I’m not a big bread baker, but I would love to get better at it. I tried a basic white loaf recently, and even though it tasted great, it obviously doesn’t look right. The recipe didn’t mention slashing the top, and as you can see, it burst out the side. I guess it looks kind of cool, but it’s not supposed to look that way. Here’s how it went.
So far, so good. This was a very wet-style dough. Not one of those no-knead doughs, but a dough that is supposed to be sticky and messy. I’m pretty sure I got the texture right up until this point.
Here’s where I think it went wrong. The recipe said to cover the dough in plastic wrap for the first rise. But it didn’t mention anything about room temperature, and this was a really cold day, so I think my dough was drafty. From my experience, that’s a bad thing.
So even though the dough got smoother like it was supposed to, it just didn’t rise very much. Then I started to panic during the second rise and didn’t take any more photos. I once read about a technique to turn on the oven for a minute and then turn off the heat, and to put your dough in that slightly warmed oven to rise. That helped a lot. The rise in the pan went a lot better, but I knew it still didn’t rise enough. So I think that’s why the dough broke through on the side like that.
I hate to even complain. Honestly, the bread tasted great, especially toasted the next day with a little butter. Oh man, that’s heaven. But I’m certain the bread was supposed to be taller, so next time I’ll try this recipe on a day when my kitchen is warmer.
I'm Justin Schwartz, a cookbook guy and occasional food writer, and this blog is about what I'm up to these days. I'm the author of Veg Out Vegetarian Guide to New York City and The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook. You can email me at justin at justinschwartz.com. I'm also on Instagram.
A lot of the books I write about are ones I've edited, so my opinions are very biased. And if I didn't work on the book, someone probably gave it to me for free. So keep that in mind before you take my word for it. Sometimes I just like to give a shout-out to my friends. And oh yeah, my opinions have nothing to do with my employer...
- . @sarahmclellanny @erickahunter all about the same--Pho Grand, Nam Son... fave place is gone 2 days ago
- loving the @eatthelove summer cookbook round-up eatthelove.com/2013/06/summer… 2 days ago
- hey @lonbinder you guys are the coolest... RT @WarbyParker Great choices, Justin. We're so excited to get you into your new specs! 2 days ago