Friday, January 15, 2010
HBin5: It's Official
January 2010 marks the official beginning of the HBin5 Baking Group. There were two warm-up challenges in November and December, but the baking list has now been finalized and we're off and running.
Our first recipe was the whole wheat bread Master Recipe, from which we were tasked to make one loaf of bread, one epi or wreath, and some crackers. I will discuss my results in reverse order since the baking went from bad to good during the whole process.
My dough came together easily and rose exceptionally well, so I can't quite explain the failure of the epi-wreath, described below.
The crackers came last.
I played around with these and found it was easier to lay the strips of dough on the cookie sheet before cutting them into bits. I used kosher salt, toasted sesame seeds, and nigella seeds as a decoration instead of the chili powder. I think I docked them a bazillion times, but some of them obstinately puffed in the oven.
The ones that baked the longest turned out to be the chewiest, whilst the ones that baked in the least amount of time came out the crispiest. Go figure.
The second baked item was the loaf of bread. I just kept it simple. It rose nicely and had good oven spring when baked.
The first bread I baked with the dough was the epi-wreath. It appeared to rise just fine, but shrunk while baking. It was flat, flat, flat. Like a frisbee.
I nearly threw out the rest of the dough, but gave myself 24 hours to think it over. In that time period, the dough rose again, even in the refrigerator, so I went ahead with the loaf and the crackers.
I don't know why the bread didn't rise. It tasted fine. It photographed fine. But it was a failure. It's a mystery.
To see how the other HBin5 bakers fared, check out the blogroll on Michelle's blog, and feel free to join us if you dare!