I love to bake bread. I love watching raw ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast, transform into dough, and then with the addition of heat, turn into something so wonderful. I don’t really like kneading dough though, it bothers my neck and shoulders, so I use a bread machine. I usually don’t bake bread in the machine, I just use the machine to knead the dough and get it’s first rise. So, I know that’s kind of cheating, and I know people talk about the “zen” of kneading the dough, but I’m happy with my machine. I knead it a little at the end and get to shape it, and that’s zen enough for me. Since I’m off of school for the summer (well, not really for the summer, since we go back to work August 2nd!), I have been reworking my way through on of my favorite bread cookbooks:
I used the recipe for Pain de Champagne, which begins with the making of a poolish. First the flour, water, and yeast go in the pan.
You run that through the dough cycle and you get a wet, yeasty smelling dough, which sits in the bread machine pan overnight.
The next day you add the rest the ingredients, and process on the dough setting.
Then comes my favorite part. You take the dough out of the machine, shape it, and let it rise. After it’s risen for about 30 minutes, you slash it and pop it in the oven.
No, wait, did I say shaping it was my favorite part! No, it’s taking it out of the oven and looking at this.