Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lean Dough ~ Take I

It's a Sunday afternoon (Superbowl Sunday to be precise), I've got a pot of homemade chicken stock simmering on the stove, the house smells AMAZING! There will be chicken noodle soup tonight! My beautiful 15 month old son is taking a nap, it's time for bread...

Ah bread! How hard can it truly be to make? I'm an intelligent individual, I've been cooking for years with good results, this will be a snap right? As I've made the decision to bake my way through the CIA textbook, I started with the first recipe:

Lean Dough
5 lb Bread Flour
2/3 oz Instant Dry Yeast
53.5 fl oz Water
1.75 oz Salt

As I'm not a complete moron, I realized before I even began that I would need to reduce this recipe significantly! I am, after all, not working out of a commercial kitchen! So, I halved the recipe. 

I began by gathering my ingredients and unpacking my brand new kitchen scale:

As per the instructions, I combined my flour and yeast in one bowl, and my salt and water in my mixing bowl. 

I then added the flour/yeast mixture to my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer with my  never-been-used bread hook attachment and mixed on low for 2 minutes, then on medium for 3 minutes. Per the instructions, my dough should then be "smooth and elastic". 

...cue the sounds effect (wah wah waaaaaaaah). I overmixed. 

According to the text "when dough is overmixed it will be very sticky and wet and will have little or no elasticity. This occurs because the gluten strands have been broken down; the resulting product will not rise or bake properly".

Naturally, I did what a lot of women would do, I called my mom. I knew the dough was a lost cause, but for some reason I felt the need to share with her. My mother worked for many years in a bakery and suggested that I start out Betty Crocker's Cookbook smaller. 

I however am both empowered and encouraged; why you ask? Because I know where I went wrong! Even cutting the recipe in half wasn't enough! I should have cut it down to a quarter. If you look closely at the above picture, the volume of dough is so high, it actually went over the top of my breadhook. My mighty Kitchen Aid mixture couldn't handle the amount of ingredients I threw at it! Poor thing...

And there is it. My first attempt to bake bread, a failure, perhaps. But it is from failure that we learn to press on, and so I shall.

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