Saturday, February 13, 2010

Multigrain Bread - A Refrigeration Experiment

I'll start today's blog post (blost) with the moral of the story: not all experiments turn out the way you would have liked. The Multigrain Bread Experiment started at about 8pm on a week-night, which is not a good time to start any type of bread experience. I should have known, but alas, I was feeling a bit like Sar and decided to take on the challenge and make a few changes to the recipe I was using.

First change: I was planning on halving the recipe. We didn't have 2 bread pans*, and the recipe made 2 loaves. I'm good at math - you'd think I could deal with successfully halving a bread recipe. I cannot. I put in all of the yeast and all of the honey and had to go into emergency mode and re-add the other half of the rest of the ingredients. Not only did I fail to halve the recipe, I also managed to extend the ingredient-adding/mixing experience, which should have been 5 minutes (max), to about half an hour. It might have been even longer. Naturally, this led to the second change to the recipe.

Second change: I needed to put the dough in the 'fridge to slow the rising process so that I could continue baking it after work the next day. Sounds like a good plan, right? I get to sleep AND make bread - best of both worlds. I even took a picture of the dough in the 'fridge:
Welcome a little further into our lives. Someday we'll introduce you to the other appliances.

Fast forward to the next day. When I cam home, I found that Sar and Andy had taken the dough out of the 'fridge not a moment too soon. Looking back, it probably should have been taken out about 6 hours prior to baking, just to make sure that it really came back to room-temp before shaping and the second rise. As cold as it was, the dough did rise pretty successfully in the fridge and as it warmed up. The finger print you see in the center of the dough is the test to see if it's risen well. If you can push your finger into the dough about a quarter of an inch and it stays imprinted, it's finished rising.

I split this dough in half and shaped the first half into a loaf. It was still pretty cold, but I had high hopes that it would magically warm up and double again in the pan. (Spoiler Alert: It didn't).

Third change: In order to make up for the lack of a second bread pan, I turned the other half of the dough into baseball-sized rolls. These rose more successfully than the loaf because they were handled more and were smaller, so they had a more opportunity to warm up and get groovin'.

In order to avoid being forced to eat bread for every meal for the next week, I froze the loaf (another experiment...I'll update you on how that one turns out...) and we ate the rolls with soup, with breakfast, etc. The multigrain really adds texture, flavor, and nutrition. Hopefully the loaf will be just as good as the rolls, if not quite as light and airy.

[Since I'm up in CT rather than down on the UES, I don't have the cookbook to cite the recipe that I used. I'll post it as soon as I'm back in the city, I promise!]


* Note: Due to my mother's generosity, we now have 2 bread pans! Yippee!

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