I started watching some videos, and reading up on bread, but got to that inevitable stage where I just have to have a go and see what happens.
Sometimes you just cant really tell what everyone is on about until you at least discover which bits are important, and which might just be decoration.
So I thought I'd make a small white bread loaf.
Actually this is unfolding in real time. Just like that old hit TV show 24.
But with more bread.
So if you get bored at any stage, try opening four different windows and read four different pages of my blog simultaneously.
So far this has happened...
I thought all flour was for making bread, but some must be for cake or for mixing with egg and throwing at politicians.
I secretly suspect it's all the same but I know a politician, so I'll find out later and let you know the truth of it all.
It seems like a pretty rational thing to do to place the ingredients into a bowl, but I saw a video where someone just mixed on a slab of wood.
I thought they looked slightly more like they knew some kind of secret, as compared to the others, so I went with the slab of wood method.
[Note from the future - It turned out to work just fine. (the mixing that is. I have no idea yet about the loaf) ]
See the way I worked "well" in casually, just like someone who knows stuff!
That's about a cup of flour and I'm hoping, exactly the correct amount of yeast.
You cant really see it, and you cant really tell how much I added, but I kind of liked the textural quality of the photo.
I've read a few bread recipes over the last 24* hours and I am amazed at how much salt everyone is adding.
My little loaf has a pinch, but I've seen recipes that call for a tablespoon for a dough to make two loaves. Unless there are radically different sized table spoons in some parts of the world that I don't know about, it seems a little too much.
I kept adding a splash of water as the hand full of dough picked up more and more of the flour.
Its a bit like dough, but a bit crumbly in texture and seems to be something made of flour and water. That is you can still see the flour.
So I started kneading.
Unfortunately I started kneading like my school art teacher told me to knead clay, so I'm not sure how that's going to work. [Note from the future - The bread is currently rising, and I'm researching the next step and find that I should be kneading slightly differently. From what I can gather I should be kneading, then rotating, then kneading then rotating. But who knows.]
It's seems to be starting to take on a different texture, and seems to be much more unified and less floury.
I figure I'll knead until it stops changing.
I think it's worked so far, although it seems a little stiff.
Perhaps more water should have been added, but I don't think I can add it now so I'll just stick with what I have.
I shaped it as lovingly as I could and made it nice and smooth on the top by gathering the dough and pulling it under itself.
For some crazy reason it has a cup warmer on the top, but as it turns out, this might be just the place for making my dough do the rising thing.
I put cling wrap over the top because the internet told me to.
I'm not sure 22c is warm enough.
So I thought I'd put my latest theory to the test - That being that the house wouldn't burn down if I stuck a stack of tea towels over the coffee machine's cup warmer.
Only time will tell, but at least I'll have an ongoing record of the temperature thanks to the digital probe.
That should at least help with forensics.
Having covered the apparatus, I thought I'd do some quick research and see what temperature I should really be doing this rising thing at, and have decided that 25c or so is about right, so I wasn't so far off after all.
Also it seems that covering it with towels hasn't done anything. I'm guessing that's just because there must be a thermostat in the coffee maker that holds the temperature at 22c.
We live and fail and learn. But the house didn't burn down.
Which is nice.
Perhaps it did something else while I was away instead.
And now I wait.
It's later still - I just had another peek and it appears to be working. The only (and obvious in hindsight (but I wasn't really expecting success)) problem, is that if they rise much more they will turn into a single loaf. For this reason I've decided a "Hope Loaf" is now a thing, and will always be made out of four equal lengths, formed together into a single square loaf representing something important.
I've been doing yet more research in the waiting time, and it seems that the last thing you want to have happen is for a skin to form on your dough as it tries to rise. Apparently it restricts it's ability to move freely in four dimensions. I think perhaps my loaf was just too firm and didn't have the required give, but during the second kneading and shaping, it seemed a bit softer and a little looser. I've heard the word "rest" tossed around in recipes and online, so perhaps it's one of those things that should be listened to.
As usual I'll let you know if it turns out to be important.
I changed my mind. Not about letting you know, but about the bread,
As you can see they got a bit distorted, but I think they will bounce back.
They seem softer again. Perhaps as their structure is broken up by the air bubbles, it's weakening it, but it really seems wetter.
But remember, I have no idea what I'm doing.
For those of you who are temperature interested, the temperature of the stainless steel cup warmer is 32c when tested directly on the surface.
! > I'm baking
Drum roll please......
I made this...
It tastes almost exactly like glue!
120 Things in 20 years - Bread - Hope Loaf. You have to start somewhere, and visuals are as good a place as any right? Right?
*Now might be a good time to divide the screen into 4