Monday, 4 March 2013
The next bake after you've just made a great loaf is always a difficult one. Will it be as good? Am I destined for disappointment? With my bread supplies in the freezer running out it was time to get my starter out of the fridge and give the next loaf a go.
I decided to use some of the flour I'd found in Dulwich and bake a 55% white and 45% seeded wholemeal loaf. It would also be the first bake in my new oven.
The sponge method is now my default way to bake, with an active starter and a previous success I was feeling confident. I didn't have as much time as usual so I cut out a couple of folds and gave the loaves a sleep in the fridge overnight (common in many recipes, but not the sponge method I follow) so that I could bake the loaves the next day.
On the Sunday morning I got my loaves out of the fridge and head out for a long run while they had their final prove. Despite the bread having four hours to rise they seemed to have barely grown. Being so cold in my kitchen I don't think the core temperature had risen sufficiently for the loaves to prove properly.
As I needed to head out for the afternoon I couldn't give the dough any longer so had to whack them in the oven. I watched eagerly through the glass as the bread met my new oven for the first time. The bread didn't seem to rise much in the first 10-15mins and I was fearing I'd have very dense cakes on my hands. However, they continued to rise during the bake. It was almost like delayed oven spring. Most odd.
I was really pleased with the final taste of the bread. The wholemeal flour and seeds have given the crust a great taste. I also think the overnight the loaves spent in the fridge helped the sour to develop.
Two good loaves in a row. Can I make it a third?