After reading about 100 of the blogs for the first Tuesday with Dorie baking challenge, I desperately wanted to make the white loaves again. I wanted to get the yeast right and use the right flour and maybe make one of the flavored loaves that a lot of people made. So, I put the kids to bed at 6:45pm and got to work with brand new yeast, King Arthur bread flour, and a quiet kitchen.
The new yeast looked a little better than the first time around. It was a little foamy/creamier, but not significantly so. Hmm. Maybe the yeast was ok the first time.
I mixed in all the flour by hand and kneaded for 8 minutes until the dough was shiny and elastic. Then I added the butter. Then the dough fell apart. As I am kneading it back together, I kept thinking that it did not take me this long to get it back together the first time, and that if it does not go back together, then I ruined my beautiful elastic ball of dough. It was a long 5 minutes. Then suddenly it started showing signs that it was going to go back together. I kept kneading for another minute or so until I got it back to its beautiful pre-butter elastic self. Yeah!
I put it into the oiled bowl to rise under the light of the stove top for an hour. After 45 minutes, I saw that it was not rising enough, so I put it in my already warm oven for 15 minutes. This time it rose better.
After splitting the dough and rolling out the first half, I decided to spread it with melted butter, mini chocolate chips, toasted pecans and ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar. I loosely rolled it up and put it into the first loaf pan. Then I sprinkled it with sparkling sugar. I let the second half be a regular white loaf, but I brushed it with the remaining melted butter.
45 minutes back into the oven on the bread proof setting of 100 degrees. After 40 minutes, I see it is not big and puffy as it is supposed to be. Not sure what to do. I let it rise for another 15 minutes and then bake it.
It baked fast. It also burned fast. The nice thing about baking, as opposed to say quilting, is that you can try things and know right away if they are good or not. In this case, the melted butter on top of the regular white loaf caused the top of the bread to take on a brown-black (burnt) hue. And the sparkling sugar, which is so pretty on cupcake icing, melted on top of the flavored loaf and then burnt. I still wanted the loaves to brown around the sides, so I removed them from their pans and turned them upside down to bake for 10 minutes more.
The next morning we sliced both bread loaves. The chocolate chip loaf was a winner, even with the burnt top. I loved the circular pattern caused by the filling. The whole family had a slice (or two) of it plain for breakfast.
The white loaf was a winner too. The best way to eat this one is toasted with butter. Yum yum. It was really good.
I am comfortable now with what I did this second time around. Even though the loaves burned, I tried something new and expanded my baking skills. Yeah for me.