Over-Thinking Bread Baking
1. Convection Mode? I use the convection mode to brown the crust at the end of the baking time, because I worry that the hot swirling air will set the exterior before the bread has had the chance to fully rise. Does using the convection mode for the entire baking time hinder the oven spring?
2. Starter Necessary? Is there a discernable difference in using a starter for a Euro-style bread if the entire batch of dough is going to spend the night in the refrigerator?
3. Whey Instead of Water? How does using the liquid that remains after turning yogurt into labnah affect bread? Better for Euro-style lean breads, or enriched American-style? I keep running across the suggestion, but I’ve wary of trying it.
4. Whole Grain Bread “Stretch” Solution? This problem is purely aesthetic, but it still makes me crazy. I make the KAF recipe from the back of its wheat germ package almost weekly (I was out of rolled oats one time and used Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal. Really good substitute. Anyway…) No matter how careful I am or what technique I try, the exterior of the finished bread has stretch marks. I let the dough rest for 20 minutes or so just after it comes together. I’ve patted the dough into a loaf shape, and I’ve rolled it out and let it relax a bit before I’ve formed it into a loaf shape. I use the right sized pans, slash the surface of the dough, and make sure the dough is fully risen before it goes into the oven – and I use an oven thermometer. Obviously, I’m missing something….???