Douglas Milewski (dacuteturtle) wrote,
Douglas Milewski

Bread Baking Dinkage

I've started into Laura Anne Gilman's wonderful Silver on the Road and I hit a place where my bread baking dinkage kicked in.

Background: Starting in January, I began baking bread by hand. Baking bread isn't hard, but it is particular and has its own rhythm. Depending on how the bread rises, I know that I can start the bread at 5:30 when I get home and get a loaf between 8:30 and 9:00pm. I've greatly increased my consistency, but I still don't have the pretty part down. And if I dare eat the last piece of my bread, I get an earful from my daughter who loves it and is personally affronted when she doesn't get any, so my bread can't be all bad.

Youtube has a plethora of good break baking videos.

Now, onto my soft and squishy rant.

Firstly, one does not knead dough with your fingers. You can do it, but they wear our quickly. No, you use the heel of your hand. Body mechanics, even for an inexperience bread baker, make this a winning move and is easily discovered. The force at your heel is huge in comparison to your fingers. The first kneading is the hardest, when you've just mixed up ingredients and you're stretching out the gluten. That's where the real work is.

The bread then rises and you knead the bread a second time. I can knead this type of dough with one hand and read a book. The stuff is very soft and pliable, and after just a few minutes, ready to rise again. I shape my dough here (I'm bad at that) and drop it into a pan for a third rise, then I bake.

In her book, Izzy kneaded the bread after it's risen for the first time and she wears her fingers out. Say what? That's the easy part. And in a kitchen with a cook, you definitely wouldn't be using your fingers, but Izzy does anyway. Really? Really really?

Admittedly, there are far better things to rant over, and there are far better rants to be read, but I did warn you that this was a very white bread rant, so you were warned.
Tags: opinionating

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