Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lets Make Bread: Day two the rebreading

Greetings friends and hobbitess.

Sponge, after a good ferment.
Today we are going to finish baking bread.  For those of you baking along at home you may notice that I skipped over yesterday, I had too much going on and had no interest in firing up the oven late in the evening.  So I let the dough rest in the fridge.

If you have completed part one you should have a wet foamy mess that lives up to the name sponge.  We are now going to tricky part, turning this thing into a dough.

 To get there we will need, a large mixing bowl, rubber spatula or wooden spoon, 2ish cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, elbow grease, and black magic.

To start, in a large mixing bowl mix together 1 and 1/2 cups flour with about a teaspoon salt. Pour the sponge into this.  As you mix the sponge with the flour be sure to cut up the bigger clumps so the flour mixes with all of the sponge not just lining the outside.  I forget what the pink thing is called but it is basically a knife made out of silicon rubber and is perfect for this job.

Add a little flour as you go, you are trying to work for a runny batter to a shaggy dough.  Near the point where the dough has absorbed about 2 cups stirring in the bowl will become impractical and kneading will be needed.
Slightly kneaded

Kneading, the black magic part.
Sprinkle a generous handful of flour on your work surface,  extract the dough from the bowl, scrape as much of the dough out of the bowl as you can.

The basic motion of kneading is a push, turn, fold.  With the heel of your hand push the dough away from you stretching it. Turn it a 90 degrees, fold the dough back in on itself and repeat, for the next 8 to 10 minutes.   Because this dough starts of very wet, don't be scared to add more flour.  You want the final dough to be smooth and elastic. and slightly tacky to the touch.  Like mostly dry varnish.

Read to rise. 
 It is hard to explain exactly when to stop kneading.  The best advice I have is stop a little time after you start feeling the dough resist your efforts.  As you work it the dough will be come springy and it will push back more as you try to stretch it you really want this.  How long it will take you to reach that point.

At this point you want to be careful about not adding extra flour or over working it too much.  You want the final dough to be moist enough to heal when you shape it into the final loaf shapes.  Otherwise it will split wide open and that just don't look great.

Now that you have a smooth, ball of dough, its time to proof it.  I keep a large ceramic salad bowl in the cupboard above the fridge for this.  The thick clay retains the warmth giving the yeast a stable home.  

Just line the dough with a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil, cover the with cling film and put it in a warm spot.  For me that is the spot above the fridge. Avoid places with drafts. Now go watch a movie or read a book.  It should take about hour to rise.

If you really want to make use of this time, run down to your local kitchen shop and get a peel and a pizza stone, you'll thank me later.

Come back for part three.

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