Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Still Bake, Part 2

I will now share about my 2nd attempt at developing a new schedule to fit the longer sponge technique for my standard bread recipe.                                                                                                                                                                         
This was also my 2nd attempt at using the fridge to incorporate an overnight rise, but with the sponge only this time.  It, at least, did not try to take over, or come anywhere near oozing out of the bowl.                                                                                                                                                                                        
I did, however, have the same type of issues as Attempt 1, concerning the refrigerated temperature of the dough.  Should I start right in adding ingredients to the cold sponge, or let it warm?  If the latter, for how long?                                                                                                                                                                
 I decided on 2 hours.  Even after the wait, and after incorporating the rest of the ingredients to make the complete dough, it was still pretty cold when I shaped the loaves.  This affected the rise.  After the usual 40 minute rising time, the loaves were not near double, and didn't pass the fingerprint test.  --Properly risen dough, when pressed in 1/2" with 2 fingertips should retain an imprint.  At this point the dough bounced right back.  It was 15 minutes more before I felt it might be ready to bake, and even then I wasn't quite sure.  But I decided I'd rather take the chance on under-rising than risk over-rising and having collapsed and/or crumbly loaves.                                                                                                                         
Just shaped

After 40 minutes
After 55 minutes

The baking time was extended, too.  Thank goodness for the temperature probe method, so I didn't have to guess at when it might be done.   The bread is good, but maybe a little dense, due to possible under-rising.  When I shape loaves, I am not too picky about the exact shape, because after they rise, they usually all look the same.  This time however, because of the temperature of the dough, I'd guess, they seemed to retain any odd shaping, and one loaf was a lopsided shape...taller on one side.           

I am going to give up on using the refrigerator in the process of making sandwich bread.  It lengthens the process too much, and makes timing a nightmare.  I have to check and re-check, never knowing when it might be ready for the next step, and when I will be free to move onto something else, or leave the house.                         
My best bet, I think, would be to start bread in the morning, let the sponge rise for 4 hours or so, then finish.  That means bread-baking would be a 6-hour process, and it would require a free afternoon, which is not always guaranteed during spring sports season.  I could also try letting the sponge sit overnight, un-refrigerated.

Previous related posts:

Oven Temperature Probe:
Not just for meats any more
Need to Get Back on Track!...Bread

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