Bread Baking Experiment #2

Boos Block and dough knife

Frustrated by my first bread making attempt and added to my Christmas dinner biscuit failure, I am having serious doubts about my baker skills. So…tossed the first batch and chalked it up as a total failure and started my second batch but this time resorted to using plain old all-purpose white flour in an attempt to give me a small success to encourage me to keep trying. My kitchen looks like a mega flour bomb exploded, but pushing aside any impediments, I began again…

Recipe: From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day;

  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 3 cups warm water (100 degree temperature)

This second batch doubled and quickly tripled in size within the first hour after mixing. I then let my instincts kick in and tossed the book instructions. Flouring up my Boos butcher block table in my kitchen, I dumped the now risen second batch of dough onto it and dusting with flour as needed, I proceeded to knead, punch, and pull the bread dough until it “felt” right to me. Then I halved the mixture and took one half and placed it in the woven basket that is lined with a linen cloth that I heavily rubbed with flour. This (hopefully) will be my first successful round boule that will have a woven texture on the outside crust (see I am still optimistic even after a catastrophic failure!).


Second batch, first loaf into the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. When I turned it out of the basket form onto the pizza peel to put it in the oven on the preheated baking stone, it collapsed a little but undeterred, I let it bake. After 20 minutes I reduced the oven temp to 400 degrees for the last 20 minutes. When I removed it from the oven it had a great “thump” sound when I knocked on the bottom of the loaf. I waited until it had cooled for about 30-45 minutes and unable to hold myself back, I sliced a piece. This loaf had a very nice crust (even though I forgot to egg wash it!)¬† and a chewy moist crumb. I buttered it and tasted. I toasted a piece, buttered and tasted and then tried some sugar-plum jam on a piece. All in all a nice effort, but wish I had gotten a little more rise. The supposed “oven spring” hasn’t sprung for me yet.

The next loaf in was a baguette which I also forgot to egg wash or butter the crust. Trying to do it after second rising was disastrous as it deflated some but I baked it anyway. This time in a 400 degree oven for the entire 40 minutes. Still waiting for the “oven spring”! HA!!!


The third loaf is now in the oven and I don’t have high expectations for the “oven spring”. Just hasn’t happened yet, but I am learning each time, so onward I go. So in summation, my loaves today will not win any awards for beauty, but they will pass the taste test.

Boule and Baguette with my mixing container in the background. Do not wash it, just mix new batch in same container to jumpstart the fermentation process. Lots of yeast bubbling action left over.

Since I am making chili for my evening meal tonight, I am going to switch to a Broa or Portuguese Corn Bread to accompany it. Any learning process is sometimes slow, frustrating and painful. To produce a handsome loaf that tastes scrumptious is my ultimate goal.

I seem to be concentrating on texture and rise in my bread-making saga. The “pretty” can come later. To be continued….