Questions from a long time baker, first time bread maker!
So I have been baking all my life, but have never ventured into the land of bread (other than sweet breads, doughnuts etc.) and yesterday I decided to make the plunge and bake my first loaf of white bread.
My recipe made enough dough for two loaves, so I baked one loaf and put the rest of the dough into the fridge so I could make it today (after I had tried my first loaf). My first loaf was tasty and gorgeous but sadly super dense, which was okay for a first try but not perfect by any means.
I was able to determine that my mistake was not kneading enough but now am not sure what to do about my second loaf. The second loaf which is in the fridge has already risen, so I'm not sure if I can bring it up to room temperature and re-knead it or if that will ruin the bread. Can someone give me any insight into what I should do?
Should i bring the second batch up to temperature, re-knead and let it re-rise? Should I just call it a day and make another dense loaf of bread and remember to knead more the next time?
Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!
As dough sits for long periods of time, the gluten structure starts forming on its own, which takes the place of kneading -- I hardly knead my bread (a long-rising sourdough) at all, and no-knead bread is practically touchless. So no, don't re-knead! Bring the batch up to room temp and bake, and you'll probably be surprised by how different the texture is than the first batch.
I often recommend thefreshloaf.com for new bakers, especially their tutorial for absolute first-time bakers. It takes you through your first few loaves of bread, making little adjustments as you go to improve flavor and texture. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons
How long did you knead the dough? What type of flour did you use? Did you knead by hand or in a machine? In the early stages of learning to bake yeast bread, almost everyone does two things: they overknead (especially in a mixer), and they add WAAAAAAY too much flour.
I've been baking bread at home for going on 15 years and have never once been able to get that &$*#&*$( window pane test to work, despite which my breads consistently turn out well. So, if it doesn't work for you, don't be too worried.
The great thing about bread baking is that it's so much more like cooking than most other baking - much more forgiving, and much more about the senses.