Better bread in the basket than a feather in your cap
This is an “OMG-I-LOVE-BREAD” post. Because there is nothing more satisfying than finally getting a loaf of bread exactly right. I have been using Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible for a while now. I love this book — it’s beautiful, it’s a scientific approach to bread making, and it’s one of those cookbooks that provide not only recipes but also the concepts and the stories behind the dish (I really don’t see the point in the other kinds of cookbooks, which are just listings of recipes). But I’ve consistently had problems with the recipes: the dough is always too moist, no doubt due to different climates and humidity.
I’ve also been on the search for the perfect sandwich loaf, in the spirit of being cheap. I tried the recipe in the Joy of Cooking 1996 version, and it wasn’t too my liking. And I tried the recipe in the Bread Bible, and I had problems with it. When I put it in the oven to bake, the sudden heat caused the loaves to collapse, and they baked with sunken tops. I ate the bread, of course, but not with joy. I was going to try that recipe one more time, because bread making really is one of those things that improves with practice.
Then along came Friend Kayla, who solved both of these problems. She knows a bit about bread making, having been part of the SI Sourdough Bread Ring (SISBR? — btw, who did that ring begin with anyway?). She recommended that I actually weigh out the ingredients, rather than measuring them — and of course we have a scale in our kitchen. As for the problematic sandwich bread recipe, she said that she thought that I let the dough rise too long and that I need to keep in mind that the bread also needs to do a final rise in the oven (d’oh!). Thank you, Friend Kayla! Your tips helped, and I dedicate this bread to you!!
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it! And it sliced so thinly! Yay, bread!!