This is “round 2” of my bread making endeavor:
Well, the one on the right is, anyway. The one on the left was the end result of round 1. The end result of round 2 is that the bread rose more and I didn’t bake it for nearly as long, so it is not as rock hard as the first loaf. (Seriously, it was rock hard, ever try sawing a rock-hard loaf of bread? Not fun.)
After analyzing the results from round 2, I believe that next time I will not mix my flour (rounds 1 and 2 are a mixture of regular white bread flour and whole wheat flour) and I will not open the oven door during the “rising” phase. I’m convinced that when I did this during round 2, the bread “shrunk” from the rising that it had done. Now some of you may think that this is not possible, but for the sake of my sanity I say it is. When something goes from a nice, warm, oven to a very cold kitchen, things want to, retract, so-to-speak, and I believe this happened last night.
So round 3’s process will be this: all white flour, heat oven to 100 degrees and shut off then place bread in oven for 45 minutes to rise and then, without opening the door, turn the oven on to the proper temp. I still think it cooked for a tad too long, so instead of setting the timer to 22 minutes, I will bake the bread for 18 minutes and see what happens. The recipe says that it needs to have an internal temperature of 190 degrees, so as long as it has that I should be good.