Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bread – Number One

Bread – Number One: A 100 Percent Whole Wheat Bread
Woohoo! I Think

Dedicated to my bowl and plastic wrap. May you work your magic on the dough I am about to make, and, I hope, bake.

Okay, football is on, which is noisy, but at least not using that or other excuse not to start. Football noise would be a valid excuseas would vacation, cleaning, paperwork, design magazines, sleepiness, friends, obligations or other reasons to delay starting.  Starting immediately on the first bread, which is out of the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. Yes, also watched their video and took notes. That in itself was an excuse because I have the book and watched the video before. Also took 30 minutes to watch a five-minute video as I kept watching parts of it over.

7 cups whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 ½ tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup vital wheat gluten
3 ½ cups water (they say lukewarm, but the only difference is amount of time for the dough to sit out)
½ cup olive oil

Keep saying it's easy
Basically the same recipe as my own recipe except there’s no honey. No reason for anxiety. The whole reason to commit myself to all of these breads is to experiment and experimenting implies – indeed, opens one up to – failure and learning.
Today is only preparation of the dough, which should rise in two to three hours, and then will bake tomorrow evening. This is an easy foray because few ingredients and it is baking made simple. All of the panic-inducing steps of rising and kneading have been done away with via wet dough and long gestational periods (that’s not the technical term).

This recipe is promoted as making four loaves, though the amounts are just double what I usually bake for a single loaf. Well, guess that is fine for the down-sized household. Already had to look up the tablespoon/teaspoon equivalents. No, that was not the stupidest thing I have ever said.
1.       Dump dry ingredients in a bowl and mix a bit.

2.       Add wet ingredients.

3.       Mix and mix and mix, or, if you prefer, use a machine to mix. I wanted to be one with the dough, ha ha, and used a spatula and then my hands (best to first take rings off).

4.       Cover bowl or bucket with plastic wrap or lid – not tightly - and let sit on counter for a minimum of two hours; more will not ruin the dough. After the dough has risen and either fallen or become flat – and that is not an easy determination – put in refrigerator for up to a week, overnight minimum. (The regular bread dough can be left up to two weeks.)

5.       You will not be able to tell when the dough has become sufficiently flat. Put mine in the fridge after about five hours. Still mid-process, so do not yet know results.

Go to sleep and try not be anxious. It is only dough. No one will be maimed or killed if a lousy bread results. Yes, actually told myself this. A childhood of being told to get good grades and listen to teachers makes for a difficult transition many years later when embarking on an unjudgmental experimental bread fest.

Next evening - baking rules made obvious
Learning lessons that are painfully obvious. Maybe the teaspoon/tablespoon stupidity above indicative of my deficits.

Rule #1: A process that is touted to take five minutes will take at least 15 the first time, possibly a half hour if one (yes, me) rereads everything multiple times before moving forward.

Rule #2: First, clean hands and any tools that are needed, but have not been used for a long time. The directions called for kitchen shears with which to cut the dough. Mine are usually employed for cutting plastic and they were a little grimy, certainly not something one would want for commencing a long bread project. Actually turned out that the shears were an unnecessary conceit as well-floured hands did the job just fine. Really like the idea of the shears used this way and looks very cool in the video as well as in person.

Rule #3: Without any pressure whatsoever, outside of one’s comfort zone it is always possible to be anxious.

Rule #4: Do baking tasks first and write afterward. Otherwise, baking will be delayed and possibly dropped altogether. STFU and get the show on the road. Yes, actually said that to myself as well.

Back to instructions 
6.       Take dough out of fridge, cut off a piece, very easy, and do the little bit of fondling (is that an inappropriate word or perfect?) described in the book. Basically tucking in the sides of the dough to get a boule shape. Can do other shapes as well.

7.       Put on a pizza peel – important – either covered with cornmeal or parchment paper. In the interest of time, avoidance of anxiety that the cornmeal would not sufficiently assist later on when sliding the dough from peel to bakers stone in the oven, and my love of parchment paper, up there with post-its on my personal list of greatest inventions, used parchment paper.

8.       Wait 90 minutes, a good time to write or start dinner. Also have hand wash to do and any number of chores; closet having gotten messy seemingly all on its own, needs neatening.

9.       Actually, before an hour passes, heat oven to 450 degrees, first making sure that baking stone and pan (to be used a nanosecond after putting dough on stone as a receptacle for water to “make steam”) are where you want them in the oven. I use a timer as those household chores, writing, closet cleaning, really anything, can be deceptively engrossing and would forget completely to turn on the oven enough time before other timer goes off to indicate the 90 minutes is up.

10.   Before baking: Have on hand a kitchen towel and one cup of water or ice use right after placing dough on baking stone. Alternative to water is ice, which I find easier to dump in the pan than water and less likely to drip onto the glass oven door that you, your spouse, significant other or partner, do not wish to replace when it cracks. Use the kitchen towel to cover said oven door when dumping the H20. (Okay, actually forgot the kitchen towel part every time.)

11.   Take pizza peel and whisk that dough onto the baking stone. Quickly fill pan with water or ice, taking care not to get glass oven door even a bit wet. Leave in oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If you are me, which you aren’t, I understand, you will be impatient and take out too soon. My bread turned out wonderful, with a “but” that it could have used 33 or 35 minutes instead of 30.  I was mesmerized by the glamorous, bakery-looking crust and could not wait any longer. Also was fearful of dry interior.

[Somewhere near where the wheat grew, perhaps?]

The taste was solidly good and a fantastic start, totally encouraging for going onto to breads two, three and four. Now, for breakfast, a couple of slices of my bread with some butter, maybe honey, and tea.

Yummy and will later this week use the rest of the dough to make a nice big loaf for my friend Brad, who is my baking muse, encouraging voice, and someone wonderful to bake with. He will be appearing in stories of many of the future breads, I am sure, and will be getting plenty of his own dedications.

P.S. Used part of this dough for what the authors of call a lazy sourdough. That is bread number two.

No comments:

Post a Comment