Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Yeast? (Part I)

Simple Whole Wheat Bread

It has been some time since I deemed it fit to step into the kitchen once again. This is getting to be a norm since I have spent most of February and/or March of the past 3 years, in Europe. The time from when I am back in town to when I step into the kitchen is spent in winter withdrawals and missing the many bread meals I've had.

The biggest reason I dislike making any sort of bread in Singapore is because I live in the tropics and humidity and heat and the texture of flours stored in this weather is a real killer. The other reason is that I don't care much for the smell of the yeast even after baking.

Having done a little reading on DARING BAKERS Feb 2008 challenge of French Bread by Julia Child and Obachan's Simple Whole Wheat Bread from ALLRECIPES, I found myself in a quandary.

The video of French Bread by Julia Child and Danielle Forestier showed a kneading process where I had to slap the dough 850 times. Hell... after 100 times, I won't be able to tell if I am slapping dough or my dog against the counter. That being said, I don't think Ms Forestier was kidding about slapping the dough 850 times.

With a relayed recipe of Julia Child's French Bread, from The Sour Dough, there is a fermentation process of at least 7-9hours with a final origami-like folding of the dough before shaping and a second fermentation.

I decided at close to 9pm that I would attempt Obachan's Simple White Bread from Allrecipes. Trying to decide on the proofing method of the different types of yeast, the conversation from Active Dry Yeast and Instant Dry Yeast and the difference between Baker's Yeast and Instant Dry Yeast (in my case, it seems to be the same) made me wanna take up a hobby like Cardiac Surgery. The explanations available online were relatively comprehensive but what I wanted to know was if the Instant Dry Yeast required the same proofing method or if I should just add the tepid liquid into the main dough without proofing, and move onto the next step. Arrrggghh!

I then discovered I didn't have Bread Flour but so set was I in making this bread that I decided go ahead with my new pack of Unbleached All Purpose Flour from Gold Medal. I went in knowing full well that my bread might not turn out well because the protein content in AP flour was 12% at best and regular Bread Flour has a protein content of between 13% - 14%. I figured what the heck, it's just 1%, let's try it anyway.

This is what emerged after almost 2 hours of double fermentation, several loving punches and almost 40 minutes in the oven at 175 celsius:

After my first bite of piping hot bread... I wanted to kiss the floors and thank the kitchen fairies! There was absolutely no smell of yeast! The next bite made me want to do the bread dance of joy at 1am in the morning because it doesn't taste cake-like (Thank you Bread fairy!).

I love that it resembles a decent loaf of bread and the texture is a tad chewy with an added flavour from the whole wheat flour. The added swirl on top on Pic 1 is my fancy origami attempt because I dislike breads with smooth dome tops. I can't really taste the honey though I suspect the real reason for the honey is to feed the yeast.

I can't wait to try it tomorrow after it has had time to cool down. I need to know how the crust will behave even with its light brushing of butter.

Conclusion: I must try this with actual bread flour to taste the difference between the two but this is definitely a bread I will be adding to my repertoire regularly. Thanks for the blog Obachan!

1 comment:

breadchick said...

Your bread looks lovely! The yeast gods indeed seem to love your climate.

You don't need to proof instant yeast at all. Just add it directly to the ingredients. This is also known as "bread machine yeast" in some parts of the world.

Thanks for linking to The Sour Dough.