Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Won't Be Doing That Again

I know that most recipes recommend starting with ingredients at room temperature.  I often ignore this when it comes to eggs, butter, and refrigerated dairy products.  First of all, I don't plan far enough ahead, and even if I did... How long does it take to get these things to room temp, and how long is it safe for each to sit out at 65 to 75 degrees?  I don't know, so I don't bother worrying about it.

Last Friday I needed to grind more hard white wheat in order to mix up the batch of dough for next Friday's pizza.  I knew that we were out of bread and I'd need to make some the next morning, so decided I'd just grind that flour Friday night, while I had my mill out and set up.  I then froze it to retain the nutrients, and felt satisfied I'd saved myself a bit of time and effort for the next morning's task.

The next morning I thought to set the flour out of the freezer while I gathered and prepared the other ingredients for my now-favorite bread recipe, but then dumped it in while it was still pretty cold.  

I was surprised that it seemed to take less flour to get to the consistency I usually have with the whole batch.  I have no idea if that was related to the temperature of the flour, or just the slight difference that can happen from one batch to another.

With this recipe, there is a half hour 'hydrolyzing' step, for which the dough rests and allows the moisture to really permeate the grain.  I knew after that half hour, the dough was not looking quite the same, and accepting that it was because of the temperature, allowed it to sit another half hour or a little longer.

At this point, it was time to knead, which I did, then let it sit, covered and oiled, for the usual hour to rise.  After an hour, that recipe usually looks like this:                                                                                          

Instead, this batch looked like this:                                                                                                                

I neglected to look at the time when I finally was able to see it rise to the usual level, but I think it was a couple hours later.  When I divided that dough, it felt heavier and tougher... It pretty much snapped when I stretched and divided it into loaf-sized pieces.

The rise of the shaped loaves took longer than usual, too, of course, and I had to do the guessing game of whether or not it has risen enough.  When it passed the fingertip test, I put it in the oven to bake until the internal temperature was 200 degrees.  

The bread was finally done just before 5 PM, when it normally would have been ready for a late lunch (about 1 or 1:30).  So my saving myself approximately 7 minutes of mill assembly and grinding time, added 3 1/2 hours and a lot of extra effort to my bread baking... And I got denser, 3/4 loaves to show for it.   Not a good trade!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...