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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Water Sports (BBB March 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Water-Proofed Challah; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) March 2014

snow Last month was a baptism by Fire for new BBBabes. This month it’s Water (Eeek what’s next month? Earth?)

Last Monday, we thought maybe spring was arriving. It was above freezing and the ice on the roads cleared so we were able to ride our bikes. But the party was over the next day. Of course it was. Snow started falling in the early morning and this was how it looked by 11:00am.

But Pat (Feeding My Enthusiasms) lives in Lotusland where the flowers have been growing for weeks. She chose a water sport for us this month…

Although the dough in this recipe is fairly difficult to handle, it makes a very delicate, brioche-like bread with a rich, buttery, eggy taste. It is extraordinarily good, ideal for tea or for eating with butter, jam and marmalade, and toasts extremely well. [...] The bread is called “water-proofed” because the dough is submerged in a bath of water for the first rising.

-James Beard, Beard on Bread, 1973

water-proofed bread And you thought the Winter Olympics were over. Not a chance. Let the games continue!

The dough itself isn’t too hard – as long as you don’t mind kneading really really slack dough (no worries, it’s not nearly as slack as the dreaded “coccodrillo“)

Not to frighten any would-be BBBuddies, but this is not the easiest method to proof dough. However, what I learned is that it’s a good idea to be very liberal with the flour on the tea towel.

Dredge the towel in flour!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s step back a few days…

BBB Water Proofed Bread diary:

3 February 2014, 00:26

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees F, approximately)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
[...]
3 eggs
[...]
Put in the yeast, the 1/2 cup warm water, and the teaspoon of sugar, and stir until the yeast dissolves.
 
-BBB Water-Proofed Bread recipe

Whoa! That’s a lot of yeast! Is it because of the butter? Or the sugar??

But. This is really intriguing! And here I was all set to relegate some of our tea towels as cleaning rags. Suddenly, I’ve changed my mind.

2 March 2014 07:52 I’m starting to think about making this bread. And I’m blanching at using so much butter, eggs and sugar. I’m contemplating mixing a lean dough (just flour, water, salt and yeast – and ground flaxseed, of course) and proofing it in the water bath. I wonder there also lean dough recipes in the water-proofed bread book.

I know that it isn’t really that much butter and sugar. It’s just that I’m still feeling the effects of eating way too much butter and sugar over Christmas. And with all this stupid snow and ice still lurking, it still feels like Christmas just happened.

3 March 2014 00:58 Yes. I am a BadBBBabe. The others have told me to stick to the recipe. I think it was my suggestion that I’ll use flax seed that was the most blasphemous part? Maybe I should substitute with teff? Or oatmeal? (snort)

I still think I might nix almost all the butter and sugar though. And there’s no way I’m going to add 3 eggs! Maybe I’ll add 1. Maybe.

I’ve also decided that 5 tsp of yeast for 3.5 cups of flour is way too much yeast and have planned to have misread the recipe and use a reasonable amount.

7 March 2014 13:43 We were making our trek to the only grocery store we know about in Toronto that sells Rogers “no additives” unbleached all purpose flour (at the northern end of the city – we live at the southern end) and I was telling T about not really wanting to make yet another bread with butter and sugar in it. And he asked how much butter and sugar. I said it would be similar to a challah.

Suddenly the car was filled with anguished cries of “I LOVE challah! You never make challah for me! I can’t wait for this month’s BBB bread! When are you making it? Tomorrow? Sunday? Soon?

Ha. I guess I’m adding all the sugar and butter (I’ll use salted butter because I’m guessing that’s pretty much the only kind of butter that was readily available to home cooks in the USA in 1973). …but I’m still going to cut back on the eggs. :stomp: :stomp:

12 March 2014 07:10 I can’t believe we were riding our bikes yesterday! It snowed (again) last night. It’s still snowing….

I’m steeling myself and planning on baking this bread today …I sure hope this is a same-day bread! (Can you tell that I haven’t actually read the instructions yet?)

Do try the recipe as written, at least the first time. [...] It is delicate, with a moist crumb and rich flavor. You can always give the second loaf away. It is too yummy to skip.
 
-Pat, email to BBBabes

Okay Okay! I’ll try not to play too fast and loose with the recipe. But, you know me. I can’t help making at least one substitution….

Because I’m a freak, I worked out the weight equivalents for the ingredients. At the price of eggs these days, I’m NOT using all those eggs and initially planned to substitute one or two of them with plain yoghurt (an egg is roughly 60ml/0.25c).

But then I did a little googling. (I may have said this before, but I LOVE the internet.)

Do try the recipe as written, at least the first time. [...] It is delicate, with a moist crumb and rich flavor. You can always give the second loaf away. It is too yummy to skip.
 
-Pat, email to BBBabes

Madhuram (Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking | Eggless yet tasty!) wrote that if the eggs in the recipe are used as leavening, buttermilk, yogurt, or baking soda could be substituted.

The Cooks Thesaurus has a number of suggestions for egg substitution and Whooohooooooooooooo!! one of them is to use ground flax seed and baking soda. THAT’s what I’m going to do!

Sigh. I know that Pat expressly said to try the recipe as written the first time. But I just can’t. I’m NOT adding a teaspoon of sugar when reconstituting the yeast. It’s just not necessary and there’s already plenty of sugar in the dough.

Not to mention all that yeast. Two packages?! That’s an insane amount of yeast for that much flour!

Don’t even get me started on the fact that the recipe calls for the non-specific “packages” of yeast. (Ooops, too late!)

[rant alert] With regards to “package of yeast” – I don’t have this book so don’t know if there is any indication anywhere in it as to how much is in a packet or what company makes the packets that the cookbook editors used. “Package” is such an ambiguous term. Googling, I have seen that an envelope, packet, package of yeast is either 2.25 tsp, 2.5 tsp or 1 Tbsp. I’ve also seen 7 gm, 8 gm, 11 gms.

But, after foaming at the mouth a little (cough), I have to admit that generally, in North America, a package of bread yeast is 7 or 8 gm. Fleischmann’s Canada says that each of their envelopes hold 8 gm. Fleischmann’s USA says that each of their envelopes hold .25oz. Red Star site that each of their envelopes hold .25oz (which by my calculation is 7gm).

Let’s say someone brand new to baking bread comes across a recipe for bread that calls for “a package” of yeast. That person won’t necessarily know that James Beard’s book was published in the USA, nor indeed whether the recipe was typed up in Australia, Canada, USA or England. It’s true that in North America, most packages of yeast have roughly the same amount of yeast in them. But elsewhere, a package of yeast could well hold a completely different weight. The use of the word “package” is far too imprecise. [/rant alert]

I’m curious, I wonder if there is a glossary of terms in the Beard book that says how much yeast is in a package?

10:51 Wow!! THAT is sloppy dough! I thought maybe I had miscalculated about how much flour was supposed to go in. But checking both Traditional Oven and Gourmet Sleuth, I see that I didn’t misread. 3.5c = 438 gm. And King Arthur says it’s even less: 422 gm!

I guess I will have to add a bit more flour as I knead.

Sigh… No wonder that people thought bread making was hard in the 1970s!

Spread out the dough on a working surface – a table, a piece of marble, or a board – sprinkled with the additional 1/2 cup flour.
 
-BBB Water-Proofed Bread recipe

What additional 1/2 cup of flour?! (Reading again.)

[S]tir in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make what will probably be a very wet and sticky dough. Stir quite vigorously. Spread out the dough on a working surface – a table, a piece of marble, or a board – sprinkled with the additional 1/2 cup flour.
 
-BBB Water-Proofed Bread recipe

Ooooh! I see that I wasn’t supposed to mix in all the flour to make a “probably wet and sticky dough”?? hahahahahahaha

Yikes! Imagine how sloppy it would have been if I hadn’t mixed in all the dough!

11:17 Well. That was labour intensive!

Water-Proofed Bread Talk about slack dough. What a good thing it is that I know about the Richard Bertinet two-handed kneading method for a particularly loose dough.

Lift the dough, pat with flour, and place on a clean kitchen towel also sprinkled with flour. Wrap it and tie it in the towel, just as you would a package, but very loosely.
 
Submerge this packet in a large bowl filled with warm water (about 100 – 115 degrees F, approximately). It will sink.
 
-BBB Water-Proofed Bread recipe

I couldn’t find an old tea towel that wasn’t riddled with holes. So I floured one of them anyway and placed it inside another tea towel. I sure hope I can get the flour out afterwards…..

13:01 The tea towel package hasn’t risen to the top of the water yet….

14:42 How cool is that? It’s risen right to the top!

Water-Proofed BreadWater-Proofed BreadWater-Proofed Bread

16:01 I did it! I managed to scrape almost all of the dough off of the cloth. But. Oh my! Oh my!! First I tried to peel the wet sticky dough off with my fingers. Ha. Not a chance.
So I got the pie lifter out of the drawer and used it like a brick layer’s trowel (does that tool actually have a specific name?) to scrape the errant dough off. WHAT a mess. I know what method of rising I’m never going to try again… I don’t care how good this bread is! (Sorry, Pat.)

Water-Proofed BreadWater-Proofed BreadWater-Proofed Bread

Still, it was fun – in a pulling dead skin off of a sunburn sort of way – ie: relatively painless, after I discovered the wonders of swishing the towel around in warmish water to get rid of the last vestiges of dough from it.

And, forget Beard’s instruction for the tea towel to be “sprinkled with flour”. It turns out that wherever I had really really really floured the tea towel, the dough simply pulled away with the tiniest nudge from the scraper.

Oh, and the holes in the tea towel? hahahahaha the rising dough popped through the holes, making it more difficult to release the dough from the tea towel.

Wherever the towel was really dredged with flour, it was easier to release the risen dough cleanly. The other thing I learned is that it’s not such a good idea to use a tea towel with holes in it. The rising dough escapes through the holes. Of course, it does. :-/

Hint: Use a NEW tea towel that is very tightly woven.

Shaping the dough was insanely easy. I decided to braid it because the dough reminds me of challah dough.

Then I decided against using tins. Isn’t making a big mess with the tea towels enough labour? I’m baking them free-form!

17:19 the loaves look beautiful!!! The oven is preheating….

17:33

Brush the dough with cold water, and, if you like, make a slash in each loaf with a sharp knife.
 
-BBB Water-Proofed Bread recipe

Oops. (One of these days I may learn to read.) I brushed the braids with milk (it was cold) and into the oven they’ve gone. I can’t wait!! I think this is going to be brilliant bread.

17:52 Oven spring!! We have oven spring!! And does the bread ever smell good!

Water-Proofed Bread

We decided to send one of the still warm loaves to our friends next door. It arrived just in time for them to have it as dessert. They reported the next day that their boy had eaten 8 slices! I think they liked it…. :) :D :whoohoo:

Here is the BBB March 2014 Water-Proofed Bread recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Water-Proofed Bread
based on a recipe in “Beard on Bread” (1973) by James Beard

dough

  • 0.25 lb (0.5c/113 gm) salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp (9 gm) instant skim milk powder ¹
  • 180 ml/gm (0.75 c) boiling water
  • 60 ml/gm (0.25 c) water at 100F ²
  • 6 gm (2 tsp) active dry yeast ³
  • 25 gm (2 Tbsp) granulated sugar 4
  • 3 eggs 1 egg 5
       »61 gm (4 Tbsp) plain yoghurt
       »14 gm (2 Tbsp) ground flaxseed
       »1/8 tsp (0.6 gm) baking powder
       »45 gm (3 Tbsp) water
  • 438 gm (3.5 c) flour
       »375 gm (~3 c) unbleached all-purpose
       »63 gm (~0.5 c) whole wheat
  • 12 gm Kosher salt (2 tsp fine salt)
  • more flour for dredging the tea towel
  • large bowl of water at 100F
  • milk for brushing on top of the loaves
  1. mixing: In the morning of the day you are baking the bread, cut the butter into cubes and put it into a large mixing bowl. Add powdered milk and pour boiling water overtop. Whisk to dissolve the milk powder and melt the butter.
  2. Pour the warm (100F) water into a small bowl. Whisk in the yeast to dissolve it. Set aside.
  3. Add sugar, egg, yoghurt, ground flax, baking powder, 3 Tbsp water and whisk well.
  4. Dump in flour and salt and using a wooden spoon stir to encorporate all the flour. It will be pretty sloppy.
  5. Kneading Turn the dough out onto an UNfloured board. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Please do not be tempted to skip this step.
  6. Using both hands on either side of the dough and thumbs resting on the top in the center, lift it up and flip it over in the air before plopping it back down on the board. Fold the dough in half away from you as you plop the dough down. Keep repeating until the dough is smooth. Every so often, use the dough scraper to clean the board. Stretching the dough is desired on the turns but won’t start happening right away. (Please look at the video we made for clarification.)
  7. When the dough is smooth, dust it with flour. Lay a clean tea towel out and absolutely dredge it with flour. Don’t be afraid to use lots of flour…. Gently lift the dough into the center of the tea towel. Tie the towel up loosely like a present.
  8. Partially fill the clean mixing bowl (see? aren’t you glad you washed the bowl?) with water at around 100F. Submerge the package in the water. As the towel gets wet, the package will sink. Don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that.
  9. Put the bowl (uncovered) into the oven with only the light turned on and allow it to rise for about an hour or so. When the dough is ready, the package will float.
  10. Lift the package out of the water and place it in a colander to allow it to drain a little. Unwrap the package and freak out that there is wet sticky dough (beautifully risen though) all over the tea towel. Notice that it really wasn’t a good idea to use a tea towel with holes because the rising dough escaped. Congratulate yourself for wrapping the holey tea towel in another tea towel.
  11. Shaping Somehow maneuver the dough onto a floured board. Try not to worry about how sloppy the dough is. Bread wants to be bread…. Use a pie lifter to scrape the extra dough off the towel. Once again, congratulate yourself for really dredging the towel with flour because the dough comes away fairly easily from the really floured parts.
  12. Plunge the tea towel into a bowl of cool water and swish it around to clean off any bits of flour and dough that still cling to it. Squeeze the tea towel out.
  13. Use the dough scraper to gently fold the dough in half. Pat it gently to remove excess flour. Cut the dough into six even pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and create two braided loaves. Place them on a parchment papered cookie sheet. Cover with the squeezed out tea towel followed by a large plastic grocery bag and put in the oven with only the light turned on to rise until almost double.
  14. Baking
  15. baking: Make sure there is a rack on an upper middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 375F.
  16. Brush the risen loaves liberally with milk. Bake on the top shelf of the oven (to prevent the loaves from burning on the bottom) for 30-45 minutes, turning the loaves around once half way through baking, to account for uneven oven heat until they sound hollow when knocked on the bottom.
  17. Put the baked loaves on a footed rack to allow them to cool completely before breaking them apart or cutting into them. They’re still baking inside! (Even if you’ve ignored the instructions about using hot water from the tap and washing out the mixing bowl, please do not ignore this step.) 6

Notes:

1.) Milk: Milk The BBB recipe calls for half a cup of warm milk and half a cup of warm water. I find it much easier to use powdered milk. So added 2 Tbsp milk powder to the boiling water (for melting the butter) and proofed the yeast in just a quarter cup of warm water.

2.) Water: Please, I know I say this every time. But do not use water from the hot water tap. Eventually I feel certain that the other BBBabes will jump over to my side of the fence on this… (How old are your pipes? How old is the solder? When is the last time you flushed the sediment from the hot water tank? How many toxins want to leach out? Do you really want those in your bread?) Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. The BBB recipe says that the water should be “100 – 115 degrees F, approximately” If you are allergic to using a thermometer to check that the temperature is 100F (just a few degrees higher than body temperature), put a few drops of water onto your wrist; if it feels warm then it’s fine. Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

3.) Yeast Yet another recipe that calls for not one but TWO “packages” of yeast. (It IS an old recipe….) This kind of measurement drives me mad! How much is in a package?! I know that in North America, it’s generally accepted that a package is about 7 gm – or 2.25 teaspoons. But it could well be different elsewhere. This time round, I used 1 tsp active dry yeast. Granted, butter and sugar can inhibit yeast activity, but there isn’t that much butter and sugar in this bread….


for every cup of flour in the recipe, use either of
 
3 grams compressed fresh yeast
2 grams active dry yeast
1 gram instant active dry yeast
 
-Maggie Glezer, “Artisan Baking Across America”
Substitute twice as much (by weight) fresh yeast for the amount of dry yeast called for in the recipe.
 
-Daniel Leader, “Local Breads”
1 g fresh = 0.5 g active dry = 0.4 g instant
 
-Susan (Wild Yeast), wildyeastblog.com
2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast
 
-Carol Field, “The Italian Baker”

4.) Sugar The BBB recipe calls for “1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon (50gm + 4gm ) granulated sugar”. That just seems excessive to me. This is bread, not cake!

5.) Eggs The BBB recipe calls for 3 eggs. We don’t have the luxury of having our own chickens in the back yard to supply us with eggs (a city ordnance disallows it!). So I substituted. I know that an egg is roughly 60 ml (0.25 cup) of liquid. But here’s what I learned about egg substitution:


For baking: 1 egg = 2 tablespoons liquid + 2 tablespoons flour + ½ tablespoon shortening + ½ teaspoon baking powder (Recipe from Substituting Ingredients by Becky Sue Epstein and Hilary Dole Klein.
[...]
OR flaxmeal (Make flaxmeal by grinding flaxseed in a blender until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Use two tablespoons flaxmeal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.
[...]
OR gelatin (To replace each egg: Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy.)
 
OR cornstarch (Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.
[...]
OR bananas (Substitute 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.)
 
-Cooks Thesaurus, Eggs
If eggs are binders in a recipe, it can be replaced with Arrowroot, Soy Lecithin, Flax-seed Mix, Pureed Fruits or Vegetables, Silken Tofu, Unflavored Vegetarian Gelatin Powder (agar agar). The ratio is, for every egg replaced, 1/4 cup of the substitute is used.
 
If eggs are leavening agents, Buttermilk, Yogurt, Baking Soda [...] can be used.
 
If eggs are added for moisture, Fruit Juice, Milk, Water or Pureed Fruit can be used
 
-Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking

6.) But I LIKE warm bread just out of the oven!! N.B. Of course you will want to serve warm bread. Reheat it after it has cooled completely. (It is still baking when it first comes out of the oven!) To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 450F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

Water-Proofed Bread

We had half a loaf for breakfast the next day, warmed and torn apart with butter and apricot jam. (I can’t believe that there was still a jar of our apricot jam left in the basement!)

Breakfast was delicious!

I’m still not clear on why we did this water bath thing though. Sure, it was fun to try but I’m not positive that it really made that much difference.

The theory is that the dough, being delicate, will benefit from rising in water where the water barrier will keep the yeast produced gases inside the dough, for a better first rise.

-Pat, email to BBBabes

Hmmmm… I wonder if this is true. Don’t the yeast produced gases stay inside the dough when it’s in a bowl? But it did seem like the water bath simply pushed the rise by emersing the dough in such a warm environment.

Still, what great bread!! And fun too. Just remember… use COOL water to wash the flour out of your tea towel(s)!

Thank you Pat for delicious bread AND for making me add the sugar after all.

edit 18 March 2014: Isn’t Aparna brilliant? In her post, she outlined why this water-proofing method is done:

I wanted to understand the logic behind this method of bread dough proofing, so I went looking for some information on why bread dough had to undergo this form of water torture. [...] According to Elizabeth David, in her book “English Bread and Yeast Cookery”, Beard’s water proofing method (he is mentioned by name in her book, and the method really wasn’t his invention) was known in Victorian times. Later on, in the 1930s or so, it came to be known as the “Peggy Tub Bread” method. Apparently, on really hot days, this method was used to control the rise of dough and this method is better than using a refrigerator due to less extreme cold and higher humidity [...].

So when the washing tub was not being used to clean clothes, it was filled with cold water and parcels of dough wrapped in cloth towels were immersed in it. Then one went about one’s daily chores, and once the dough had risen to the top, because there was enough air trapped in the dough. It was then shaped and baked into bread.

Peggy Tub Bread was also referred to as Peggy Tub Cake probably because of the richness of the dough and it was really more of a yeasted cake than bread. [...]

Andrew Whitley, in his book Bread Matters, also mentions having come across this method for proofing bread in some Russian cookbook written in the late 1800s where the dough was put into a bucket of water. The instructions apparently call for immersing the dough in water of the temperature of river water on a summer day [...] [and] why some bakers refer to it as the Russian river bread floating test.

-Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen, Water-Proofed Bread (Not Water Proof!)

Suddenly, I can see myself trying this method again when it gets insanely hot in the kitchen (if spring ever arrives, that is).

 

Bread Baking Babes

Pat, aka Elle (Feeding My Enthusiasms) is the fearless host of March 2014′s Bread Baking Babes’ challenge. She wrote:

I’ve always been a water baby. I love baths, swimming, walking in the rain. I’m also an Aquarian for my horoscope…a water sign. Perhaps that’s why this month’s recipe caught my interest. I was reading bread recipes in Beard on Bread. James Beard was the American chef who was most instrumental in having Americans take pride in American food in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s when gourmet food was always food from another, country, especially France. It’s a great book. The Water-Proofed Bread used a rising process I’d never heard of. [...]

The theory is that the dough, being delicate, will benefit from rising in water where the water barrier will keep the yeast produced gases inside the dough, for a better first rise. Having it wrapped in a tea towel is probably necessary since Beard says this is a sticky dough, even when the first kneading is done. [...]

I also like the description of the finished bread. Since I’m restricted in how much bread I can eat, it is nice to choose one that I can enjoy with tea and enjoy toasted! Hope you enjoy it, too.

We know you’ll want to make water-proofed bread too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make water-proofed bread (dredge yur tea towel!!) in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 March 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ March bread:

YeastSpotting
Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event that was hosted by Heather (girlichef) and has now been taken over by Carola (Sweet and That’s It)

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

And Carola wrote:

Homemade bread is healthy! As healthy as you decide: choose the best ingredients (if you can afford it, organic and GMO free) and you’ll be surrounded by the most delicious scent and fascinated by the most delicious taste.

Let the adventure continue!

Sweet and That's it - BYOB For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

 


snow
This is how the back garden looked by late afternoon
on the day I baked the bread.
 
Time for more water sports!

 

8 Comments for Water Sports (BBB March 2014)” »

  1. Comment by Baking Soda — 17 March 2014 @ 12:30 EDT

    oh see how wonderful your braids are! And how fun it is to hear that the boy ate 8 slices of *your* bread! Definitely your BFF!
    I am wondering how your dough can be so slack… I followed your gram calculations and my dough was sticky but not slack. Hmm food for thought. (I did use 2 instead of 3 eggs and less butter which was only just about soft)

    edit 18 March: Strange, isn’t it, Karen? I can’t imagine that it has much to do with humidity. I think it’s probably because of my egg substitutions. Maybe if I had used one egg and substitute for just one egg, the dough might have behaved itself better. I’m also wondering if I should have adjust the weight a little for the whole wheat flour I used. Whole wheat flour does weigh a little more than all-purpose, after all. Still, no matter. The bread turned out okay. More than okay! -Elizabeth

  2. Comment by Baking Soda — 17 March 2014 @ 12:30 EDT

    That snow!! Sheesh! I was wodnering where our winter went, I think it went your way and got cold on the way over…

  3. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 17 March 2014 @ 14:13 EDT

    I hardly know where to start such a great write up and with your usual terrific dose of fun. I totally forgot to dust the tea towel … duh.
    I’m in awe with your braid! Such a perfect shape.
    I like Karen wonder what’s with such slackness. Times like this I wish we could mail each babe a package with all the ingredients in it … too bad customs would never let such through the mail.
    About the only thing I see that this method has over a bowl rise would be: a steady state temp as there would be not effect from breeze and there could be absolutely no drying out of the dough. Did it make some huge difference … I can’t figure that.

    edit 18 March: Thank you, Tanna! I thought the braid would be the only way to go with such a slack dough. I think it would have puddled in a pan. As for the proofing method, Aparna brilliantly found that it is indeed to keep the dough at a steady temperature. I added a quote from her post to the bottom of mine. -Elizabeth

  4. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 17 March 2014 @ 14:15 EDT

    … and I love the snow photos. I wish I could see what our place looks like in the snow this year. I think it might be up to the 2nd floor. A friend tells me Lake Michigan is completely frozen over now.

    edit 18 March: I wonder how you would be managing, Tanna, if you couldn’t get out of your front door…. I believe that Environment Canada has said that the Great Lakes are 90% frozen over; all except Lake Ontario are completely frozen and that’s one of the reasons spring is so late in springing. I can’t believe that Lake Superior is completly frozen! -Elizabeth

  5. Comment by Elle — 18 March 2014 @ 00:03 EDT

    Love the braid and that you tried it with sugar. I agree that it was an insane amount of yeast. I also think another cup of flour was called for. Yummy bread, so maybe the water proofed method makes it yummy somehow. *Giggle* Fun to try, especially with a new, tightly woven tea towel heavily dredged with flour. And then braid the loaves for perfection!

    edit 18 March, 09:40: Yes, using a NEW tea towel would be the wiser choice, Elle. (Ha. And they say that I’m smarter than I look. Shows where they’re wrong, doesn’t it?) I’ll try to remember that next time. But I think I’ll stick with the lower amount of flour and simply pull back on one of the egg replacements. -Elizabeth

  6. Comment by Lien — 18 March 2014 @ 08:33 EDT

    Well I’ll give it another go, yesterday it ate my comment and didn’t want to give it back to publish.
    Anyway, I love how you managed to get that sloppy dough braided, that’s a real achievement! I added some flour to make it easier to handle.
    When will this snow ever stop overthere? It looks pretty, but I can understand you’ve had enough by now!

    edit 18 March, 09:40: Sorry about that, Lien! There was something up with my server yesterday and the site actually went off-line for a few moments. I wonder if that was when it ate your comment. OR it was the snow. Yes. That’s it! It’s because of all the snow. :stomp: :stomp: -Elizabeth

  7. Comment by Katie — 19 March 2014 @ 15:27 EDT

    Lovely snow… We’ve mowed 3 times…. But you probably don’t want to know that. I think you’re bread is lovely. I have images of you walking, barefoot, with your tea towel of dough, down to the river on a hot summer day. Just use one without holes.

    edit 19 March: You’re right, Katie. I don’t want to know about the mowing you’ve done. :-( …. Really? You think that summer will actually arrive this year? -Elizabeth

  8. Comment by Ckay — 22 March 2014 @ 18:55 EDT

    The last couple of weeks the weather has been nice and warm… Now that spring has officially arrived the weather forecast says: snow! Oh, C’mon! Who wants snow now!
    But Elizabeth, I do love your pics! White and relaxing :-)

    I was too lazy and took out my stand mixer… (well, not a bad idea afterall! No mess! No mess at all!)

    The water proofing has been such a positive experience: it took only 35 minutes to proof.

    I wonder if it will work with any dough…

    Well dear Elizabeth, kudos for your braiding, they looks lovely.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful bread and story with Bake your own Bread.

    xx Carola

    edit 22 March, 19:25: Thank you for your kind words, Carola. I wondered if the water-proofing would work with any dough too. I suspect it would. I ALMOST made sugarless and butterless bread for the challenge just to see. ;-) -Elizabeth

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