my biggest bread baking blunder yet…
thankfully, this is a resilient recipe and it came out pretty darn good anyway. I will start by saying that i was having people over to our apartment for the first time last night and so i had been multitasking at the time (at least in my head). I was reading along the recipe for the first time while baking. The oven was preheated and I was just about to slide the bread onto the baking stone when i realized i needed a steam pan. The broiler pan i was used to using for this application had to be left behind in DC, and i just grabbed the closest pan i could find. It was glass. Multi-tasking. I was probably only thinking about all of the flour i was going to have to clean up in the kitchen, the food i still needed to buy…
I have been through this before with the Italian bread when my parent’s oven light bulb got a sprinkle of water on it and shattered all over the bread. At least this time, our oven is so narrow that the baking stone had completely protected the baking bread from the glass below. As a testament to the resiliency of the recipe, after i had let the oven cool down and cleaned out all the glass, I reheated the oven and continued baking those three loaves. They came out fine, and were met with many complements!
The last three loaves came out even better (so i recommend following the recipe the first time). WHEN i make this bread again, I will try leaving it out on the counter for an hour or so, to mimic the Ciabatta recipe. I noticed that my oven probably did not make it to the 500°F that it claims on it’s plastic knob. In order to get a good golden brown color, the loaves baked for a rough total of 40 minutes, not the 18-23 that the recipe called for.
- I observed that the recipe called for quite a bit less flour than i found necessary. I found myself repeating this phrase in my head, ‘the dough should be sticky on the bottom of the bowl but it should release from the sides’ as i kept adding flour and watching the dough hook glop around in the mixing bowl.
- While shaping the baguettes, take extra care to only minimally manipulate the dough and only stretch them. I made a few yo-yo moves with my baguettes, pulling them out too far then pushing back together. While the dough is sitting on a heavily floured counter, this creates some funky, dense areas on the bottom of the loaf.
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