Becoming bread-obsessive is not necessarily a bad thing…I find that I don’t worry about my diet quite as much, becuase by the time I DO bake a loaf, I’ve de-constructed and re-constructed it in my head so many times, I’ve eaten it at least 3 times…

Not that this has helped me overcome my questions and confusions. Only actual practice and experimentation help that, but BOY is it hard…

Bread science. I’m reading more and more about it, and the more I know, the more confused I get…the Wild Yeast blog has a wonderful giveaway of the book titled “Bread Science” by Emily Buehler…I entered, although I don’t have much hope of winning, but this book was worth the effort, and I may just buy it anyway…

In the actual Baking of Bread dept., I have baked another 3-4 loaves since my last post, but have been more and more unhappy with them. The crust is too chewy, and the damn crumb too moist, although the bubbles are just right, and the taste is GOOOOOOOD. Further reading and reading and reading has convinced me that the chewy crust is from too high a temperature, and the moist crumb from too short a baking time, although I am at an hour for a 1.5 pound loaf now…I even did a batch of rolls, which I baked along with a loaf and a mini-loaf, all at the same time…They came out cute as the dickens, but the crust was almost 1/4″ thick, and too chewy to enjoy…

The squirrels in our yard are excellent disposals, though. They are QUITE well fed and plump…lol!

The last loaf was better, because I lowered the temperature to 450, but after an hour, although the crust was very nice, the interior was beyond soggy…STILL need to bake it longer…I know it’s not the stupid oven, because the oven thermometer shows the temperature pretty close to what I set it (after all these years, I can guess the numbers between the notches pretty well!).

I LOVE my covered casserole dish for baking, but want to play with my roll pans some more. First I have to get a consistently good loaf. Well, actually, I first need to get a SUCCESSFUL loaf, with the right combo of crust, crumb, and flavor. So far, 2 out of 3 is the best I can get, with soggy crumb being my bane…

I think I MAY have finally solved the issue and question of time and gluten development…The crust is chewier the less time the dough has to rise and rest before baking. The tenderer crust seems to be the result of the long time for the no-kneads that rise over many hours. The ever-dreaded kneading probably performs this for short rising periods, but I’m just not ready to face that prospect. It’s a big enough thrill at present for me to even fold my dough, letter style…so, for the present, I am abandoning the “cassarole” bread recipes. They are just too under-developed. Back to Bittman’s recipe, again. But with a bit of CI added…

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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