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French Bread Results

Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Well, it was interesting. I made the dough, but rushed it along. Understand I am a bread invalid. After an hour of rising in a lukewarm oven. It really didn't rise as much as the pizza dough I have done, not sure why. Then I rolled it into a flat sheet, then a loaf (like Dr. C told me) Then layed that on a pizza peel to rise again. Brushed with eggwhite, cut shallow diagonal slits in the top, and let it rise again for 30 minutes. It rose a bit, but not a lot. [p]Then I bent into a huge crescent shape and slid onto the pizza stone in a preheated 400 degree egg. 25 minutes later I pulled out this gorgeous brown bread. Let sit fo 45 minutes, and cut into it. Nice crunchy crust, but the inside was dense and...well dense. Not airy or fluffy. [p]Probably has something to do with rushing it without getting the appropriate rises. 3 rises next time, and longer rise times. [p]But it was a thing of beauty, and the flavor was great. I think I will try another tomorrow, and give lots of time for the rising. The spritzing with water the first few minutes really made for a bubbly crust. [p]This is exciting stuff. I see huge potential. Thanks for the tips y'all.[p]Cheers. NB

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Comments

  • Nature Boy, exactly my results of first and only try, except I baked in the oven. My impression was that I didn't allow it to rise (raise?) enough. Texture was heavy. I'll be watching for your solution.

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Nature Boy:[p]A few bread thoughts:[p]I let it rise twice. Nice long rises. Start making the dough at noon for a 6:00 PM cook. This allows for unrushed rises. The third rise . . . I just do not see that much benefit after long rises. After the final rise, shape into your loaf[p]Kneading by machine is much better than I have produced by hand. Less time too.[p]In a standard oven, I place a glass pan of water and preheat the oven before adding the dough. Great results. For Egg bread, you could set racks that would acomodate a pan of water (your moisture) and pizza stone.[p]Mary has the bread drill down pat. I am sure she can give you a more comprehensive understanding than I can. Hopefully, she will be along shortly. It is a pleasure to learn from the more experienced of us.

  • Lee2Lee2 Posts: 38
    Nature Boy,
    If you are pressed for time, you could use rapid rise yeast, but I don't think it gives as good a final result as regular yeast. Proof your yeast to make sure it's good. That might have been part of the dense loaf problem.[p]You can get a good French loaf with a very long cool rise. By very long, I am talking about several hours.

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Nature Boy, I recall you mentioned a while back that you had subscribed to "Cooks Illustrated". If you did, then check page 12 of the March/April 2000 issue for the article "The Ultimate Homemade Baquette". Altho the article is not for "French Bread" the information is all adaptive. Pay particular attention to the paragaph on page 13 above the pan demo pics with the leading sentence, "New informatin got me back on track"
    !! It might be helpfull and save my duping it here..(might be copywrite material also)
    Cheers..C~W

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Nature Boy,[p]I have read alot about breads both here and others sources over the past year - seems there is a lot of things you can do to alter the texture of bread. I am no baker so I am still ignert too. My first question is, "Did you proof the yeast"? There seems to be a lot of disagreement on 1 rise vs 2 rises vs 3 rises vs etc. I hope some of the resident bread eggsperts get in here and set us straight. [p]You better keep tring different methods - I am not coming up there until you get it right!! Nice rain last night here - weatherman must have gone off on vacation this weekend, he has been 100% so far - all wrong though.[p]Tim
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    Tim M,
    Thanks to you and all the others who responded.
    Yeah, I proofed the yeast (does that just mean let it sit in hot water til it starts bubbling???)[p]Something is grabbing me here. I woke up early and ran out to the grocery store to get more flour and yeast. I gotta get this to work!! Already started working on the missuz to let me get one o dem kitchen aids. This time I will knead by hand again.[p]I'll let you know when I get it right so you can drag your butt up here.[p]NB

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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    Char-Woody,
    Yeah seedub. I subscribed to it, but have not yet received that issue. When did you get it??[p]Maybe I could get you to paraphrase that info you speak of if you get a moment.[p]Getting set for another attempt![p]Cheers
    NB

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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    Lee2,
    Okay. Here goes again. I have ALLLLLLLLL day!
    Won't sleep til I get it right.
    Thanks
    NB

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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    djm5x9,
    Thanks.
    I misted the loaf with water for the first few minutes like Lee2 recommended. Worked great. At least it made me feel like I was doing something productive.[p]What does the water in the pan do?? Seems like the egg would be a moist environment.[p]Well, here goes.
    NB

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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    George,
    I'll let you know.
    Might be 2am monday morning by the time I get it right, but this hill needs to be climbed.[p]NB

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  • Nature Boy,
    For your's and Tim's information (and anybody else), I buy yeast in 4 ounce & 8 ounce glass jars. A 4oz jar will last about 3 months and an 8 oz jar will last just shy of 6 months. I've got more, so I bake more! I proof the yeast generally 1 time, right after I get a new jar. After that, I figure its still good. It never lasts as long as the date stamped on the label, so I figure I'm in good shape! Mary B is the expert on bread baking. C~W & I went to her when he first started making my recipes. She had a lot of good pointers too! I really like the cool rise (8 to 12 hrs) in the fridge. I've got a fridge in the garage I use for veggies when its garden time. This time of the year though its empty, so it works well. One thing Mary & my Mom & Grandma told me, was be sure you've got everything wrapped well or the dough will pick-up off tastes from other stuff in the fridge. It will ruine a perfectly good loaf in a hurry! [p]Dr. Chicken

  • Nature Boy,
    The water in the pan evaporates into the cooking air, providing moisture as you cook. I've tried it with & without. Definitely with makes a much better loaf.[p]Dr. Chicken

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Nature Boy:[p]Like Dr. Chicken says, water in the pan is your moisture. Keeps from having to open the dome and loosing valuable cooking heat.[p]Regarding bread, try using different flours and yeasts. My experience led me to King Arthur flour and yeasts.

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    Dr. Chicken,
    You think it would benefit on the egg also??
    What is Proofing yeast??[p]Thanks
    NB[p]Second attempt dough is rising now. Got lots of time!

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  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Nature Boy:[p]Proofing is putting yeast in warm water (not hot) with a portion of the sugar the recipe calls for.[p]Remember, keep up with your amounts of water and sugar used for proofing. Subtract these amounts from the amounts of the overall recipe.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    djm5x9,
    If I didn't put sugar in the water with the yeast, am I destined for failure??

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  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Nature Boy:[p]No, but the purpose of the sugar is to "feed" the yeast. If you get a good bubbly froth, the yeast has been awoken from its sleep and will do you a good job of making bread. My experience is jump starting the yeast helps with better rises. I prefer a regular yeast instead of the instant yeasts.[p]The following link is to King Arthur. Order yourself a catalogue. Tim M can tell you where you can purchase their flour in your area.

    [ul][li]King Arthur Flour[/ul]
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,312
    djm5x9,
    Thanks. I could be on the road to killer braid!
    King Arthur here I come![p]Good to know I didn't ruin the bread by not putting sugar in with the yeast. I guess them little dudes are going about their business right now!

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  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    Nature Boy,
    The times given for rising usually are at best guidelines. Most recipes call for 'doubling in size' or some other similar thing. It mostly depends on local weather: temperature, humidity, altitude, etc, etc. Other things like airborne pollen and yeast will affect it too. That's why you can't make a real San Francisco sourdough loaf anywhere but San Francisco.

  • Nature Boy, If you haven't gotten it yet..run to the bookstore and get a copy. Then let Cooks Illustrated know about it and they will extend your subscription another month. I have had this one a week or longer.
    Look up at the "new" posting for a composite of the article.
    C~W[p]

  • MaryMary Posts: 190
    Dr. Chicken,[p]The real reason for proofing the yeast is to determine if it is alive and ready to ferment in your bread. you can use a lot less less and take a longer rise time. if you're sure your yeast is good, you can dispense with proofing it if you want to - the moisture in the dough is suffcient to get it going. Sugar is not needed to proof yeast - that's a myth. some believe sugar is harmful to optimal bread yeast growth.
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