Most of my time is going on the day job and building a work ethic/article collection for writing. The latter is not easy. However, one of my articles made the front page of Helium for a day last week (not alone – it’s a scroll that changes daily).
But this is about bread. We’re into the summer months now, ambient outdoor temperature in the upper 80s, lower 90s, and certainly warm inside (no AC, and I live on the third floor, just underneath the attic, although I do have fans going). I figured it would be ideal weather to make bread, but the last couple of batches have come up flat. The crumb is good, and the flavor. Couldn’t figure out what was happening until I took a closer look at the crumb:
Can you spot it? Notice the way air bubbles increase in size and occurrence near the top of the slice. Now, see how compact and unbubbled (that is, unrisen) the loaf slice is at the bottom. What’s happening is that the very warm temperature has an uneven effect on the yeast inside the dough ball. The ones at the top (uncovered by anything except a plastic wrap while rising) are in the warmest air, and they respond dramatically, but don’t get backup from the lower layers, so overall the loaf rise isn’t all that great.
Will have to experiment with refrigeration at various points of the rise and see how it affects things.
(Note: The above image is under Creative Commons Attribution license.)