January 1, 2006
Total and complete disaster! Here is what Rose has to say about this dough: "Who would have thought it even possible to make a dough this wet and still produce bread?" That should have been a tip-off. In fact, it may not be possible, and it sure isn't for a novice bread baker.
I'm all excited about my first loaf of bread. Jim volunteers to go to the grocery store for me, and I put instant yeast and sea salt on the grocery list. He comes back with regular yeast. I tell him, not very nicely, really, that Rose says "instant," and so it must be. He goes back to the store, not too happily, and returns with instant yeast. I cheerfully mix the dough, using the bread hook attachment on my new KitchenAid mixer for the first time.
Step 1: "With the mixer running, gradually add the water (lots of water) until the dough comes together.... It will be very soupy." Check. "Beat until the dough is transformed into a smooth, shiny ball, about 20 minutes." Hmm. Not smooth, not shiny. It's still potage a la bread.
Another 10 minutes. Nope. Still soup. Add a little more flour, give it 10 more minutes. No transformation yet. 10 more minutes. The hell with this. I don't have all day to wait for this miraculous transformation. Might as well just go on to step 2.
Step 2: Let the dough rise until double. Check. I now have twice as much soup.
Step 3: "Shape the dough and let it rise." Have you ever tried to shape soup? It doesn't work.
I pour the dough on the pan, let it rise again, put on the fresh rosemary and the sea salt, and put it in the oven, still hoping that some kind of miracle will occur in the oven. It doesn't.
What comes out is no longer soup, but it sure as hell isn't bread. I hack a piece off the big lump that is both sodden and burned at the same time. It tastes a little like soft, salty cardboard with rosemary. How can it be both soft and cardboardish? I don't know. Try it yourself.
I find Rose's blog on the internet and complain bitterly. She answers me in about 1/2 hour. She tells me that a lot of people have trouble with this bread, but some don't. She says weighing the flour is more exact than measuring it. She says maybe the bread should have a little more yeast. I feel that she's telling me that if I were a better person, my bread would have come out better. But I won't give up. Yet.