One of the things I've gotten into, or was just getting into, before our move was breadbaking.
I've tried doing foccacia breads, plain or with toppings, and I've been wanting to stretch my breadbaking muscles to make other breads.
left: plain foccacia; right: potato cornmeal foccacia
The problem -- or so I have analyzed it -- why I couldn't seem to do any other breads is the time and scheduling factor. Can't quite get the hang of it, the starting, the kneading, the rising, the waiting, the baking, the waiting, the more waiting, the cooling, the eating.
With foccacia, I know that I have to start it approximately 2 hours before I want to eat it. With the challah, that was a quick one-off, almost a throw-away bake, because I really did not expect to be eating it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In other words, there was no pressure. It was done one Sunday morning when I had some time to kill and it was more a trial than anything else. The eating was just a bonus.
I can't really keep baking breads that I don't expect to eat. Or expect anybody else to eat. It would be too wasteful for my frugal soul. With breads I want to eat and want to serve, time becomes a big issue. Breads would have to be available at a reasonable time, for meal appearances. Being in and out all day, every day, I don't really know how I can schedule my breadbaking.
I have been hearing about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Five minutes a day, you say? Okay then, I figured I'd try that. I bought the book and started choosing breads I wanted to make.
I chose what the authors call their Deli-Style Rye. I don't think I've ever had bread with caraway seeds before, so I was excited to try this one. Plus, I keep thinking of the fantastic sandwiches I can make on this rye.
I think this first rye bread was a fluke. Here it is again in all its glory.
I didn't expect to like it as much as I do. In fact, I had it for lunch three consecutive days. Slightly toasted, with a dab of butter. The flavour was awesome, the caraway seeds adding a refreshing, almost minty taste and fragrance that plays so well with the butter.
After this first successful rye loaf, I've had problems. There's a whole slew of problems that I haven't yet found the cause for nor the solution to -- and I've been reading up on breadbaking, trying to figure things out, to no avail.
(1) Overly crusty: there are breads that seem to be all crust. Why?
(2) Refrigerated dough: sometimes there is a strong smell of alcohol. I had to throw out a brioche dough because it was too overly alcohol-y.
(3) Finished product does not seem to be bigger than the dough I started with. It stays almost the same size, just becoming 20% to 30% bigger.
I haven't done any breadbaking in the new house as yet. There's just too much that needs to be done around the house that breadbaking would have to take a backseat for now. I hope to get back to it in around a week's time. In the meantime, for all you breadbakers out there, if you have any tips and techniques, please help.
Breads we've done from the book:
Artisan Deli-Style Rye Bread
Swedish Limpa Bread
European Peasant Loaf
Olive Oil Bread with Onions and Olives
Other breads we've made before:
No-Knead Bread, Two Kinds
Sesame Seed Buns
Potato Cornmeal Foccacia
Whole Wheat Challah