2014/01/14

Pride goeth before a {bread} fall... (Tuesdays with Dorie BwJ: Country Loaves)

I think we all know the moral: "Pride goeth before a fall".

Today, I am here to offer you this: instead of a beautifully executed loaf of rye and whole wheat studded bread, I bring you a cautionary tale. One that encourages you to listen to and follow your instincts.

 
This tale began rather inconspicuously. A sponge was left to rest overnight - no big deal. Many a loaf of bread has begun this way in my kitchen. The high amount of yeast added to the sponge did cause a niggling of a doubt in my brain - but I brushed it off.

The next day water and flours and other stuff were added. And more yeast. (Whaaatttt???) A sticky dough was created and kneaded a very long time. Now, here is where I strayed from knowing better to blindly following the recipe as written...

When making bread, there is a certain "feel"/ "tension" that you expect the dough to have when you are ready to let it rise. Different types of breads have different "feels", but depending on the ratio of wet to dry you kind of have an idea of what a recipe is suppose to feel like at certain stages along the way.

At this point, my dough was "sticky" but it didn't feel "solid". Warning bells were going off in my head - a little voice told me to take the ball of dough, add a little more flour and hand knead it for a couple of minutes. I promptly ignored that voice and set the dough to rise. Oh my, it did rise! And rise. And rise.


Finally, I went to shape it - the little voices in my head were once again telling me to stop and knead in some more flour. The dough ball just didn't have enough structure and wasn't holding its shape while I was forming it into a ball. Once again, I ignored the voice of reason - because that's what I do...

After another round of rising, it was time to roll that dough puppy out onto the baking sheet and bake it. This is the point where my folly in not listening to my inner voice first punched me in the gut and I realized that this dough was not going to form a lovely round loaf. Instead, I was going to be blessed with a squat disk. I tried to tell myself that oven spring would save the day. I knew better.

Squat went it. Slightly less squat came out. I put squat on the counter and stared at it for a few days. I knew it was probably still very tasty even though it wasn't all that it was supposed to be (at the least, it would have made good bread crumbs). But at this point, I was so annoyed with myself for not listening to myself that the loaf ended up finding a home in the bottom of the garbage - which made me even more mad at myself because I hate wasting food.

Lesson learned: 1) pay attention to those inner voices - they may just know what they are saying and 2) don't be afraid to stop in the middle and set things right.

Peace out.

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie.

22 comments:

  1. Yowza. I haven't baked enough bread to know better. Good for you for even knowing what to do to fix it, even if you ignored yourself.

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  2. Lesson 3? What goes up must come down (in the case of some doughs!). Didn't you end up with pita bread? I guess not otherwise you wouldn't have lined your garbage with it.

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  3. I mirror Ei's comment above. I have yet to know what bread dough is supposed to feel like. I just hope for the best. I too have gone against my gut feelings, more times than I like to admit - so frustrating.

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  4. Ahhhh, well, lessons must be learned, right?

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  5. I think all our breads turned out more squat than round. Such a shame that yours ended in the dustbin. I agree, we should go with instinct, especially when it comes to bread :-).

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  6. I'm sorry that the bread is not given a good result!
    This will be better next time, and then we learn by doing ...

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  7. I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. I've had many breads in the past fall flat on me. I'd put them in the oven hoping for oven spring, and nothing.

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  8. I am really sorry for your bread but I am so thankful for the great story you wrote.
    Inner voice and "cooking books": a daily dilemma!
    On one side "our experience" on the other "the writer experience" - and to know who “knows the best” - and to choose who had known the best , … a dilemma, as I said!

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  9. yes, ignoring your instincts isn't usually a good idea, but hey, we got to read the story!

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  10. Cher, Sorry this was not a winner for you. Your instincts are usually right…trust those inner voices!

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  11. the recipe was a little hinky-amount wise. my loaf took more flour than was called for. actually, i kneaded it in the machine and it went only about 8 minutes before i stopped it. it definitely proofed up quickly and had an amazing amount of spring in the oven. better luck next time!
    alisa

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  12. On, no! Not a squat loaf...so sorry. But the truth of your adventures in the kitchen always makes me giggle...just wish this one had a happier ending.

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  13. Sorry it didn't turn out, but thank you for sharing. My lack of bread baking skills lets me ignore those warning bells. I bake more on luck than skill! :)

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  14. Bummer. I hate wasted food and time….

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  15. Oh, what a bummer. Maybe try again? It really is a yummy all purpose bread.

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  16. Oh, dear. 'what a bummer. I hate when that happens 'thought mine would do that as it over rose when I didn't get home in time. But after collapsing it actually turned out quite well.

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  17. So sorry about the mishap...I still feel that way about the focaccia that we baked awhile ago. There is always a next time to hear those inner voices:)

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  18. Boo for that. I am only just starting to be confident enough to trust my instincts when it comes to bread - next time I need a hand I will phone the Cher-911 bread helpline!

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  19. I wish I had the baking experience that you did. I still have a very hard time judging when I've added enough flour, when it's kneaded enough, when it's risen enough, etc., etc...I'm sorry the recipe didn't work out for you this time. I hate when I don't listen to myself, and it turns out that I was right!

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  20. I love your honesty! I think the weather makes such a huge difference when baking bread, plus, this book does not give the measurements by weight. Volume measurements with bread can be so variable!

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  21. Your posts make me smile, you're fun to read Cher! If you haven't thrown a 2-day bread in the garbage you can't call yourself a bread baker...

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  22. Was the recipe lame or the weather outside not co-operating or why did your bread not work? I must admit that this happens to me more often than I would like. You're a confident cook who is brave enough to go rogue so I am surprised you didn't listen to your inner voices. I have a feeling this is a lesson well-learned and probably will make your results even better in the future.

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