Artos is an enriched (meaning it has both fat in the form of olive oil and sweetener in the form of honey), standard dough (having to do with the amount of hydration...this one falling into the "sandwich bread" realm), made with a mixed leavening method of both wild and commercial yeast. Yesterday I started off with 7 oz. of barm and mixed that with 16 oz. of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast. I've used up most of the Gold Medal flour I had, and so I've graduated to King Arthur Flour. In addition to being more expensive, it seems to have a larger fan club. Everyone to whom I've mentioned King Arthur extols its virtues for making the best bread. So, okay...I'll bite.
Also added at this point were cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, lemon extract, almond extract, eggs, honey, olive oil, and warm milk. I mixed it first with the paddle attachment and then switched off to the dough hook to be kneaded for 10 minutes. It came together into a ball nicely.
It was supposed to reach 77-81°F. before it was ready...check.
Also, it needed to pass the "window pane test". I can't take a picture of my own dough here because it requires both hands to do the window pane test. Basically, this means breaking off a bit of dough, stretching it out next to the light of a window, and check for gluten development. It needs to be elastic enough to show light through without breaking or tearing. Here's the picture from the book.
And mine passed the test, so into its proofing bowl it went.
While I was waiting for it to finish its first rise, I moved the remainder of the barm into a plastic container and refrigerated it. I first weighed the empty container since feeding this puppy will be done by weight, and I dated it for when it needs to be fed. I was a little confused about the date. It's supposed to be able to go three days, but I wasn't sure if that meant three days from when it was last fed or whether it was three days from the day I used it. Better safe than sorry, I figured, and so I'll feed it three days from when it was last fed.
It was supposed to take anywhere from 60-90 minutes to double in size. Mine took two hours.
From there, I shaped it into a "boule", and that was easy enough. If you look closely, you can see a large bubble of trapped gas just beneath the skin. I was able to massage that down a little and flatten it out before leaving it to its second rise.
This was done on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and so it was hard to measure or judge its volume. Nevertheless, after 90 minutes it looked like this. My oven was warm, and so I decided to go ahead and bake it. (In a minute, I'll tell you what I learned about this.)
And even with all this watchful waiting, I could barely tear myself away from the bread. When it went into the oven, I decided to walk away for a little while and let it bake in peace.
While I was waiting for the first rise, I finished up the first embroidered block for the Summer Holiday quilt.
I took it downstairs to press and trim. After 20 minutes in the oven, I was supposed to turn the baking sheet 180° to ensure even baking, and whoa! It had already risen to near-comical proportions. Yikes! I was hoping it wouldn't outgrow the oven because it still had anywhere from 20-25 minutes to go.
And then, I sort of stuck around watching it. It didn't get any larger, and after 20 minutes, it was ready to come out of the oven. I brushed it with a glaze made from sugar, water, honey, and lemon extract, and then it was to be sprinkled with sesame seeds. I used oatmeal instead. We just say "no" to sesame seeds here at the Three Cats Ranch.
It was so balloon-like that I took to posting pictures on some Facebook bread baking groups to get the opinions of others whether it was supposed to look like this. Those folks were very reassuring. One man who seems to know a lot about these kinds of breads told me this balloon-like appearance was normal and referred to as "oven-spring". The loaf straight from the oven is taught with steam pressure coming from the inside. As it cooled, it shrunk a little, taking on a lumpier appearance.
One person said something like, "It rose that high without [exploding]. You did good!" At that comment, I realized that it actually had exploded a little bit on the back side. If you look carefully at the image below, you'll see that there is a crack and a little leakage.
I'm assuming this is what she's referring to. It didn't hurt the bread any, and so I wasn't too worried. I'm learning, and so these comments are very helpful.
Okay, so I couldn't cut into it for at least an hour. It made sense to get back to work on my block. The designer, Lynette Anderson, uses an English paper-piecing method to put a border around the stitched blocks. Here's the picture from the book.
And those little hand-stitched triangles had disaster written all over them. For the second time of the day, I just said "no". It happens that I had a nice sized piece of strata leftover from when I made a pieced border for the Written in Thread quilt.
Also, I have these strips from when I made the pieced blocks for this quilt, and I figured I could fashion a pieced border using all of these.
I cut a 1 1/2 inch strip from the larger strata and then took it apart, adding in a strip from the pieced blocks to make a border that fit perfectly.
The blocks need to measure 9 1/2 inches unfinished, and so I used some strips from the background fabric to make a narrow outer border.
This block goes in the upper left hand corner of the quilt, and so I laid it next to its adjacent pieced block. I think it's going to be just fine using those strips of strata from Written in Thread. By adding in the strips from the pieced blocks, you don't notice there are bits of fabric from a different quilt.
So that's finished. The next time I work on this, I'll be making this block, called "On the Road." I love that the cat is driving.
So then it was time to cut the bread. Here, you can see that it has shrunk significantly. The most helpful comment from the Facebook group yesterday was that the high rise resulted from under-proofing. She explained to me that I could tell if it was ready to bake by poking the raw dough in the side to see if it springs back after light pressure. If it does, then it still needs time to rise. And I knew that, but I forgot. It isn't mentioned in Peter Reinhart's book. I'll remember for next time. If you look at the bottom of the loaf, you can see that it's a little underdone there, and it collapsed a little under its own weight as it cooled.
Nevertheless, I'm so happy with this. It is soft and delicious, and the glaze sweetens it just a touch. We each had half of two small slices. Yum. It was hard not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting. Rather than continue eating, I pulled myself away and made up Block #20 of 20 for the Bee-utiful quilt along. This one is called "Bee Friendly". And that's where I'll pick up with my stitching this morning.
As for the bread, I had a slice this morning, toasted, with plenty of butta.
Food for the soul.
In a few days, I'll get to work on the Christapsomos loaf. It's essentially the same bread with the addition of golden raisins and dried cranberries. Mmm, mmm, mmm.