The challah braids I made for Thanksgiving were beautiful but heavy; today, working with fresh yeast, I realized they'd had no oven spring. Oops. The old yeast was inadequate.
I've been baking bread since I was ten years old, but I admit I've gotten out of practice lately. This is partly because I was too depressed to have energy or resources for anything but just getting through the day, partly because our oven is unreliable and runs insanely hot -- as much as 75 degrees more than the temperature gauge -- as well as being full of strange hotspots. That resulted in breads that were done on the outside and raw in the middle, which is far from desirable. Setting the gauge low made some difference; using heavy stoneware pans, moving them around the oven as needed, is fixing the rest.
I'm still searching for the ideal bread recipe for our household. pokershaman bakes superb sourdough in the style of San Francisco's Tartine Bakery, but my household members prefer something less crusty and softer-crumbed, while needing a bread with more whole grains. I'm working on it. I also appreciate any suggestions.
OK, it's out. It's tasty. It's much much better than the Thanksgiving braids. Let there be bread. Mmmmm.
In related news, we're entering the final few days of the Pampered Chef sale. Just go to http://Www.pamperedchef.biz/lesliepease, click Shop Online, and enter Lynn as host.
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