Second batch of bread came out perfect

Second batch of bread came out perfect

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August 2011
Despite hostile yeast.

(found my white balance calibration card)

The yeast failed to proof (prove to be alive). It was ever so slightly foamy. I foolishly decided that it would probably work anyway, since it's supposed to be rare that it fails.

Dough didn't rise. I really think one of the packs of yeast I bought was just bad, and the other was worse. Great way to begin baking, right? I think this time I used the worse one. I thought it was just rising very slowly, but when I punched it at 6.8 hours it didn't deflate at all. I let it sit on my counter overnight with a wet towel over it, figuring I'd make pitas or something out of it the next day. The next morning, it had doubled (in 14.3 hours). I was very excited. I deflated it, put it into two pans, put the wet towel back over them, and went to work. When I got home from work, it had risen pretty well again, so I baked it.

And... I don't know what I'd change next time. It's really great. Really moist, and yummy without butter. Delicious with butter. I guess I now join the quest for the most moist loaf of purely whole wheat flour + water + salt. Recommendations? Still hoping to eventually do it with sourdough starter. I may start measuring by weight instead of volume next time. I have an appropriate scale.

It was based on the same recipe as last time, but I wanted to make it a lot more moist, so I doubled the olive oil, and replaced a cup of flour with a cup of sugar, resulting in:

2 3/4 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
? cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar

Bake time ended up being on the long end of the suggested range, which makes sense.

I don't know why people even put flour measurements in these. This time I added as little flour as I could possibly stand while kneading, and dealt with lots of stickiness. Last time I did the opposite.

I still don't have wheat to grind my own fresh flour. The rest of this post is sources of wheat I'm considering, prices at 50lb, all require special ordering:

A Market Natural Foods: $50.57
125 Loring St., Manchester NH

Harvest Co-op: $49.50 (10% discount for members)
581 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA
(617) 661-1580

Whole Foods Andover: $76.05
40 Railroad Street, Andover, MA

These folks have flat rate shipping of $4.49, with 50lb wheat at $48.99: http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/wholegrains.aspx

Would be so much cheaper if I lived in Utah with the Mormons :/
Anybody know any LDS around here who might have useful recommendations?

Wish I could find my Rubik's cube :/
  • I was just thinking earlier tonight I should start baking bread again. I started making it pretty often in 2009 but then stopped. I don't remember why. Homemade bread is so much better than any store brand.

    I should really get back into it. I think I might.
  • I've noticed that the expiration dates on the yeast you get in packets don't always guarantee it'll still be as vigorous as recipes expect it to be by that date. But of course we expect that a food is pretty much assured of being safe and 'good' to use at least through the expiration date, if not later. It may also be that it's not always kept cold in distribution.
    And as you've found, it was still viable, just took a long time to get a decent population of yeast working for you. It's a good thing you didn't let it get dried out in the waiting.
    We recently bought a huge bag of yeast at an Indian grocery, on the same shelf as the bags of spices, so if it gets weaker (there's no way we're going to use all of it in time), we can just add extra yeast when we proof it.
    We're loving the taste of freshly milled flour in home-baked bread. I'm looking forward to trying sourdough with it too.
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