HBinFive Bread Braid 3




I'm jumping in for the final days of the HBinFive Bread Braid assignment using the master dough.

I have been baking from the authors first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for nearly 2 years now. I received the second book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for Christmas.

I was leery of the implications of "healthy", but I am such a fan of the first book, baking bread many times a week, that I was eager for some new recipes. The master dough did not disappoint.

I followed my own tweaks from the first book, adding in an extra half-cup of flour when making the dough, and baking the loaves an extra 5 minutes. These modifications carried through to the new dough perfectly. I chose to use King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour.

The boule was delicious, and the texture was to my liking. My daughter gobbled it right up, taking no notice of it's "brown" color. The differences from a boule made with the original dough were the crust, and the number of loaves the dough makes.

I found the crust to be a little softer, and the slashes I made before putting the loaves in the oven filled in, rather than making pronounced markings as the bread baked. With the doughs from ABinFive, I always got three and a half loaves. With this dough I made nearly five loaves of bread!

Mixing this master dough is quite a workout. I found it difficult to incorporate all the flour, but eventually it all came together.

My Epi, as you see, was tiny. I do not understand why the recipe calls for using only a half-pound of dough. I made baguettes, also following the half-pound suggestion, with the result being delicious loaves the size of hoagie rolls or demi-baguettes. The next time I make an Epi, I will use a pound of dough. I did make more baguettes, using a pound each, and I was much more satisfied.

Finally, the chili crackers. Since my daughter wanted these for her school snack, I skipped the chili and substituted minced rosemary from my garden and gros sea salt. I also went right to using a full pound of dough, rolling it out in half pound batches.

The first batch I did not roll quite thin enough. I was deceived by the edges being about right, but didn't realize that the center of the dough was too thick. I also manged to forget to prick the dough.

This batch was a little soft and chewy. Some of you have affectionately referred to your crackers as "pillows". I'd say, that this batch was of pillow-status. My daughter, however, raved about them, and said she didn't mind if they weren't crunchy.

The second batch was more successful in terms of the rolling. These crackers were crunchy. I used a thin spatula-type tool to transfer them to the baking pan. I forgot to prick them, also, but hopefully next time.

The storage of these crackers is an issue. I put the cooled crackers in a tupperware-type container, and each day they have become chewier, particularly the thicker ones. Today my husband said they were like rubber. How else does one store crackers?

I look forward to the upcoming assignments, and I am so pleased to have found bakers who have embraced this method. For two years I baked bread wondering if ABinFive had drifted into oblivion. I wondered if more experienced bread bakers were out there adapting the recipes and experimenting. I can't wait to learn from all of you. Thanks!