Quick & easy crusty loaf

On my 2nd attempt making this bread, I added 1tbsp fine sugar in addition to Nagi’s recipe and used only 1hr to proof as left it in a warmer area. To create warm environment for dough proofing – heat water in a cup in the microwave for 2min, leave cup in and place bowl of dough in. Check every 30min. Mine rose within 1hr, half the time needed from the previous batch.
For this dough, I proofed 3x in the bowl. Once, for the initial proofing of 1hr in 35degc. The 2nd time, I removed the dough on a well floured surface, folded the dough in 4 different directions and place it back into the bowl to proof for another 30min at 35degc. The 3rd time, I just pulled the dough in 4 different directions and folded down like this – Folding technique from Apron. The 3rd proofing at 35degc may not be needed but I find that with them, the bread appearance and texture improves.
Score dough – I did not have new sharp blades so used paring knife to score the surface. Leave it to rise for 40min more in my living room. Scoring on soft dough is really hard!!
I baked it the same way, with a water bath but removed it after 20min of baking. Then continued to bake for another 15min for the browning to take place. Overall it took lesser time to bake!

So this last picture was from my 3rd loaf. In this recipe, there was no sugar only the 4 key ingredients like the 1st loaf. There were a few things which went wrong

  1. Added instant yeast to water around 60 – 70degc, probably ‘killed’ yeast?
  2. Batter was so wet and would not rise a single bit after 2hrs of proofing
  3. Tried to mix the batter with spatula to fold in and hopefully beat it up so it will rise, trying to simulate kneading, that did not work
  4. Eventually after 6hrs, I gave up and just left the batter on the kitchen countertop in hope of ‘magic’ to happen

So the next morning, nothing changed of course, maybe the batter rose a little but definitely not double. So I decided to add in 1/4 cup more flour, and 1tsp instant yeast. Placed the batter in 35degc environment and left it to rise. Within 2hr, it became double its size. Then I folded in the way Apron did, and let it proof again for an hour. Then repeated the same (3rd round) for one last hour.

Finally, remove dough from the bowl, flour non stick surface and place dough on it. Flour the top of the dough as usual and fold in 4 sides to form a round shape. Place dough on a lined baking tin and let it rise again for about 40min in room temperature (living room for my case). Then bake it, same way as the 2nd attempt – 20min with hot water bath, 15min without @220degc.

Though this loaf ‘failed’ in the beginning, some tweaks may save it from being wasted. Be patient with the dough and be rewarded with a beautiful, toasty, crusty bread!

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