Well I got to use my new mixer yesterday (which worked beautifuly by the way) I made a olive oil bread using a reciepe from the Itallian Baker by Carol Field. My boyfriend and I followed the recipe to a tee...actually the bowl in wich we set the dough for it's first rise was not lightly oiled it was liberally oiled (I think this was our mistake, I think it may have incorporated too much olive oil in the dough)
The dough did rise impressivley for the first time, it was the second rise where we started to see signs of a problem. You are supposed to divide the dough into 7 pieces and make balls about the size of a lime
and arrange them in a circle about an inch and a half apart from each other (the resulting bread was supposed to be a wreath of pull apart buns)and let rise for a second time under cling wrap.
Well I wouldn't say they rose. They did spread out but I think that was just the force of gravity working, not the yeast. We let them "rise" (sit) for the second time for an hour and a half just like the book said, then baked them on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven. The boyfriend was still holding out hope at this stage thinking they may rise once in the oven, but no go. We ended up with what looked like biscuts, only very bad biscuts.
We were so bummed, but we are both determind to keep at it. I chose The Italian Baker because I had heard it was a good book for beginers, so this failure really made us feel pretty badly.
So finally if any of you can offer any insight on:
What you think went wrong
A good beginers recipe for bread (we prefer the rustic type loaves but we won't be picky at this point)
Any good bread baking books
Thanks as Always, Kristine