Thursday, July 22, 2010
When it comes to bread, I think that it's very forgiving, if you know how to adjust. If you don't add enough yeast, you let it rise longer. If you can't bake it right away, it's happy to rest in the refrigerator.
Well, this bread was plagued with problems. My problems; no blame for ingredients or equipment.
The first problem was that at one point in the process, I let the bread overrise drastically.
The second problem was that I overbaked it. Silly me, I heard the timer, but knew that I probably had another five minutes to go, so I didn't rush into the kitchen right away.
Then I got involved in what I was doing and forgot the bread had beckoned. Twenty minutes later, the bread was a bit overdone. The crust was overbrowned and a bit thick, and it was pretty hard and crunchy when I was cutting it. Considering all the egregious errors on my part, it was actually a pretty good bread. The only problem was that I had planned on using the bread for sandwiches, and the crust was a little hard for that. But the taste was good.
Overall, the bread was pretty forgiving. It was destined to be really good until I overbaked it, and even then it was a decent loaf.
Here's the recipe as it should have been, and I'll note my errors as well.
And just for the fun of it, there's another version of the same recipe tomorrow.
Light Cottage Wheat Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (4 oz.) white wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 oz.) bread flour
1 cup cottage cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.
Add the salt, bread flour, and cottage cheese, and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough may remain bumpy from the cottage cheese curds that don't completely disintegrate in the dough, but the dough itself should be smooth.
The tricky part about adding a product like cottage cheese to a bread is that different brands will have different amounts of moisture. The cottage cheese I used was fairly dry, but if yours is wet, you might need more flour later. It's fine if this dough is a little wet right after kneading - the flour will absorb more moisture as it rests overnight, so hold off on adding flour until it has rested.
Add the olive oil and continue kneading until the olive oil is completely incorporated.
Drizzle some olive oil into a plastic bag and move the dough to the bag. Seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator for an overnight rest.
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and knead it briefly, still in the bag, to knock the air out. You'll probably need to open the bag to let air out to be able to knead it.
Leave the dough in the bag on the countertop until it warms up and rises, about an hour. Here's where I made my first mistake. The dough was on the countertop for almost three hours before I got back to it, and it had risen and fallen. And hour would have been fine, or maybe two. Three hours was a bit much. But I carried on anyway/
Sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of a 9x5 loaf pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Flour your work surface and knead the dough briefly, and form it into a log that will fit into the pan. Place the dough in the pan, seam-side down, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until it has doubled, about 30 minutes. it should rise just about the rim of the pan.
When the dough has risen, slash the dough and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the bread is nicely browned.
Remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before slicing. If you prefer a soft crust, cover the bread with a kitchen towel while it it cooling.
This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.