Saturday, January 27, 2007


I am not a baker.

But recenty the National Post published an article, actually two I think, by Rosie Schwartz, called Sorting through the chaff. You can read the internet version here. It's about how Health Canada labels, or doesn't label, the food we buy in stores. Namely, what the real definition of whole wheat is, or should be. Specifically, the word "whole" in whole wheat is what is being debated.

Anyway. Some years ago the hubby read a book by James Beard called Beard on Bread. He made a couple of interesting breads from the book, and was given a slew of different kinds of flours and various sized baking pans by some family as a gift, all in the hopes of encouraging the hobby.

But hubby got busy with his job and continuing education and hasn't been able to practice the bread-making hobby much. So I figure, I may as well start doing it. Rosie's article kind of helped push me toward it too. Not that it was a big push, we like eating whole and organic foods, for taste and health.

Back to the baking. I just made a simple white bread dough using dry active yeast. Normally yeast and I don't get along, but apparently that's the yeast's fault, for being expired. I didn't know that yeast can expire. Beard and hubby helped educate me in that aspect.

I "proofed" the yeast as per baker Beard's instructions. Seems that our yeast was dead. Alive yeast was needed. So I stomped off to the corner store wearing heavy winter boots (new snow fell over night!) to buy some overpriced packaged yeast. (It's kind of like craving chocolate - when I want it badly enough, I go out and get it, no matter what the weather.)

So. The dough is rising as I type.

Before rising
About 1.5 hours later....looks bigger, doesn't it?

Stay tuned...

Ok. The first rising seemed to be working, although perhaps I should have waited even longer than the designated 2 hours.

Then, there's the situation about the second rising. It just didn't happen. May have been the inconsistent heat or humidity in the house, who knows.

I also decided to make two smaller loaves instead of one bigger one, but the dough looked kind of pathetic in the smaller pans that I had in the house:

After second rising, before baking...

...after baking.

I took a ruler to measure how high/tall/deep the bread "grew". Asked the hubby to hold the ruler. He of course was smirking away, and to counter the smirk he proclaimed that "it'll taste really good". Or something to that effect.

I snapped the photo and then sent him on his way before the ruler ended up someplace where the sun don't shine.

Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

PS It wasn't till later that I found out that my mother NEVER EVER does a second rising. She just knocks the risen dough around a few times, throws in a few punches, and bakes it immediately afterwards. Her bread always looks like normal bread. Not like mine, all flat and dense.

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1 comment:

AS said...

Uh, I find that a warm environment helps when knocking the risen dough about... don't you Canadians have heated table tops for this purpose? That helps, and ensuring that your fingers/hands are warm before helps too!