Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Scientific Method?

Whole Wheat Loaf
Last week, I made a few loaves that ended up really heavy because the water did not cook all the way out of them. I managed to figure out what the problem was and fix it (although I stumbled on another minor problem). I realized that I had the pot turned open-side up when I was heating it. I this meant that the pot didn't get as hot during the heating process (or at least lost its heat more quickly) and meant that the bread did not cook as quickly under steam. So, I turned the pot open-side down and heated it that way. I also followed the directions and preheated the oven at 500 degrees (475 degrees F convection) before turning it down to 450 degrees (425 degrees F convection) to bake the bread. This seemed to work. The bread was moist and soft without being overly dense like last time.

The bread swelled, but did not spring up as much as I had hoped and ended up with a dip in the middle. I think this is because I did not leave it long enough under steam. It took a lot longer than I expected to reach the internal temperature of 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) than I expected (I had to leave it in for 6 minutes longer than I intended) so I think that if I leave it longer under steam, more of the water might cook out and then it would require less cooking time after removing the steam.
Nice, dark, "burnished" crust
 Looks burnt, but it actually tastes wonderful.
Whole Wheat Bread with the Recipe
Finally managed to get a minor "ear" on the crust
Still need to work on shaping and scoring, but I am getting better.

Crumb not as open as I would like.
The loaf did not expand as much as I had hoped, but it tastes absolutely amazing. The toasted flax seeds lend a nice nutty flavor to the bread and the crust is wonderfully crunchy and sweet. The bread recipe is originally from Tartine Bread, and I modified it here.

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