There has been much bread baking in the house of late! I finished off my first batch of dough and started another (that incorporated some scrap from the first batch). I’m still trying to get a handle on the flour/water ratio. If I follow the recipe I get a much firmer dough, so I choose to add more water, though I’m still fiddling with it. But I’m quite happy with the results. Or at least, still enthusiastic!
After the last batch two things are on my mind.
1 – I *always* underbake my bread. I read somewhere once that it is difficult to overbake bread, and I think that is true. My bread is still very pleasant, and has a good crust, but I know it would be better if I would have the courage to leave it in the oven longer till it is really dark brown. (Especially as I am baking two loaves at a time. I know a big part of the idea of the book is that you can bake a loaf here and there, but I feel a bit guilty about heating the entire oven for one loaf of bread.)I find too that it comes out of the oven quite crisp but softens as it cools, which has to do with the moisture left in the dough. So this could be an issue with the baking time, and my fiddling around with the results. I’m weighing my dough before I shape the loaves so that when I finally hit on the right baking time I will be able to repeat it. Fortunately, it’s a nit-picky, refining issue, and in the mean time this bread is very nice to eat.
2 – The slashing pattern on the dough has a great effect on the loaf. The tic, tac, toe pattern leaves me with a flatter loaf while the “scallop” marks seem to help the bread keep a nice high shape.
Last loaf from first batch. This dough was in the fridge for a while. Quite flat, but again, I used the tic, tac, toe slashing pattern. Nice air bubbles. I just need to BAKE IT FOR LONGER!
Loaves from my new batch, dough mixed last night. Also need longer. I think I just need to keep repeating “Bake Longer” to myself as a mantra.