occultatio: (Default)
[personal profile] occultatio
This weekend, for Erev Yom Kippur, I baked challah for the first time. It was a lot of fun -- I did a six-strand braid, which came out looking really gorgeous -- but only mildly successful. The good side is that it tasted phenomenal, but I was disappointed at how little it rose. It rose enough to be tasty and edible, but it was still very heavy for challah.

I suspect that the biggest problem was somewhere around the kneading process. Per instructions, I mixed all the ingredients together in the mixing bowl, and then turned the dough out onto a well-floured surface. I floured my hands thoroughly as well, and then plunged them... directly into the dough. And when I pulled out, I took half the dough with me.

In other words, it was astoundingly sticky still, and got all over my hands nearly beyond my ability to remove. I eventually salvaged most of it, but only through the application of a LOT more flour. The recipe's advice was to only add "as much flour as aboslutely necessary," but I don't know whether the amount I needed was standard or whether I messed something else up earlier.

Does anybody with any experience in baking bread have any thoughts on this? I'm sure that I followed the recipe carefully until that point; should I have kept it in the mixer for longer, perhaps? Would that have made any difference? I want to try again, but I'd love to have a game plan for this issue if possible.

Mashup Corner

I've got well over 100 of these, so I figure that I'll toss in some links to other really good ones. Today's goes in the category of "How the hell does that work?" -- though it may not do much for anybody not previously familiar with both of the component songs. It's a mind warp if you are, though.

"Wicked Wedding"
Billy Idol - "White Wedding"
Chris Isaak - "Wicked Game"

Date: 2009-09-29 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] novalis.livejournal.com
Try letting the dough rest for twenty or more minutes after mixing but before kneading. You should be able to tell how sticky your dough is before you turn it out. More mixing in the bowl should also help.

Date: 2009-09-29 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] occultatio.livejournal.com
Thanks! I actually just got a new mixer, with a dough hook. Any advice on the proper use/utility of one of those?

Date: 2009-09-29 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] novalis.livejournal.com
Assuming you have a kitchenaid, mix for a few minutes at the second-lowest speed and a few minutes at the third-lowest. How much to mix depends on how wet your dough is.

The standard dough is 67% hydration -- that is, the ratio by weight of flour to water is 1:0.67. 3 minutes on low and 4 on slightly higher is about right for this. If you're making a wetter dough, for a foccacia or ciabatta, then mix it longer. I sometimes mix a very wet dough for as much as fifteen minutes.

Don't make too small a batch of bread using your dough hook, or it won't knead properly. You'll be able to see this happening. Don't make too large a batch unless your mixer is under warranty.

If you're having a hard time figuring kneading out, you could always try the no-knead method.


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