008 - Basic White #6

Basic White Bread
January 23, 2011

Finally, a healthy dose of failure. Used a 50/50 mix of Leckford Estate and Co-operative's strong white flours, using same ratio as before. Everything was okay, slightly less sticky than previous dough - I think the co-op flour might be a bit more voluminous, or at least more coarse than the Leckford Estate. They are visibly different to the naked eye. In any case, I tried a new trick, "retarding" the dough, or letting the dough ferment in the refrigerator. From about 3:30AM to 11:30AM, it fermented in the fridge, rising to about twice the size of the original dough. I plopped it out of the mixing bowl, knocked it back, and folded into shape. It was a bit tough to shape - not as soft or compliant as my usual doughs. Then I left it to prove and stuck it straight into the oven, spraying/steaming as usual. 

After doing some reading, I think I was meant to let the dough return to room temperature before folding/proving/baking. The finished product was terribly under cooked in the center, while the outside burst open and was slightly burnt. I think both the under-cooked-ness and bursting of the dough were due to using cold dough. I probably wasn't able to fold it well enough for the shape to hold because the dough was still stiff and cold, and the uneven cooking of the inside and outside seems obviously related to the temp. Lesson learned. Will try to be more patient next time.. 

Apologies to my flatmates, who ate the bread after I left it out without any notice. A few hours after the fact, it seems edible after all, though undercooked. And it certainly isn't pretty to look at. Surprisingly, the bread is still somewhat light, with evenly sized bubbles, etc. etc. I'm definitely going to try fermenting in the fridge again. Hopefully the results won't be so disappointing next time. 


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