Last night, I prepared the dough ball from our previous baking. I was really curious about our bubble!
Seeing this reminded me of a story my mother told me, when I was a child, helping her bake bread.
There was a young couple and, while the husband was at work, the wife decided to bake bread. The only problem was, she’d never baked bread before!
She followed the recipe and set the dough aside to rise.
It wouldn’t rise.
After a very long time, the wife decided she had failed somehow and was feeling quite ashamed of her failure. Her husband would be coming home from work soon, so she decided to hide the evidence by burying the dough in the garden.
It was, however, a sunny and warm day. Some time later, her husband happened to glance out the window and saw what appeared to be a giant white mushroom growing in the garden!
The wife didn’t realize the house was too cold for the bread to rise properly, but once warmed by the sun, it rose quite enthusiastically!
Alas, the poor woman’s secret was out, and she had to explain to her husband why there was a giant bubble growing in their garden. 😀
I was talking to my mother on the phone just a little while ago, and told her about the bubble that emerged from the flour, asking if she knew what it made me think of when I saw it.
She knew exactly what that was!
We got a good laugh over it!
So what did this bubble look like when I dug the bread egg out?
Rather funny, I thought!
Like last time, it was light, with a dried, crisp outer shell, and lovely, bubbly dough inside.
I broke it up into pieces, putting it in a crock with 2 1/2 cups of warm water – the full amount I would be using in the dough – and set the crock into a warm oven with the light on, and left it overnight.
Here, you can see how it looked the next morning, after a good stir, and how the finished dough looked as it was set aside to rise.
Since I expected this to take a while, I decided to make a 2 loaf recipe of basic bread. In the time that took to rise, the old dough bread still needed more time!
With the plain bread, I took half of the dough, cut it into a dozen pieces, rolled each piece into long, flattened strip, which got wrapped around a hot dog wiener.
It’s been a long time since I made these!
That worked out quite well!
The other half of the dough, meanwhile, also got split into a dozen pieces, which got made into buns.
I baked those in a cast iron pan, to make pull-apart buns.
My Babcia’s Bread experiment still wasn’t rising, so while the buns and wieners were rising, then waiting their turns for the oven, I made another batch of bread.
This bread was my usual oatmeal flax bread, with the addition of chia seeds and hemp hearts. I made a 2 loaf recipe, but divided them into 4 smaller loaves.
By now, my Babcia’s Bread was still not risen a much as I would have liked, but with the oven in use, there wasn’t anywhere I could keep it warm. Besides, it did rise at least some.
I decided not to do three risings this time.
Plus, I cheated.
The bread egg is the same principle as a sourdough, without the moisture levels. Which means the developing yeasts would become increasingly acidic.
I decided to take advantage of that and employ a bit of chemistry.
What happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar?
Lots of bubbles, of course!
What happens when you add baking soda to an acidic bread mixture?
I sprinkled some baking soda onto my kneading surface and worked it in quite thoroughly. The dough turned out to have risen more than it appeared to have, so it was already pretty light and fluffy. As I kneaded in the baking soda, I could actually feel the dough becoming even lighter and puffier in my hands!
After kneading it enough to ensure the baking soda, along with a little more flour to keep it from getting too sticky – and remembering to take off a ball of dough for the next baking! – I divided it into 4 small loaves and set them aside to rise some more more.
While my Babcia’s Bread dough was still rising, I had time to make yet another batch of bread. Surprise bread!
This time, I made a plain 2 loaf recipe, then added parsley, garlic granules, paprika and dill. After letting it rise, I made a dozen buns, each stuffed with 1 cube of mozzarella and 1 cube of old cheddar cheeses.
It turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!
Here is my bread baking for the day – minus the hot dogs, which were already eaten! Top left is 2 loaves of Babcia’s Bread. In the middle is the pull-apart buns that were baked in a cast iron frying pan, and on the right are a couple of surprise bread buns. In the foreground is one of the oatmeal flax loaves.
This made for quite the productive baking day!