|The golden deceiver
||[Jul. 21st, 2015|09:49 pm]
I thought I was getting the hang of bread baking: the last few loaves have been well-behaved, rising as well as can be expected given my methods and choice of ingredients. So I was ready to experiment a little. It begins to feel like summer, and I wanted to make a lighter loaf - and it's a while since I've used saffron, which seemed appropriate, too.
I found a recipe in Elizabeth David's Bread Book - I found two, but opted for the (I think) first, the less cake-like of the two, for a variety of reasons, one of which was that it was to be baked in a loaf tin. I didn't follow it, exactly, but I took it as my starting point, and obeyed its instruction to steep the saffron in less milk than I would have anticipated, and then add more butter. This produced a dough which was almost, but not quite, too soft to handle, as long as my hands were well floured. After the usual pattern of rising and knocking back, the loaf that went into the oven was disconcertinly well-risen, standing proud above the tin.
After half an hour in the oven I could smell something - not burning, but definitely toasting. Too soon, surely! But I looked, and the top crust was well browned. Should I turn down the oven, oe move it down to a lower shelf? I gave the tin a shake, and the loaf moved freely, turned out without difficulty: this is usually a sign that it's done. I tapped the bottom, and it sounded hollow, which is usually conclusive.
But the following morning, when I tried to cut a slice for my breakfast, I discovered that the reason the loaf sounded hollow is that it was hollow. The outside is cooked (and makes perfectly acceptable, if rather fragile, toast), but there is a seam of undercooked dough and, running right through the middle of my golden beauty, a hole.
The next loaf will be one of my familiar, reliable bricks.