If bread-making is an art (which it is), I’m certain it’s going to take me twenty years to master it. I’ve been practicing for about a year, first making “Bosch” bread for the family I nannied for while pregnant. I’ve decided to put in my time — I love, love baking and, for me, there isn’t much that beats fresh bread, still warm from the oven.
A cookbook that I’ve been using lately (“How to Cook Everything”) says there exists various bread-making routines, and one just needs to try a few out before finding the one that best fits schedule and preference. I thought over-night rising would be appropriate, given the general lack of free time throughout the day to make the dough — the first loaf I made was yummy, but could’ve risen longer. (See here.) The subsequent two have been, sadly, below par. I have not found my bread-making rhythm.
Today’s loaf was especially disheartening — I made the dough about 8pm and let it rise all night. Jones woke up surprisingly early (4:45), so I slammed the dough a bit and let it rise in the pan for an hour. Just as I was getting ready to put it in the oven, Jones started freaking out, so I picked him up, set the loaf haphazardly on the stove, and open the oven door. The pan fell off the stove and the dough deflated. (Sad times.) I turned off the oven, pressed down the dough, and set it on the counter to rise again. Jones went down for a nap about 6:45, so I went back to bed. When he got up an hour-and-a-half later, we came down to eat breakfast. The dough had risen quite a bit (perhaps more than it should’ve), so I turned on the oven to bake it (again). I put Jones in his high chair, and when I looked back, the dough had fallen (again). This time it was hopeless — the yeast had run out of steam. I baked it anyway, and it came out flat, but still tasty. Perhaps it will make good french toast.
But really — you have no idea how much I want to consistently turn out really good loaves of bread. Its akin to good coffee — it seems twined with my identity right now (which really is silly, but feels true). Practice makes perfect, I suppose.