What the heck?

I followed the instructions, down to the letter, but the results left me wanting…..wanting to go rogue, again.  Oddly enough, the first bake was on a whim, and after finding myself in the kitchen with less than even half the suggested amount of semolina called for in the recipe, I punted and simply made a note in the margin of the page.  (It’s good to take notes when baking, just in the event you get a lovelier than expected surprise.  This way you will have a nudge-factor in place when the gray cells go vacant and you are wanting to recreate that item.)

On my second attempt I nudged myself toward using more semolina, but still not the noted amount required, and this time I followed the dough prep almost to the letter, but then again, it was still not the specific recipe.  I documented it, anyway, and planned for a third trial, one that included the exact recipe written by Chad Robertson, in his beautiful book,

This is what I got:

The crust was beautiful, the crumb, not so much.  I found it dense and definitely not as moist as in bakes #1 and #2.  I’m left to believe that true success comes by being willing to take a risk, going rogue, pushing the envelope, trusting ones inner senses, or, more aptly, in being lucky.

Constantly, there’s a punt, a pass or a faux pas that wrangles its way from my doorstep into the kitchen.  I don’t consider myself a master bread baker, just a lucky one.  Playing with flour is therapeutic and soul seeking.  It’s a journey that has abundant joys intermixed with less-than-stellar moments, the ones of sheer panic.  Those are the baker’s best kept secrets and if lucky, only the compost critters know of your trials and tribulations.

I’ll definitely recreate Bake #1 to assure myself that it wasn’t a fluke.  I’ll even share my recipe.  I promise.  In the meantime, I highly recommend this book.  Without it, I would never have considered the seed assortment, nor learned a valuable new trick to handling high hydration loaves.  Fennel, sesame and poppy seeds are wonderful flavors melded.  Encrusting the loaves before baking is a personal preference; the author suggests that you incorporate them into the dough through folding.  You can’t lose, unless of course you fail to use them, and use them you must!

*I forgot to photograph the crumb of the third loaf, and since it is now three days old, well…..should I?  Na….I didn’t think so.  ;)

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~ by coffeegrounded on November 4, 2011.

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