Doughvember Disaster!

OK, let’s be honest – none of my Doughvember baking can be called a strong success. Flat pizza dough? Too-much-rye hockey puck of a loaf? I didn’t even take pictures of that one, I just ate it grumpily, and slowly. I didn’t even bring my sourdough biscuits to fruition, I just thought about them (that was because of a lack of fat in the house, though, I swear!).

I did have some success using the bread machine to mix the pizza dough. For a unitasker, I do love the bread machine. Usually.

After the pumpkin incident last week, I knew that I needed to make some bread, and some pie cookies, and I knew that my hands and elbows were not going to be up for rolling pie dough and kneading bread. Enter my friend the bread machine.

As I mentioned, the pizza dough was my first experiment using the bread machine with my sourdough starter. Even though the dough didn’t rise as much as I would’ve liked, I attributed that to my impatience/not feeding the starter sufficiently before trying to use it. And as far as the dough itself went, I had no complaints. It came out a little wetter than I would’ve liked, but that was acceptable, considering that it was my first experiment. And it was easily solved by a little actual kneading.

mmm, butter

The second-hand bread machine cookbook that has been my go-to guide does have a sourdough section. I chose the most basic recipe from there and went forth. My past experience with less-than-stellar yeast has been better when I used the “whole wheat” setting on the machine, because it preheats the machine, and gives slightly longer rise times. Since my starter has been a little slow, and my kitchen is chronically cold, this seemed like the way to go.

At first, everything seemed to be going just fine. The dough came together like it should have, it seemed to be rising, all was right with the world (relatively). I forgot about it for a while (I think I took a nap. It’s hazy.), and came back to find that it had under 20 minutes left on the bake time. And that it was both small and misshappen.

yes, it really is a loaf of bread

Oops.

Based on how this loaf came out, I think I’m going to continue with the system of mixing the dough in the machine, and do the shaping and second rise manually. Beyond being under-proofed, this loaf was also undercooked. I ended up putting it in the oven for maybe 20 minutes? I baked it until the interior was over 200 degrees. It was all I could do. As you can see up at the top of the crumb, there’s still a little dark band of undercooked dough, even after a second baking. Luckily, someone in the house loves bread, even bread that has FAILED ME, so the loaf is gone, and not into the compost.

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