Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bread - the substance of a happy family

I baked this morning.  I wasn't actually on task.  My goal walking into the kitchen was to empty and load the dishwasher.  It's 5pm, and I still haven't quite finished the kitchen.  Of course the kitchen is now 90 degrees and I wanted out of there!

New canisters.  That meant that I could restart my sourdough starters.  Both wheat and regular, and while I was at it I thought that I should feed the Friendship starter.  It was too full, and it a state to bake!  OK.  Baking time.

I have beautiful mini baking pans.  I love them.  The children are much more likely to grab a mini-loaf rather than cut a slice.  They are closer to adults than children.  While I was at it, I randomly wondered why you need to grease and flour a pan.  Isn't greasing a pan enough?  I did some research, with the help of Quora.

You need grease and flour for two reasons.  Grease is part of the "non-stick."  but what use is the flour?  It turns out that flour is there for two reasons.  One- it lets the dough mixture rise higher.  I don't really understand this, but it gives the dough something to "climb."  Two - the flour prevents more of the shortening / grease from absorbing into the dough.  That will lead to more fat, and possible a richer cake, but it also changes the baking time and texture.  (One thought was that it will be a harder bread or cake.)  Cookies with more fat spread more and bake faster.  They usually end up crisper.

I tested it with my mini-loafs.  Same quantity, but 7  of the 8 rose far more than I really wanted.  One looked like a dwarf or runt, but I measured the bread mix.  Interesting.  (I won't be eating those, so taste comparisons are out.)

Crazy enough not to be completely done.  I went for a packaged bread mix.  The real goal was to understand what shaping bread was like.  Split into little balls, rolled into snakes and braided.  (One thing to remember, braiding  braid is a two strand process, not three like most braids.)  Then I rolled each small braid into a circle and tucked the ends under.  The bread was delicious, but it met the real goal.  Mini bread loaves- easily broken into bite sized pieces or taken as a snack sized whole.  It's my first attempt at shaping bread, but I might do it again. I'm pretty happy with the results, and this was simple.

I think storage for starters, dry mixes, and mini loaves is a bigger issue for me.

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