed my ingredients, shaped fairly well, and attempted to score my loaves and each turned out decent!
Loaf Three had 360g KA AP flour, 250g 90 degree water, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp instant yeast. Mixed together, slapped and folded for approximately 10 minutes, bulk fermentation for 90 minutes, de-gassed, preshaped and proofed for 40 minutes, then in the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees:
Loaf Four had 360g KA AP flour, 250g water heated to 90 degrees, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp instant yeast, and 1/2 tbs melted butter. Mixed together, slapped and folded for approximately 10 minutes, bulk fermentation for 90 minutes, de-gassed, preshaped, proofed for approximately 40 minutes, scored and in the 375 degree oven for 40 minutes:
Overall, I'm happy with my output. Everything was edible, nothing mind-blowing, but I had some toast and some sandwiches and some dinner bread that I made myself, and was very proud!
GOALS FOR THE NEXT FOUR LOAVES:
- Start autolysing
- Score more successfully
- Attempt the stretch and fold method instead of slap and fold
- Attempt to make something with a pre-ferment
If any of you expert bakers have any pointers, tips or tricks, corrections or comments, I gladly welcome them. I'm happy to be starting my baking journey!