“Be scientific about it.”
My husband’s advice to me when I screwed up my first attempt at baking bread Monday.
This was my second attempt.
I added fresh rosemary to my dough. My kitchen smelled amazing. My oven was so hot that it triggered the stovetop fan. It didn’t stop airing everything out until the oven cooled down a bit.
Mark said I should document my bread baking attempts. He said it may help me be more consistent with my quest for homemade bread.
Mon, 7/15 – I wanted him to taste my homemade bread, fresh from the oven. We had saved a packet of Fleischmann’s dry active yeast in a baggie. It foamed and expanded a bit after I proofed it. I used fast, no-knead recipe from Yum Sugar. The dough stayed dry and shaggy after an hour.
I decided to start over with a new bottle of active dry yeast. It foamed and doubled in size after I proofed it. I made another batch of dough with the same flour from the first attempt. The dough stayed dry and shaggy after four hours.
I gave up for the day.
Tues, 7/16 – I decided to use no-knead techniques from Yum Sugar and Steamy Kitchen. I wondered why the dough stayed dry after the first mix. Then it hit me. I forgot to add water. I think that explains my failed attempts on Monday. So much for blaming bad yeast and bad luck.
The dough stayed wet when I let it rest for five hours. The dough more than doubled in size in the Pyrex bowl. I think that’s because I ended up using 2.25 teaspoons of yeast. The dry yeast bottle called for that amount its proofing instructions.
Yum Sugar called for 1.4 teaspoons.
The dough expanded so much that it was sticking to the plastic wrap.
I poured out the dough on an oiled sheet. I folded it a few times. I added rosemary leaves and folded it a few more times. I nestled the dough in parchment paper. Then I let it rest for two hours.
I baked it for 30 minutes in our dutch oven, cover on. It baked for another 20 minutes, without the cover.
RESULT: Not bad. I wanted a bigger loaf. Mark was happy with it. I loved the crispy crust and the soft, pillow-like texture inside the bread.