Next on my list for the BBA Challenge‘s — Portuguese Sweet Bread–everyone so far who has made this bread (from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice) has really liked it, and I fully expected to as well. After all, I’ve been to several of those New England Portuguese bakeries that Peter Reinhart cites as inspiration for creating this recipe (though never had this bread itself). And with the citrus extracts, I was imagining something along the lines of Pannetone, or Artos.
First, the pre-ferment, looking lively:
Starting the kneading process:
And here is where things when awry: somehow I decided that this dough had “doubled.”
Yeah, probably not. (Oh dough doubler, where were you in my hour of need?)
While I goofed by putting this in cake rather than pie tins, I think the issue would have remained. The dough just wasn’t rising. I even created a proofing box to get things going. Besides lack of patience, perhaps, I wonder if cutting the first rise short affected the second rise’s ability to hit its potential? I understand that the second rise + shaping redistributes the yeast and allows them a chance to grow all over again, so if they never fully developed in their first stage, was my dough permanently “stunted” for not having had a good start in life?
The baked breads.
A bit dense, no surprise there.
Now, while I understand why this bread didn’t have a light and airy crumb, what I don’t understand is why the crust remained hard, and frankly, rather tough: Reinhart notes that while hard when hot out of the oven, as the loaves cool they will become soft and pillowy. Not the case here. Perhaps it has something to do with the insufficient proofing, but it’s not entirely clear why to me.
So, this bread was a bit of a disappointment. On the other hand, I’ll have to try it again sometime, as things could turn out very differently next time around.