Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eureka!

Some things are so sensitive to small changes that the outcome is highly variable, even when you think you know what's going on. Weather is like that - sure, we have a relatively constant rate of sunlight hitting atmo, but anybody can tell you of a day with a 20% chance of rain that 20%ed all day, or the forecast rain that wasn't.

When I changed states, going darned near from solid to liquid (it's still beastly hot down here, even at night, and humid like a wet blanket), I gave away my old bread machine, mailed my cookbooks, and gave away my pantry. (If it costs less to replace than to ship, I gave it away. Leaving Alaska is expensive.) Down here, I found my fiance had already bought another bread machine, waiting brand new for me. While I sincerely wish he'd waited until I could provide hands-on input so I could get the features I want, the thought that counts was sweet and the model is manageable.

Well, it wasn't at first. My cookbooks are still in transit, so instead of using my half-remembered recipes with the machine doing the mixing and first kneading before I pull it out to rise again, shape, and head for the oven, I had to try to find the same recipe on the net. I can't find the same brand of flour at the local grocery stores (they don't even have the same chains here), so I just used the flour on hand, and tried for the best. It didn't impress.

Tonight I tried again, with the third modification to the recipe, longer rise time for the yeast before starting the machine, a new bag of bread flour, and some sunflower seeds(If it was going to rise and fall - or not rise much at all - I'd at least have a crunchy texture to the depleted-uranium density bread). And this time was not perfect - the loaf was stunted - but opening it up, the bread is so much better I declare it good, not just edible. Yay! Everything's better with fresh bread around.

And maybe tomorrow my cookbooks will come...

5 comments:

Jenny said...

The flour works different? Hunh. Learn something new every day. :)

By the way, thanks for the flour. You've been an inspiration.

(I think Carrs is Kroger down there, for what it's worth)

AlaskanGeekArchitect said...

Also, remember most of the flour in the south is soft winter wheat. It has a low protein content and low gluten content

Which makes wonderful biscuits and soft cakes... but not so impressive bread.

This is also why my biscuits are like hockey pucks unless I use cake lour. The northern winter wheat has to much gluten.

Joy of baking has a great little blurb showing the protein contents of the different flours. I think you are going to have to either buy some wheat gluten to add or buy some bread flour.

http://www.joyofbaking.com/flour.html


Good luck.

Christina LMT said...

Mmmmm, I haven't made bread myself in prolly 15 years. I think I need to do something about that.

W/V "nomizes"

Yes, I want to nomnomnom the bread, and it certainly *is* nummy.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Jenny - you're very welcome! And yep, the flour is different - and G's comment below you is an awesome way of taking my fuzzyvariables and translating to real numbers and information.

G - thank you! I should start trying to make biscuits, then, with what's left of the old flour. Perhaps even biscuits and gravy - though I don't think a low-cholesterol heart-healthy version exists worth eating...

Miss you guys.

Christina - the bread machine is what makes bread easy instead of a chore. Well, I'll bet you have hand strength enough that you wouldn't mind the first kneading as much, but it'll still save a lot of sticky mess and time. Then you get to use it to make the dough, so you can produce nice hand-stuffed or braided or such roolls and loafs in the oven with relative ease.

Brigid said...

I'm glad you are getting settled in. You've a great life where you are, and a future as bright as any Alaska dawn you have seen