Monday, July 11, 2011
How to Salvage a Botched Batch of Bread
I've been attempting to make no-knead sourdough bread with minimal to no success. For some reason, my dough is not rising properly. The mixture gets nice and bubbly, smells sour, but turns to soup by the end of the 18 hour rising time. After investing a couple pounds of flour and two days of oversight (it takes a day to get the sourdough starter active), I refused to let the whole batch go to waste. I turned that gloppy mess into a passable loaf and thought I would share my mad MacGyver skills with you all.
I started off with this recipe, which instructed me not to mess with any of the procedures. So I didn't, though that aided me in no tangible way. When I got to the part where you fold the dough over itself three times, I couldn't see the point as the gluten strands were obviously in liquid form now. How would I ever get the flubber back into the bowl for the second rise if all I had was a runny glue on my hands?
I could already tell that if I baked the dough as is, I would most assuredly produce the flattest ciabatta known to man. I quick grabbed whatever flour I had available, whole wheat bread flour, and started adding it along with about a teaspoon of commercial baker's yeast. I mixed in the flour until I had a soft smooth dough that wasn't sticky and yet wasn't too firm. The dough sat for a couple hours on top of the oven and developed somewhat of a rise. It didn't quite double, but definitely poofed up. I'll probably add more yeast if this happens again. I dumped the dough into a preheated Dutch oven according to the original instructions, baked it covered for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for another 15.
The final product was on the flat side, but had a great crispy crust and moist, holey crumb. Tasted great too, even if it was a tad heavy and dense. So never fear if you fuck up your bread. As I have found out, there is always a second chance for redemption.