Bread Attempt #1

I recently made one of my better impulse purchases during the downtime being home, and I’m now a proud owner of a Le Creuset dutch oven (aka forewarning you need a dutch oven, or do a quick Google search and find a replacement method). I attached a picture of her, she’s beautiful… send me name suggestions. So, I tried something I never have before… making bread. I’ve said before that I’m a very intuitive baker, and bread doesn’t tend to be very forgiving with that. However, I wanted to do it anyway, and I wasn’t disappointed. Since this was my first go around, I used the recipe linked, but made minor adjustments: https://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/easy-crusty-french-bread Unfortunately, I won’t have All Purpose Flour until Friday, thanks to the pandemic situation, but I do have fifty pounds worth of of whole wheat flour(don’t worry, it will not go to waste in this house). As I’m learning more about the process, I am going to post updated recipes and tips. Okay, here we go…

ingredients:

9 grams of yeast (she said to reduce if using instant, so I did, but next time I wouldn’t)

300 grams warm water (it should be warmer than your finger, but not hot)

4 grams sugar 

10 grams salt

360 grams flour (I used whole wheat, but I think it messed with the density, so use AP)

oil (I used olive)

add warm water (slightly warmer than you think is right if the bowl is cold). add warm water, sugar, and yeast and give a quick mix. let sit for 5 mins until foamy. add salt and flour in thirds and mix with stand mixer fitted with dough attachment or hands. it’s wetter than most doughs. there should be no flour remaining. oil a large bowl and place dough inside to let rise for an hour (I would actually do 2-3 next time) inside a cold oven. tip dough onto floured counter and knead by pulling corners in until it starts to resist. mine didn’t start to resist very much, which is why I think it needed to proof longer. when done, flip dough seam side down and form into round shape. Flour a round bowl (or proofing basket fi you have one) and cover with a towel and place set aside for another 30 mins (although maybe increase this too). preheat oven with dutch oven inside at 460 degrees F. after 30 mins, dump dough onto parchment paper and place into hot dutch oven with lid, seam side up (mine didn’t have a prominent seam, so next time I would slice top). bake for 30 mins, then remove dutch oven lid and place back in for 10 more until deeper color shows. *if you are using whole wheat flour, be careful because it won’t get much darker. Remove and let cool on rack before slicing. (Okay like actually wait until it cools because she said to and I didn’t, but realized she was right after trying it cold vs hot. 

Adjustments I would Make/Tips/What I’ve Learned:

  • I want to try adding the normal amount of yeast next time, because I think it would help the whole wheat rise
  • I think using brown sugar/maple syrup instead of white would compliment the flavor well
  • The overall flavor of this recipe was very good
  • I didn’t get a very prominent seam, so if that doesn’t fix in the next batch I would cut the top 
  • I would proof the dough for much longer
  • I would knead less, since further research has told me whole wheat flour’s gluten can be broken up by kneading too much

*That may seem like a lot, but actually the bread was very good, I’m just a perfectionist

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