My very first loaves of french bread & some lessons learned.
I finally decided to break free of my bread machine and hand make my bread for the first time. I really never liked the look of the loaves that came out a bread machine and felt more of a reward for doing it all by hand. I did use the same machine recipe (3 cups of Flour, salt, sugar, yeast, shortning, water)
Below are two images of my first loaves. I never made any bread by hand before and must admit, it was not easy to work with the dough. Actually, it was down right difficult. When I attemped to stretch and fold the dough, it was far too elastic and would not stretch; it would UNstretch. I also found that, even though the dough did not seem to be over hydrated, while attempting to form the loaves it would stick to my hands and butcher block (also pictured). I did add flour first to the board, but when I attempted to form the shape of the loaves, it still stuck to my hands and board. Forming the loaves proved to be a very difficult task. I guess I need ALOT MORE PRACTICE working with dough.
To my surprise, although I shaped the loaves too short, the loaves came out to my liking. I love a tough crust with a soft spongy inside and that is exactly how it came out. I feel that maybe my dough was over worked because the crumb appearence, but you be the judge.