Today, I'm finally attempting again. Wheat bread Take 2. I will include the recipe at the bottom of the post.
Gathered up the ingredients...and this time I had bread flour!
First, I put hot water in a bowl, added the honey, and mixed it in. I let it cool a little bit before adding the yeast. I stirred it, covered it, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Once the yeast was ready, I added the first bit of flour, then put the starter aside to rise for an hour. When I pulled the starter out, it looked really good. Bubbly, smelling of beer...
I mixed the remaining flour the recipe called for, plus the salt in a separate bowl, so the two types of flour were evenly balanced from here on out. I slowly added in the rest of the ingredients, small handfuls at a time, stirring until it was dry enough to dump on the counter and begin kneading. I added in more flour, but after 10 minutes of kneading it didn't seem like it could take much more than a little over half of the extra flour. This time it resembled the dough my friend made when he visited.
I split the dough, and put it in the pan, and put it in a warm place to rise for another hour.
It had doubled in size, so I figured it was time to bake. I baked it at 425F for 30 minutes, and tapped on the crust to see if it was done. It sounded hollow, so I took them out. After they cooled for a few I removed them from the pans and put them on the cooling rack.
DAMN IT. This is NOT sandwich bread. It is not nearly tall enough. Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu....Oh well. At least it's pretty tasty. Not the best bread in the world but obviously it wouldn't be, since I used a simple recipe without any extra added flavors. Bread NOT winning.
In hindsight, I probably should have let the dough rise in a bowl after kneading, THEN punched it down and shaped it to be placed in the pans...to let it rise a little more. I'm not sure if one hour was long enough for the second rising. I think maybe there should have been a third rising after the shaping; I think maybe then it would have been tall enough to give me good sandwich bread. I'm not really sure what went wrong here, but this is my 2nd attempt ever, and I'm going to keep trying until I achieve greatness!
If anyone has tips, please, don't be afraid to comment and help me out! Maybe you can tell me what I did wrong. I know it's not the recipe, because I've seen it done firsthand by someone with a good bit of baking experience. His bread came out amazing!
Now for the recipe I promised. Thanks for your patience :)
Basic Poolish/Sponge Bread
ingredents for the starter:
2 cups water
2 cups flour
4-5 tsp of yeast (2 packets)
2 tsp of sugar/honey/brown sugar
4-6 cups flour
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp salt
Heat water to 125F, add sweetener. Let cool to 110-115F, add yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups flour; cover and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Gradually stir in the flour until dough is able to be kneaded. Knead for 10 minutes or longer if needed - until the dough springs back when you poke it. Tuck edges under rounding it out, place back in bowl.
Cover and let sit for 1 more hour (or longer...it should at least double in size. Mine seems like it could have benefited from a longer rise time).
Once it rises enough, deflate and put back on your working surface.
This is enough to make 2 loaves of bread.
For round loaves, form the dough into a smooth ball, tucking the edges under. Score the top and bake at 425F for 45 min
For pan loaves, adjust cooking time depending on your pan.