Saturday, March 9, 2013

more bread adventures

I came across this one day last week - doesn't that look yummy?  I decided to make some myself.

Anna says to use a white bread recipe which has eggs and butter in it. I looked - since I was experimenting I wanted a smaller recipe; I finally ended up with a bread machine recipe called Egg-Enriched White Loaf, from The Complete Book of Bread and Bread Machines, by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter. But if you buy this book, make sure you get a larger sized copy or you'll be getting out the magnifying glass to read it, like I do.

Anyway. I went with the medium loaf. Now, you may recall from a previous post that my main plan with baking these breads is to, well, have no plan at all! I mean I want to control the process instead of it controlling me, as something which has to rise two or three times in a day can end up doing. But I really wanted to try this chocolate bread, even though we're not really a white bread sort of people.

I decided to use bread flour rather than regular, and I put in half the amount of yeast (rapid rise) it called for. I used cool water and refused to worry about anything. As I was kneading, I recalled the Chad Robertson video where he was wetting his dough scraper and his hands to keep it from getting sticky - he didn't want to be adding flour. So at first that's what I did. As I was kneading away however, I remembered that the Artisan 5-minute bread people also use a wet dough; I also remembered that if your dough is too wet in the bread machine it will just collapse - it occurred to me that since I was just making simple white bread and not anything artisan it might be better to skip the wetting and just use flour to keep the dough from sticking. So, I switched my method at that point. I kneaded it as long as I thought I should (since it was a bread machine recipe, there wasn't any direction for that) and put it in a greased bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel on top.
There was so much snow, that I had the morning off - we were going to open the library at noon and I thought I could tend to the bread after work; since I'd put in less yeast, I figured it'd take several hours. Meanwhile, I ended up with the whole day of because the snow didn't stop when they said it would, so about three and a half hours later the dough seemed like it had gotten bigger and I punched it down.

But I didn't feel quite sure about it - a co worker, a bread baker from way back, had said that you could always let bread rise a third time if you weren't able to deal with it right away, so I wasn't concerned about letting it rise again because yes, it had increased, but it didn't quite have that puffy look. So, back in the bowl it went and I hopped over to my neighbor's to play cards for a couple of hours. When I returned all was well! I punched it down once more and shaped it into two small loaves. I found some chocolate chunks which I then stuck into the dough here and there, as many as I thought could reasonably fit, and set them to rise again in their pans.

Now I have to jump over to Leila's blog and something she posted recently - doesn't that look good? But I was surprised to see that she had glass pans!  I have two glass pans - quickbread size - but my mother always told me that you can't heat Pyrex on high temperatures (like bread is baked in). She also said that when you use glass pans you have to set the oven to twenty five degrees less than called for in the recipe. I Googled Pyrex glass and as far as I could tell, there's no problem with high heat - just make the oven 25 degress lower. I decided to use the glass. So, while shaping the loaves I started to make a mental note about what temperature the oven would need to be, but - I realized that since it was a bread machine recipe, I didn't know what to set the oven to!

I was thinking 375 would be good, but to make sure I looked for a similar recipe just to compare. I found a challah recipe which baked at 400 - just right! So, when my little loaves were risen for the final time (ten o'clock at night, by the way) I set the oven at 400, and when it heated up and I put them in, I turned it down to 375. They were done in less than half an hour.

I'll have to put more chocolate in next time. Oh, but so good! They don't have that craggy exterior though, like Anna's. Maybe I need to just throw them roughly in the pans instead of shaping them in such a civilized manner.

Of course, it's Lent, isn't it? After eating about half of one, the rest went into the freezer. 

This is awfully fun.


  1. Yummy : )
    New to your blog. Follow each other :).

  2. Looks so good! I need to perfect my bread making skills!

  3. I love homemade bread, and will bake it on occasion. My husband would prefer that the "occasions" occur more frequently.;-)