Bread baking 101: Epic fail! Yesterday I tried to make bread from scratch. I used to make wonderful loaves of bread–from dough that I had done up inside my bread machine. Every now and then for whatever reason the dough would over rise and plop, fall into the cellar just before or as I transferred the pans from the top of the oven inside the oven. Yesterday was such a day with the dough from scratch took a nose dive. At first I was going to blame the yeast. Well as you look at the picture to the left, I don’t believe it had anything to do with the yeast.
So, let’s back up a bit. I took my recipe from the bread machine booklet and converted it to a regular scratch recipe. Paulina does it all the time and it works for her…. I started by putting the water into the bowl for the big mixer and adding the yeast. Now Paulina warned me that she thinks the last time her water was too hot. I pulled out the candy thermometer and tested it. I even dug around until I found the original recipe with the optimal temperature listed on it. Something between 100 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I boiled water then needed a few ice cubes to get it right, but it was spot on. The yeast bubbled and fizzed for a bit. I covered the container with a dishcloth until I thought it had worked its magic.
In the meantime I mixed together all of the dry ingredients including the powered milk that is called for in this particular recipe. The picture in the paragraph above and to the right is of some of the containers on the counter. The short one is where I store the powdered milk. I love those older unusual containers for things and when they are all full and waiting to be used, it makes the baking or cooking go so much faster. Anyway, after adding the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture, I let the mixer with the dough hook do its magic. It was great and I love how that dough hook works!!
When that was all finished, I dropped the dough into another container and set it on the stove covered by a clean dishcloth. The trick that I used when the dough came out of the bread machine was to put it on the stove under cover with the oven warming at 150 to 200 degrees. This would keep the dough warm and help it rise. OK, duh in the past it warmed in the bread machine then I took it out and put it straight in the pans not into another container. After a little bit, I divided it and put it into two pans. The problem is that I didn’t get it into the oven at the right time. Instead I turned the oven to 350 and put in a double batch of banana bread, which if you have made that, you know it takes forever. So, now the dough was in the pans in an area to hot to gently warm for too long. By the time I got the actual bread dough into the oven, it had fallen flat. This will learn me! Next time only bake one item at a time and put the dough straight into the bread pans. Yikes!
On the other hand, I was able to pull together a kettle of vegetable soup and a “killer” kettle of Knepfla soup. The vegetable in our house yesterday was made with: 1 quart of whole tomatoes, 1 quart of tomato juice (the really runny kind made when skimming the excess liquid off spaghetti sauce or salsa before adding the seasoning) a couple of cups of cubed frozen beets and carrots and cubed pre-boiled potatoes. I also add a cup or two of slightly boiled rice. The flavor comes from adding some beef base. I prefer Orrington Farms because of the no MSG.
Because I can never boil just a cup of rice, I ended up with enough left over from that to make a bread loaf pan of baked rice. This amounts to the rice, about 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 to 1 cup of whipping cream, about 1/4 cup of sugar and a handful of raisins all sprinkled with cinnamon then covered with aluminum foil and popped in the already warm oven.
The Knepfla soup took a little more work. The picture to the left is an old one from way back, but it is the same soup. It involves an egg or two, a bit of oil and about a 1/2 cup or more of milk. Then add flour until you have a thick dough. This time I made it in the large mixer and it was much easier, but I had it a bit too thick for the mixer. There is a good explanation for how to make it on a post on Feb. 2, 2013. After the dough is made, I cut it up and drop it into boiling water for a bit. The boiled dough balls are technically noodles. The broth is cream of celery with milk, half and half and some water. I add cubed potatoes and carrots partially boiled. Celery is also good, but this time I didn’t have any. I have also made it without cream of celery if I have almost a full stock of celery to cube and boil into oblivion to get a broth. I also use chicken base, again, Orrington Farms. I love this soup, but I am developing an intolerance for milk products and this really gave me a sore stomach today. I don’t know how I survived teen years and adult life as I was quite intolerant as a child to whole milk. Perhaps the 2 percent and the skim were ok then, but sure not now. We have tried the lactose free and that is good, just didn’t have any in the house, and it seems rather sweet so might not work in this soup.