My second loaf of bread, Pane Siciliano, was complex.
Over the weekend the dough went through three stages of fermentation and proofing. Most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to do something.
Shaping it was tricky, because if I rolled the dough too much, or pushed it too hard, it would degas.1 If the dough lost the gas created by the yeast, the holes would disappear and the flavor would change.
The bread is pretty good with dips and oils, except the bottom is a bit crispy. Because the loaf is freestanding, I need a buy a baking stone to stop it from burning.
I’m happy with the way it looks and tastes. The book I have is excellent.
1. Who knew degas was a word? Because of school, I only see Edward Degas, but I’m guessing it’s de-gas, as in gasoline. I will use it from now on in this context: “It stinks. Did you just degas?”
One of my goals this year is to learn how to make bread, and here is my first loaf.
The recipe1 is from the book titled The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart.
Besides listing recipes the author also talks about the different chemical processes in bread making. The most surprising idea I learned was that the dough is kneaded not only to mix the ingredients, but to raise its temperature so the yeast activates.
Kneading was the fun bit even though it was a workout.
I also needed to take the temperature of the bread while it was baking. Each loaf needs to rise to a certain temperature, depending on the type of bread. In this way, bread is like turkey.
My flat mate saw me kneading the dough.
“That looks sticky.”
“Yes it’s sticky. I think I need to add more flour,” I said.
“You know my mom has a bread machine. You can borrow it if you want to make bread.”
“Would you like to borrow it?”
“No, you fool! I need to feel the dough between my fingers!”
1. Strangely this bread required brown rice, honey and buttermilk.
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