Wednesday, September 13, 2006

baking bonanza

What a day...

Half asleep the night before (that would be last night) and wanting to make a sponge I go to grind my flour and accidentally grind hard red and soft white. What did I want? Hard red and hard white. Did I realize this? Not until my loaf was proofing. At which point I said some rather unladylike things, grabbed some lecithin and vital wheat gluten and worked it into the dough. It took longer than it should have for the first rise but rise it did. And the second rise, and the third rise. The loaves baked up light and fluffy, just the way my family likes it.* Wowie! This is bread baking with a sponge is kinda fun. The only bummer is that I only made two loaves. Next time I'll have to see if I can successfully double the recipe.

Having some bananas that were getting rather soft (and a freezer full of bananas for smoothies) I decided to make banana almond raisin bread. Having lots of plums that no one was eating and a half a jar of jam that was starting to crystalize I decided to make plum tarte. I ground up soft white flour, invented two recipes that used similar flour + other ingredient proportions and set them to bake. Note to self: it is NOT a good idea to try to invent two recipes at the same time -- especially when the temperatures for the different recipes may be different.

The banana bread came out fabulous! A little darker and heavier than I would have liked but smelling wonderful and tasting great. The plum tarte got too dark around the edges, bubbled over and spilled all over the tiles on the bottom of my oven. The look too rich and crumbly (yes there is such a thing) but I hope they taste good. I'm thinking of pairing it with ice cream for dessert tonight, that way if it's not great (and I suspect it's not -- although it is edible) at least the ice cream will mask some of the defaults.

An interesting baking day to say the least. I did learn stuff and nothing was suitable only for wildlife fodder or doorstops, so I consider it all a success.

* When I baked with store bought flour it was easy to get fluffy bread. Working with fresh ground it has been much more difficult. They haven't complained much but prefer a lighter bread. I think I'm on my way to figuring it out.

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