Got another Big Ball 'O Bread nicely buttered up and rising in the warm oven.
All the advice I received after the first Great Bread Experiment indicated a couple of things. One, the 70* ambient here is probably a bit too cool for the yeast to really kick off, and Two, the 70* ambient here is probably a bit too cool for the bread to raise normally.
Everybody's solution (D'OH!) was to proof the yeast and raise the bread in a slightly warm oven.
I got curious about how low a set-point our oven could hold, so I downloaded the manual and read it. There was nothing even remotely approaching a set of "Specifications" in any of the documents I could find on the GE Support website, so I did an experiment the other night. I set it to convection bake, entered 100 degrees, and hit start. The display immediately jumped to 170*, sat there a few seconds, and then the display went to 100* (it always does that a few seconds after it displays the set point you just entered) and slowly began to go up. When it hit 170* it stabilized and held it.
OK, a bit too warm. I set it to 170*, let it run for a few minutes, and then shut it off. It peaked at 130*, and when it got down to 100* or so I declared it to be a "warm oven", and commenced baking.
I was MUCH more careful getting the yeast started this time. I mixed the packet of yeast with 1/8tsp of Turbinado sugar and 1/4 cup of water, and put it in the warm oven as I started mixing the other ingredients.
After about 15 minutes, I had this:
Holy Smokes, It more than doubled in volume! And it smelled great, bringing back memories of Mom making bread. Looks I got got some happy yeast this time, compared to the puddle of bubbly water I had last time when I let it sit out in a large bowl at 70*.
Adding in the Bubbly Happy Yeast.....
And after thoroughly mixing the ingredients, we now have a nice, buttered ball of "Smooth and Elastic" dough, per the recipe, something that was also a bit lacking the last time.
Sitting in the approx 100*F oven.....
45 minutes later and it's already close to double.....
90 minutes, and ready to smack down, divide, and plop into the buttered loaf baking dishes....and it's turning into The Loaf That Ate Fort Collins!
Oh, well....on to Divide and Conquer!
The Big Ball was separated and plopped into the two well-buttered glass baking pans, and ut back into the warm oven to continue raising.....
I need to take lessons into how to get the two loaves the same size....
Out of the oven after 45 minutes so I can preheat the oven to 390*.
Wow...they filled the baking dishes this time. Happy Yeast!
In they go.....
And 35 minutes later....FRESH BREAD!
Yeah, one of them slumped a bit, but they both popped right out of the dish after cooling for 20 minutes.
Much lighter than last time, but it has a tendency to fall apart. It tastes great, but my Sweet Little Wife commented that it needs a bit more salt, so I'll increase the salt by 1/4~1/2 tsp. One of the reasons it falls apart is that this loaf has a "seam" in it from when I divided the Big Ball and shaped it to fit the dish. I didn't make sure all the parts were blended together, and now the San Andreas Fault is running through this loaf.
Not much beats fresh bread with fresh dairy butter on it!
I'll get the recipe dialed in better, but now that I have the yeast proofing nailed, and the raising temperature nailed, the rest is just "Adjust to Taste".