@Barrytm Thank you so much for all of the great advice. I definitely am jumping into the deep end of the pool......the good thing is that I don't know what I don't know lol. I have a wonderful scale and I definitely understand why weighing is better than measuring by cup amounts so I'll stick to recipes that go by weight for sure. I'm keeping notes, too. Plus, I am going to document it all here. And yes, I've yet to see anything but a perfect loaf of bread in all my looking around the internet. I'm definitely of the mind that it doesn't have to look perfect as long as it tastes good.
First, I'll get the bad news out of the way.
And then the next day it was extremely watery and did NOT smell good at all. So, it's back to square one. I'm going to start another today and use bottled water instead of my tap/well water and see if that makes a difference.
My two pineapple guys are doing wonderful, though. I'm supposed to feed them today so I'll do that in a bit.
Annnnnd, on to the bread.
While I'm waiting for a starter to work, I decided to go ahead and bake using yeast and vital wheat gluten.
I baked two different loaves yesterday.
Just for fun I wanted to try making the No Knead Instant Pot bread using 100% Hard Red Winter Wheat berries (I've only used that kind so far in order to better be able to keep track of results). I've made this several times using AP flour and we like it. I followed the recipe exactly as written, using whey, except I added 2 T. of Vital Wheat Gluten.
Here it is after the 3 hours in the IP
Here it is after resting for the 30 mins before baking
It looks and feels very much like the dough I've made using AP flour so I felt like this wasn't going to be a complete failure.
Out of the oven
This is a rustic bread and using the 100% made it even more so. We really liked the flavor. It's like bread, only better Next time I feel like I should add a bit more liquid/whey and reduce the baking time by 5 minutes. It didn't rise quite as much as it does using the AP flour so maybe those changes will help.
The second loaf is a recipe I stumbled upon from Serious Eats for 100% whole wheat bread and it uses the cuisinart to mix the dough. It's a sandwich bread that you bake in a loaf pan.
My feelings from the beginning were that the dough needed more flour, but I stuck to the recipe because I didn't trust myself. I still don't know if that was what was wrong (I weighed all the ingredients and followed the recipe exactly like it's written) but it didn't rise. Here is the dough after the autolyse and a run in the cuisinart
After this, you let it double in size, which it did (forgot to take a picture) and then you're supposed to shape it and put it in a loaf pan. There was no shaping, more like pouring. Then you're supposed to let it rise until it's 2 1/2 inches above the pan in the center. That didn't happen. It sat there for 3 hours and barely got to the top of the lip. I was sure this would be a complete failure, but I went ahead and baked it in the Steam Girl (cuisinart steam oven) --figured the bread setting might help a bit.
It looks like banana bread lol. Was very difficult to get out of the pan, even though I greased it.
I have to say--I'm impressed. Even though it doesn't look pretty, this bread is good, ya'll. It's not heavy--you can see the holes. The flavor is so good. Again, it's like bread, only better. It made excellent toast this morning.
So, all-in-all, I'm pleased. Yes, I have a lot of learning and experimenting to do, but, on my first two tries, I didn't make bread door-stops.