i followed the same recipe as last time with just a couple of variations:
- instead of 5c bread flour, I used 3 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups bread flour.
- instead of canola oil, i used extra virgin olive oil.
Upon first inspection of the dough that came out of the mixer, it was much less blobby than last time. it was quite firm, though a bit tacky. I rolled it out on a floured surface even though the instructions said to use an oiled surface. I kneaded it (that's such an awkward phrase "kneaded it" .. should be "knead' it" or "knud it" or "knade it". just sayin'...) just a couple of minutes then let it set while I washed out the mixer bowl. I decided to wait to cut the dough in half and let it all rise together. I dried the bowl and sprayed in a fine layer of canola oil, plopped the ball of dough into the bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.
Tiny little interjection here: There are few things I loathe using in this world; plastic wrap is one of them. Its just not user friendly.
The oven was on at 200 to warm up the kitchen. I set the covered bowl on top of the stove so it could stay warm to rise. Forget little miss' idea to only let the dough rise 15 minutes, or whatever it was. I let this baby almost triple in size, then punched it down and tossed it out on a cutting board to knead. I kneaded it for close to five minutes, and then kneaded in a few leaves I plucked from the rosemary plant in my kitchen window.
I sprayed the pizza pan I used last time and put the ball of perfect dough in the center. I was so completely happy with myself. I tried to cut an X in the top of the dough like shown in the recipe, but my knife isn't great, so it was more like ripping a gap in the center.
I spritzed it with water and turned up the oven to 350. baked for about ten minutes, pulled it out slightly and spritzed it with a bit more water, watching it crust and turn brown before my eyes. Bake another ten to fifteen minutes and attempt to repeat the last step. Only...
I realized I forgot to cut the loaf in half. Its as big as my head. A bread-head in my oven. I pulled it out. The tear in the top sort of blew open and the loaf was forcing itself to get wider. It was if Pac Man had an alien try to burst through his mouth and rip his head totally in half.
So I sprayed it again and tossed it back in the oven.
Another ten minutes and it is perfectly golden brown. Giant, but perfectly golden brown. Not remembering exactly how to tell when bread is done (in case its beautiful on the outside and gooey in the center) I stuck a thermometer in it. Isn't that usually how you tell when stuff is done? When the thermometer hit 177 degrees I figured that wasnt much help. I remembered another recipe saying that you should turn the loaf over in your hand and thump the bottom – if it sounds hollow it's done. Melons aren't the only edible drums.
Doubled garbed in oven mits, I flipped that baby over and thimped his belly. Hollow.
This is SO not what I had in mind when I decided to make this today, but my goodness it looks good. Waiting for it too cool a little bit before I eat it with butter. Mmmmmm....
So today's lesson is this: feel free to experiment a little bit, but follow really important steps like how many loaves of bread your recipe should make. If it tells you to cut it in half, by gawd, cut it in half!
Or else you'll get this: