Last week I pulled out Fred, my sourdough starter for the second recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I fed him and then fed him again for a whopping 1440g of starter. I ended up using very little for the Christopsomos, and made a loaf of plain sourdough from the leftover starter minus the bit I put back in the fridge.
Because the DLX works by harnessing the awesome power of friction, you have to add the water and all applicable liquids in first, and then slowly add enough flour so that the dough pulls away from the bowl, wraps itself around the roller and squashes itself between the moving bowl and the aforementioned roller.
One of the secrets of successful mixing with the Electrolux DLX is to watch the dough as the gluten strands form. You have to resist adding more flour, as eventually you will definitely add too much. But at some point, the whole thing just comes together and it looks awesome.
So I added cranberries, golden raisins and freshly toasted walnuts to the mix a bit before I switched off the machine, and then tossed the dough into a bowl while I scraped out the stainless steel bowl of the DLX. Of course, I should have let it rise in the glass bowl, but I love peeking under the dishtowel and seeing the dough rise in the steel bowl of the machine.
Here it is after the first rise:
Because the oven that came with the apartment is one of those small size apartment ovens, I could only bake one loaf at a time. I actually made a batch and a half, so I ended up with a huge loaf and a half loaf.
The huge loaf was baked on a Blaustahl pan, normally used for pizza, and the small one on the bottom of a Springform pan from Dr. Oeteker. I used an egg wash for both of them instead of the sticky sugar glaze from the book as it seemed many others in the group complained about it.
For some reason, the top of the oven gets much hotter than the bottom, so I have a problem with overbrowning. I am constantly making foil tents for my breads, and even though I score my loaves, the top gelatinizes first, and the bread explodes Alien-style from the bottom. I am trying to find a Baking Stone in order to maintain better temperature for the top and the bottom of the oven, but it is very difficult to find one here that will fit the oven.
Nevertheless, the bread came out tasty. The larger loaf was donated to a First Communion Party, where it was a huge hit. Half of the small loaf was eaten as soon as it was cool, and the other half was enjoyed with fellow hikers who could not believe I had made the bread.
It still amazes me how others are surprised by homemade bread. I have been baking on and off (mostly off) for the past twelve years, and about two months ago, I had never made a baguette or anything other than my standard two-loaf batch: six cups flour two cups water, tablespoon each of salt and yeast.
I am looking forward to the rest of the book, and actually plan on skipping ahead and trying some of the other recipes beforehand. However, I still plan on baking with the rest of the group and keeping pace as we go through these recipes in order. Next up, Bagels!
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