Friday, November 30, 2012


     …or how I (sort of) rescued my bread.

This is the story of a near disaster – not as disastrous as the Titanic, but it did give me that sinking feeling.  Here’s what happened…

… a day like any day, I started after lunch and had two loaves of bread risen and ready to bake.  Earlier, I had put the loaves in the oven to rise, and the display showed its usual 100° as it always does when it starts out. Because 100° is just about the proper temperature for rising I never noticed, when I did turn of the heat, that the temperature never got any higher. It was a mild day, so the loaves rose nicely in their draft-free spot.

Loaves risen and out of the oven, I entered 450°, the starting temperature, and wandered off to do something else while I waited.  Eventually I realized that the oven hadn’t beep…beep…beeped to let me know it was up to temperature.  Oh, swell – the thing was on the blink.  Now what?

Knowing that yeast is forgiving, I dumped out the dough – it immediately deflated – and put each in a bag and popped them into the freezer.  Then I called the repairman.  Long story short… and over $250.00 for a new igniter… two days later I was back in business.

I had other baked bread in the freezer, so when I did decide to bake up the frozen dough I did it one loaf at a time.  I took out one loaf, kneaded it nicely, formed it into a boule, and baked it.  It was excellent! It had even ‘aged’ a bit and had just a hint of sourdough flavor.  I don’t think I want to go through all that again, but the outcome was good on the first loaf.

The second loaf was another story – and let this be a lesson and a reminder to any bread bakers out there – because dummy me, having a Senior Moment, I just formed a loaf and put it in a pan to rise.  I never thought to knead the loaf as I had the first one.  Yeast is forgiving, yes, but it needs to be kneaded (don’t we all?) in order to recapture the gasses that were lost when it was deflated.  The loaf baked up nice and brown, but it was very, very dense.  I cut it into croutons, and they did taste fine, but they were a bit ‘chewy’, for want of a better word, in a bowl of soup.

This saga rounds out this National Bread Month of baking essays and recipes.  I do hope you’ll try your hand at making bread.  These coming winter months will be a great time to start. The initial ingredients don’t cost very much – much less than for store-bought bread – and the taste of the final product, not to mention the divine aroma as it’s baking, will be well worth the effort.   



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