Thursday, August 2, 2007

Proof Positive

While I was waiting for my new stove to be installed, I read its manual. I've always enjoyed reading technical documentation and learning every little thing that a product can do for me.

The stove had several features that amazed me, like the meat probe and the fruit-drying setting. The one that grabbed my imagination, however, was the proofing feature. The oven can be set to maintain the temperature for rising and proofing bread dough.

I haven't made bread for a while. I told myself that I shouldn't make bread. Freshly baked bread is hard to resist. I don't need temptation to pull me off my weight loss discipline.

On Tuesday, however, the store was out of our normal bread. Yesterday morning, I kneaded the dough for a whole wheat oatmeal bread, full of healthful ingredients and positively delicious.

Here's the first loaf about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven:

Well, the remnants of the first loaf, anyway.

As the bread was baking, Malcolm came up to me and said, "I smell bread. It smells delicious."

The rest of the family agreed, and magically appeared in the kitchen as I was slicing the loaf. They reached for slices of bread while it was still hot enough to burn their fingers. They took their hot bread to the table and slathered it with butter and honey.

I took two small slices with tahini and apple butter. When I returned to the kitchen, the bread was gone. Fortunately, the second loaf was waiting in the wings.

The oven's proofing feature works pretty well, although it does dry the dough out some. I'll need to cover the bowl during the rises next time. I wet my hands and dampened the tops of the loaves as they were proofing to keep the top crust from getting too tough.

I confess to rushing the proof because I wanted bread for my afternoon meal before aerobics. The loaves would have risen higher if I'd given them the chance.

There were no complaints about the bread, however. I'm thinking of making sandwich buns next time. A loaf to eat hot out of the oven and 6-8 buns for later.


Elizabeth said...

Your new range sounds amazing. Did it cost an arm and a leg? I could really use a new one...

Heather Madrone said...

An arm and a leg sounds about right. I was amazed at how expensive it was. It ended up being around $3000, with shipping and installation.

You can get a lot of the same features (like proofing) on cheaper models.

I have more bread rising as I type.