Baking Bread

I prefer to make as much of the bread we eat as possible, but I tend to fail at that more than I like.  In the summer of course I don’t want to heat up the house, plus summer is our busy season so I’m often so tired from work that I don’t want to spend my spare time making bread.

I have a couple “go to” recipes that consistently produce a nice easy predictable bread, but sometimes I like to experiment.  Although I like the flavor of breads that require sitting overnight (or longer, such as sourdough) I don’t usually make them because they require me to plan ahead and I often don’t when it comes to bread making.  Our bread consumption varies a lot, some weeks we’ll eat two full sized loaves, others we’ll eat barely half a loaf.  Which makes it hard to predict when we’re going to need more bread.  It also means that I dislike making standard full sized loaves as they’ll sometimes go to waste.  I’ve played around with the “no knead keep it in the fridge for a week” recipes, and although they’re convenient, I’m not a huge fan of the bread they tend to produce.  I suppose if I really wanted I could really play with them to produce a bread I liked, but I haven’t wanted to put in the effort.

A couple weeks ago I was looking for something a bit different for bread, I had some left over potatoes and was leaning towards a potato bread, plus I’d managed to plan ahead for once and was considering one of my favorite over-night recipes.  Then I ran across THIS recipe.  Potatoes, overnight, perfect!

That recipe produces two almost picture perfect loaves of bread.  It’s also an extremely soft bread, which Husband likes.  The flavor is awesome.  I did not care for it, however, after freezing and thawing the 2nd loaf.  It was fine toasted, but the thawed bread had some texture issues.  However after removing the dough from the fridge I noticed that it was quite stiff, after removing enough dough for the first loaf I noticed that the remaining dough did not immediately sink.  Hmmm……

In the middle of all of this I’d also ordered for myself THIS bread pan (amazon affiliate link).  Just a bit wider than the usual “mini” loaf pan, but otherwise just about half the size of a normal loaf pan, I hoped it would fix my problem with having to stick to either “full sized loaves” or free-form loaf recipes.  Folks, this is my new favorite bread loaf pan.  The size is perfect, the slices are big enough to make a nice sized sandwich.  It’s lightweight, easy to clean and work with.  And best yet, it fits inside my Instant Pot, so I can use the “yogurt-low” setting to keep the dough warm for that 2nd rise.

I decided a trial was in order.  Note, all loaves were cooked in my new small loaf pan.  All dough was placed in the pan, and the pan set into my Instant Pot (1 cup of water in the bottom of the IP, then the IP trivit, then the pan of bread, cover the pot with saran wrap) to rise on the “yogurt-low” setting.  Unless otherwise noted they rose for 2hrs before cooking.

Monday Dec 11th I made up a batch of the overnight potato bread dough and stuck it in the fridge as per recipe instructions.

Dec 12th I made up a loaf following recipe instructions (it cooked for just about the same length of time as the full sized loaves) using 1/4 of the made up dough, resulting in a picture perfect loaf of bread.  I really should have gotten a picture it was that pretty.

Dec 13th, 24hrs after the recipe instructs you to do so, I made up a loaf, otherwise following the recipe instructions.  It was picture perfect again, no change.

Dec 15th, 72hrs after the recipe instructs you to do so, I made up a loaf, otherwise following the recipe instructions.  It rose just as nicely, but instead of puffing up big and tall it tended to sink down over the side of the pan a bit, the loaf has definite ears!  Otherwise just as tasty as the original, though the loaf may be a bit more dense and a hair less soft, not a bad thing.

Sunday Dec 17th we made french toast with our abundance of bread.  With bigger slices it might not have worked due to the softness of the bread, but with the small sized slices this bread made an absolutely awesome french toast bread.  WILL DO AGAIN.

Dec 18th, a full week after the recipe instructs you to do so, I  made up the 4th and final loaf from this batch of bread.  Remembering the ears from the last loaf I planned for this loaf to rise for less time, but the yeast was definitely getting tired by this point and it still ended up rising for the 2hrs before I thought it was far enough to go into the oven.  I did remember to get pictures of this one:

Not quite as high and pretty as the first ones, but still a pretty nice looking loaf of bread.  Texture was about like the 3rd loaf, a bit more dense and less soft than the original, but not in a bad way.

I’m calling success!

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Rain Frances:

    Success!!! That loaf looks great! I love the size of the pan. I use the overnight fridge no knead bread and that’s our favourite. But like you, it’s hard to gauge when to make bread because our menus and cravings vary a lot. It’s rare we finish a loaf, the bits usually go into the bird feeder.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      The pan size makes it IMO. I might have to pick up another one. I’ve made bread with “mini loaf” pans before, but they’re just small enough that the bread is to small for a decent sandwich, and then I end up eating two…..