Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Making Bread

I've been making bread for 3 years now, almost every day, and I've grown increasingly frustrated at how quickly it dries out (sometimes within 12 hours). I was also frustrated with how many crumbs it dropped when we cut it, but I thought there was no solution to that.

But I figured there must be a solution to the drying out.

I did a little research online and then messed with my recipe.  In addition to 1/4 c sugar, I put in 1/8 c (or so--I just glopped some in) of honey. And instead of the oil, I put in 1/2 c (or so, I just scooped a bunch in ) of solid shortening (not melted).  And then I was careful not to overdo the amount of flour. Too much flour makes solid, dense loaves. Too little makes them not rise enough, so they end up kind of squat, but this time I drifted toward too little rather than too much.

I always make two loaves on a cookie sheet, and they tend to grow to touch in the oven and have to be torn apart, so this time I let them cool together and then tore them apart and let them rest in bags on the torn side overnight, so no moisture would be lost out the tear.

And today, the bread is astonishingly good. That's probably partially because of the double-dose of sweetness, with the honey and the sugar, but it's also because it's unbelievably soft--softer, even, than the freshest bread using my other recipe. And, surprisingly, no crumbs when we cut it. None. At all.

Might have to try that recipe again....

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