Here commences another flurry of baking! The Hubby will be starting his Super Exciting New Job this week, which means he won't have time to pick me up for lunch, which means... we need bread! Lots of bread!
I'm using my handy-dandy bread recipe from last time, with experimentations this time. (DH: So what's your control? Me: Ummm...the bread from last week? DH: You HAVE to have a control! Me: Look, if you want to make the bread, feel free. If not, leave me alone.) (Ok, so maybe I'm not the nicest person when I'm figuring something out and somebody else is poking me.)
Experiment 1: Less flour, dough was kinda sticky. However, as I kneaded it, it became smooth, which made me wonder whether I didn't just happen to put in the right amount of flour in this time, and whether in the past I haven't just used too much flour because I got impatient. Subsequent question: How wet CAN the dough be before you start kneading, and still smooth out during the kneading? Sounds like a few more batches need to be experimented on, especially as I have a sneaking suspicion that the less flour I can get in, the lighter the bread will be.
I will also be trying the method of not punching the bread down quite so much this time, to see how that works out. It's in the oven rising, with the oven off and the light on.
Experiment 2: I forgot to add less flour because I had heard that a hand mixer can work for mixing bread just as well as a spoon (go figure), and in my enthusiasm for hand mixing I didn't remove some flour before I added the wet ingredients. So I added more warm water until it was about the same level of stickyness as Experiment 1, but this batch is on the top of the fridge, where it will rise all night.
Experiment 3: isn't started yet. I'm running out of bread flour, so this time I'll be starting a whole wheat flour sponge (all wet ingredients + yeast + sugar for yeast to eat; half the flour) and letting it rise overnight as well.
To be updated as progress occurs.