The past month has seen the rise, fall and rise again of my bread making efforts.
Mid-month, in April, I was having some success making sourdough breads and was looking at trying some experiments with herbs and other ingredients. Maybe look at other specialty breads, too.
But late in the month I tried a cheese bread in the machine – my first cheese bread, using a recipe in the 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes book. It was a failure that cost me a confidence and set me to lying awake at night wondering what I did wrong.
But then I came back with good loaves – in fact, very good – both in a mixed-sourdough and a handmade cheese bread.
I feel redeemed. Confidence was restored.
Mid-April I made a sourdough from the levain in my fridge, and no additional yeast or poolish. Entirely unbleached white flour. I decided this time to add more salt than I usually do – almost the amount most recipes call for. The result was a slow rise during the day, but it rose to a reasonable height for the boule. Tall enough for sandwiches.
Crust was crisp, the crumb was a bit dense but not overly so; more like a commercial light rye (and the taste is similar to a rye because of the sour levain). But it cooked throughout to a nice consistency with just the right amount of chewiness.
There was noticeable aeration, especially at the top, although no really large holes. Makes me wonder if I should have flipped the dough over an hour or so before baking; help the aeration on the other side.