If you’ve been following along, I’ve been making very gradual progress in my artisan bread baking skills.
Baby step progress.????
I did get a taste of quality bread on my recent trip to New York at some of the restaurants we ate at and this reminded me of what I am aiming for. (Always good to have a solid reference point!)
I think I am on the right track, but still have a ways to go.
For the next part of the series, I tried another rustic loaf recipe. This attempt used King Arthur’s A Simple Rustic Loaf with a few modifications-
- using dry active yeast instead of instant yeast
- used warm water ~105 degrees to proof it, rather than cool water
- using dark rye flour instead of pumpernickle flour
- reducing salt by 1/2 tsp
- I didn’t have their seed mix and instead created my own: 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- baking time, I used a thermometer and left the bread in until it read 210 for the interior temp.
Here is the progression of the bread making process –
The lessons I learned from this attempt were:
- The bread came out a little more dense than I would have liked despite exceeding the max rest time and looking rather plump before I slashed them.
- I was worried about letting it over-rise and went ahead with slashing
- I used my large bread knife to do the slashing this time after watching a few videos demonstrating the technique.
- My movement wasnt fast enough and the knife got caught. Thus the ripped look of the dough. I was reading Julia Child’s notes on slashing bread in her cookbook and she says to use a razor, so I may try using that or my Chef knife right after I sharpen it.
- Go easy on the fennel seeds. Wayyy more potent than expected! Looking back, I should have cut the fennel seed amount by 1/3 since it was strong and was the dominant flavor of the bread.
- Crust was barely passable. I should have used the falling oven technique and or steam to ensure I nice crunchy brown crust.
- You can see the top part of the bread has a better crust than my first two attempts but still not as nice as the bottom.
Baking bread notes–
- For the oven, I preheated for 45 minutes prior to putting the dough and a few light sprays of water before putting it in.
- The dough held it’s shape this time with absolutely no flattening out, so small win there!
- Allow the bread to rise a little longer 30-45 minutes longer to see if it results in a more airy bread.
- Has anyone had their bread collapse from letting it rise too long?
- That’s what I’m afraid of, but maybe I need to just push the dough to the max and see how far I can take it before that happens to me.
- I think if I use seeds again, I prefer to have them on top or as part of the crust, not mixed in with the dough.
- I don think that this bread had the deep earthy rustic flavor that I like about rustic bread. Of all the loaves (6) I’ve made thus far, this loaf was my least favorite. It may have been the seeds, but not sure if I will try this one again. We shall see.
What do you guys think!? Any other tips or suggestions?
inspired by kingarthur