Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Serious Bakers, Serious Mistakes

Mistake Bread

Mistake bread

I think of myself as a pretty decent baker. I make a lot of bread, most of which is reasonably aesthetic (in a rustic sort of way) and pretty tasty. While I haven't made bread in a while (mostly making things like English Muffins more recently), I still figured that I would be able to make something decent.

I decided to make a version of my old favorite bread-- Bread Cetera's Pain de Compagne. I modified it by replacing the poolish with starter, but leaving the regular yeast in. I'm not sure what the problem was but the dough simply would not coalesce into, well, dough. It was a sticky mess. It also didn't rise quite as much as I had hoped.

As a last resort, I stuck the dough into a loaf pan and baked it at a low temperature. It did have some amount of oven spring, as you can see from the dome in the middle of the loaf. It also had a sort of sandwich-loaf-like texture, although it was a bit heavier (even though, oddly, the holes in it were a bit bigger). I didn't get a picture of the crumb--I forgot. It tasted reasonably decent with almond butter, but I'm still not sure what went wrong.

Maybe my commercial yeast is dying. Maybe my starter was too wet. Who knows what the problem was. I'll probably buy some new yeast and try it again when it's cool enough to use the oven. In the mean time, I think I'll make some more English muffins.

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