bread

After conforming to the demands of sourdough, making regular bread with commercial yeast is a snap. Not that sourdough is arduous, it's not, the yeast culture does all the work, after all, but the requirements of cultivating the culture, the timing of feeding the sponge, the more narrow margin for error, the less forgiving nature of the whole enterprise makes baking bread that can be produced within a few hours seem akin to fixing a bowl of cereal.

You throw a bunch of stuff into a bowl following the impulses of that moment, mix it into sufficiently sturdy dough, play with it, stretch it until the gluten is developed, then bake it. The tricks, if there are any, is to not overproof and not over bake, and for God's sake don't forget the salt!

Here, I wanted to use up the whey so I could get it out of the refrigerator and clean the returnable container. I also wanted to use some home-milled whole wheat flour, so those two things went in first. I added an egg, so this bread can be characterized as whey + egg + whole wheat, the rest is regular bread flour, an oddity in that it's not particularly high protein but it is sturdy. The flour was scooped out by the tablespoon until the mixture became suitably stiff, it was dumped into a sieve above the bowl of other contents, so it was sifted as it was dumped. Himalayan salt was added in moderation because that stuff is really salty, much saltier than kosher which is the usual go-to salt. I like its flakiness and its non-iodized purity, but then I really like the mineral content of sea salts, which paradoxically includes iodine. I added sweet summer savory to the dough because I'm tired of seeing the package in the freezer. It's not among my favorite herbs, not by a long shot, so it's rarely used, but it's not bad, it's just offhand I can not think of any use for it where I wouldn't prefer an herb with more solid character. There's an artificial high note tenderness to it, in my humble opinion, it's a falsetto among tenors of herbs.

When I got the idea, I was visualizing a bread pan, but by the time I made the dough the pan idea slipped my mind and I ended up using this baguette baker instead. I do not know why, it just happened that way. The dough was slightly over proofed because I was distracted by reorganizing a closet, so there wasn't any oven rise as the dough was already fully risen. Actually, I'm lucky it didn't collapse. I'm thinking about getting a baguette shaped cloche because I really like the method of dropping excessively wet dough into a hot pot. The hot enclosure keeps the dough wet long enough for it to expand dramatically resulting in lovely large irregular holes. This was not made that way. This dough was stiffer than that and without an enclosure it forfeited its moisture early in baking.

loaf of bread proofed
loaf of bread baked
loaf of bread baked close up
I get to use the mozzarella I made. It's not that great, but I'm not giving up. Maybe I'll read a book. They sell all kinds of cheese making kits too. Maybe I'll get one of those and see what's up and then go from there.

loaf of bread plated with cheese

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