1. On Sunday, Miles had to be removed from church after he repeatedly pointed to a cartoonish picture of Abraham (on the OHP during the children’s talk) and shouted “Batman!” Question: Does this mean he has watched too much Batman, or not enough?
2. I have learned something new. I am terrible at making bread.
This came as something of a surprise, as I have been making bread for, what? Over ten years, at least, and I haven’t had any complaints about the loaves produced this time. But I discovered an artisan breadmaking site, and it turns out I’ve been doing pretty much everything wrong. Way too much flour in the dough. Slashing incorrectly and at the wrong time. Putting the bread in a cold oven in the hopes it would rise a bit during the preheating stage. Not using a baking stone. Not autolysing. Not knowing what autolysing was. Not using preferments. Not knowing what preferments were. Then thinking preferments were pronounced ‘prefer-ments’, not ‘pre-ferments’. Overhandling the dough after the first rise, leading to degassing and a closer crumb. Cutting into loaves before they cooled. Not folding slack doughs. Rising freeform loaves on a flat surface. Using way too much yeast.
It also turns out that no-knead bread is not, as I snobbishly assumed, a recent and plebeian invention designed only to save time. It’s a more traditional method than kneading, and produces a better crumb colour.
So there you go. I am quite exhilarated. Throwing the vestiges of our already failing no-white-flour diet out the window, I am making vast and floury plans to conquer the world one boule at a time. I have learned about ears and couches and bannetons and hydration percentages. I have baked two loaves in a preheated Dutch oven and marvelled at the oven spring. I have rashly gone out and bought an oval cast iron casserole in case I ever want to cook long loaves. (It was on special.) I have read up on tangzhong and sworn off olive oil in my pizza dough.
And I have tried my hand at a very wet dough base for a raisin-orange loaf. I may have rushed into that one. I hadn’t read up on the folding method yet, and the resulting loaf - which is still in the oven - is looking rather less loaf-like and more splat-like than could be wished. (But at least I know why it failed. No gluten shell. And it might still taste OK - ooh, timer. Hang on.)
Oops. Make that splat-like and burned. Further blogging must wait while I hastily whip up some scones or something for after-choir supper. I don’t feel depressed any more, though. Funny old world, innit?