This is quite late because I was hella sick!
Onward to Week 3 – The Cob Loaf.
This is plain, simple, white bread, shaped into a round loaf.
Once again, I read through the complete recipe, watched the episode that included the Cob, and watched a walk through video. If you’ve never watched Paul Hollywood knead dough, you’re missing out on life. It’s, well, it’s amazing (He always does it with one hand. So intense).
Step 1 – Wash the dishes. I like a clean kitchen to cook in, I also like a happy husbeast, so I always keep it clean.
I love the process of kneading dough. It feels like old magic. Well before we had the science of baking down, a long lineage of people applied trial and error to figure out what did and didn’t work. They didn’t know they were developing gluten, they just knew if you beat the crap out of it, it got better. When I do this, I feel like I’m reaching for the Crone. It’s a connection, an awareness of history.
I didn’t expect herself to be that good at kneading but she was a natural! We gave it a good working over and got it nice and smooth, with a capital smooooo……
The most interesting thing I learned during this bake was how to shape a loaf. Unlike quick breads, it’s important to shape yeasted breads so they rise in a particular direction.
For this loaf I folded it inwards, in a circle, to make sure it rose up and didn’t flatten out as it bakes. The shaping aligns the gluten and thus the structure of the loaf. It’s more important for a “free form” loaf than one in a tin.
After the second rise (another hour to mess around/clean the kitchen) the loaf is coated in flour and then cut on top. Then it’s baking time.
While the outside looked great, the inside was not done. I was baking and cooking dinner, so I had pulled my loaf and thrown in porkchops. The moral of the story is that time pressures don’t go well with baking, especially when it’s your first time with a recipe.
So it didn’t go well. I baked it a bit more, and it was fine as toast. But I knew that I had not met this technical challenge.
So I baked it again the next day. The whole thing, the kneading, the rising, the flouring, the cutting, the folding. All of it. I baked it ten minutes longer and I got…
The moral of this week’s baking? It’s gonna suck sometimes. I’m gonna screw up. Then I’m gonna learn and go right back after it.
The bread was delicious, by the way.
Next time on the Great Bake On – Cornish Pasties!