Monday, November 26, 2007

This is a story in which I make the same bread three times and decide I need more bread-baking experience.

I joined Daring Bakers after seeing their delicious works time and time again linked to via tastespotting (which you MUST go visit!)  Tanna, of My Kitchen in Half-Cups, challenged us with a savory potato bread recipe.  I've been making a lot of whole wheat bread with help from Laurel's cookbook, I'm damn skilled with english muffin bread, and who can mess up no-knead bread?  So off I went!

I made the recipe three separate times with minor variations, none of which changed the deliciousness drastically, and each of which I learned what to do or not do.  Unfortunately even the ones I considered failures I don't have many pictures of, as they were all eaten pretty quickly, with the exception of the first "artisan-style" loaf. 

I shaped it similar to Laurel's bread book - roll it into a circle and fold in the edges somewhat like a flower, let it rest, and repeat.  It rose on well-floured towel.  I preheated my old 1970's corningware 4 qt dish at 450ºF, dropped the risen loaf in, spritzed it with water, threw on the lid, and baked it next to the loaf in the pan.  I unfortunately didn't think to turn down the temperature (as others noted, they baked at 450F for 10', then 375F for the remaining time - which I did on trials 2 and 3.)

The second time around I made a loaf and some rolls.  They were going along swimmingly until someone texted me and said "Hey, let's go to the diner and get dinner!"  I threw the bread and rolls into the fridge, hoping the rising would retard just enough to get me through an hour or two of enjoying tea and company.  The bread over-rose a bit but the rolls didn't rise at all, and sadly I had to throw most of them away.  (the loaf of bread is almost gone, but here's a picture I got of its crumb yesterday before it was finished off!)

The third time I made rolls for Thanksgiving and turned the rest into a loaf (no-knead style again).  Rolls had fresh chives from my garden (now relocated to pots for the winter); loaf had fresh chopped garlic.  Before the proofing stage, I rolled each flat, pressed the chopped garlic or chives into the dough, then rolled it up and cut or shaped it accordingly.  The rolls this time were beautiful; I forgot to take pictures before they got eaten!  The artisan-loaf was frozen until last night when it was the side-dish for my homemade tomato soup, since the boy was sick.

I learned a few very important things -
*  Make sure the room is WARM ENOUGH for rising!  
*  Dissolve the yeast entirely in the warm liquid to make sure none is left behind
*  Add the salt to the second cup of flour, not into the first (according to Baking911.  I did this with the third trial, and I swear it was the magic step for the rolls!)
*  If you accidentally butter a pan you won't use and can't bring yourself to waste the butter, press saran wrap onto all the edges and store the pan in the fridge until it's time to bake the rolls. :)  It will be FINE.

I'm looking forward to my next Daring Bakers challenge!  I'm hoping it's something that won't interfere with making dad's holiday bread, which I MUST make.  Oh, and biscotti.  I made Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites biscotti, and it is delicious.  Maybe Santa will bring me a new digi-camera so I can take lots more pictures of things I'll make...

The picture at the top is what I did with the first loaf -- the crust was overbrowned on the pan-loaf, so I sliced it and used it for toast.  Since Jared was off on a business trip I had fried-end-of-the-season-green-tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil toasted atop homemade potato bread with a glass of Rhubarb wine, and SHARED NONE OF IT.  Yum!

The recipe is posted here on Tanna's Blog.  Thank you for such a great challenge!


breadchick said...

Great job on your challenge. I love that you made the recipe as many times as you did to get the right feel for the bread. Welcome to the gang!

Tartelette said...

Welcome on board! Great job for making it 3 times and achieveing great results! Great to have you among us!

Christina said...

Great job on your challenge, and I like the fact that you made it three times to really get the method down. I especially like your round loaf, it looks amazing!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Dolores said...

Congratulations, and welcome! A HUGE part of the process for me is in the learning... on my own and through everyone else's stories. Thank you for sharing yours.

shinykaro said...

How did I miss the fact you have this new blog? I am a terrible person.

I think you will have to give me some baking lessons. I've never been able to make dough rise and usually when something needs baking, I rely on my sister's skills.

I can roast, sautee, braise, boil... baking is still a challenge. Besides, any excuse to hang out with you in the kitchen is good.

Tanya said...

:) Hi,
Thanks for your help on the next one.

Dhanggit said...

you did a great job on your november db challenge!! making bread isnt easy...looking forward to your next challenge :-)

ps, im a db newbie

Dhanggit said...

question: why communist cheese fairy?? sorry for asking just curious

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow! You are a Daring Baker! I do love baking bread and you have the spirit. When I do a bread recipe over I learn each time. Sorry the retarding trick didn't work on that 2nd try.
Your rustic loaf looked beautiful.
Welcome to the gang!!
sorry it took me so long on this one.