When do I make my first attempt at yeast bread making? When we're suffering through a heat wave of course! I was in the cooking mood and didn't have much in the house and didn't want to venture out. I had bread, yeast, flour and water so bread it was!
I made two different recipes for baguettes this weekend and they did not turn out well. I made Nick Malgieri's Baguette from How to Bake and Mark Bittman's Easiest and Best French Bread from How to Cook Everything. The recipes were similar regarding ingredients but the prep time varied.
I started with Malgieri's which requires at least one overnight rise (in the refrigerator) and then another depending on when you start. I wanted my baguette NOW so I turned to Bittman's and figured I could compare the two. I also varied how I mixed the dough - Malgieri's went in the stand-up mixer with a dough hook and Bittman's in the food processor. Regardless they both turned out the same. Very hard crust and an almost damp, chewy, not airy and not very tasty inside.
I'm thinking my main problem was they didn't rise enough. It was hard to tell if it had doubled in size during the rises and I was impatient. Malgieri's recipe had an extremely long rise time (at least to me) so I figured I was pretty safe in cooking it when I did - but it did it's rising in the refrigerator maybe it would have done better on the counter?
I'd like to try again but I'm wondering if anyone can give me any "foolproof" tips or methods. I don't want to be discouraged because I'd love to be able to make my own bread. I wonder if I was aiming to high with baguettes - maybe that takes practice and I should have tried a basic white bread first? Did this kind of thing happen with anyone else's first loaf of homemade bread?
Thanks in advance!