Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Raisin Loaf

There's something pleasantly communal about a loaf of bread sitting on a slicing board, next to a bread knife, as if inviting hungry people to have a slice and be on their merry way. This raisin loaf is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. As you can see I'm baking my way through it!

The Dough Starter after spending a night under cling wrap, in the fridge

Bubbly and smelled like sweet alcohol. The yeast was eating the honey and doing it's job!

I stopped mixing when the stretchy dough slid lazily off the paddle.  Quite funny to watch!

Glossy and golden :)

Needs more raisins and cinnamon sugar!
Really satisfied with my first attempt at making a loaf of bread. Every time I opened the plastic bag with the half-eaten loaf, I could smell a sweet, heady, and milky aroma. It took 4 cycles of mixing/shaping followed by resting- and lots of patience! According to The Bread Bible, the multiple cycles contribute to a softer, finer crumb.

Improvements: I need to get my hands on an oil-based baking spray. This time I used mild olive oil to coat the loaf pan, which gave the crust a not-so-mild olive savoury taste that didn't agree with the raisins and cinnamon. Rose Levy Beranbaum advised against using butter to coat pans as they don't allow stuff to rise evenly during baking. 

One big lesson: let bread cool fully before putting it on a wooden board. I had to throw out the moldy-smelling board at the end of the day because it had absorbed the moisture from the warm loaf. Thank God for protective acid in our stomachs!

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