Sunday, February 24, 2008

Madam Chow Tries to Regain Her Baking Mojo: I Take On the Royal Crown's Tortano

Last week, the Bread Baking Babes posted about a bread that they had banded together to bake, Maggie Glezer's Royal Crown's Tortano, and invited everyone to join in this week, and give the bread a try. Well, I did it, and I'm glad I did - this was new baking territory for me. Over the past couple of weeks, I've felt like I lost my baking mojo (more on that in future posts), so tackling a recipe that turned out neither deformed nor with the consistency of a hockey puck was a major victory. Losing one's mojo when there are many other things going on - over which one has little or no control - is a sad thing, indeed.

So I dragged my woebegone rear end into the kitchen. Master Chow immediately perked up when he saw that I was in baking mode. A kind man, he doesn't care that much about appearance or texture; taste is king in his book. Luckily, most of my failed baking experiments still actually taste good. But I digress.

Here is my pre-ferment, which I started the night before. After four hours, nothing seemed to have happened, but about 13 hours later, I had this (trust me, this is a lot bigger than the blob of dough I started with):

This is what the dough looked like when I started kneading it:

About 20 minutes later, I had this:
Breadchick's photos were very helpful in determining when the dough was ready. Thank you, Breadchick Mary!

Here is my fourth turn of the dough (by this time it was very smooth and silky, but still a bit sticky):
At some point in the process, my sous chefs gave me some moral support:
Shaping the dough: I stuck a cereal bowl in the middle to help keep the hole open!

After I slashed the dough, I baked it for 50 minutes on a baking stone (I preheated the oven with the stone in it for over an hour - another Breadchick tip from a Daring Baker challenge), but it wasn't brown enough (according to what the other Baking Babes had posted), so I baked it for an extra 10 minutes. Voila!:I'm not really sure if this turned out right, but I'm happy with it. The crust was amazing - crisp, hard, but not too thick. The interior of the bread was firm, pocketed with holes, and mild in flavor.

I feel a bit more cheerful, and I took a step toward getting my baking mojo back! For the recipe, as well as a list of the Bread Baking Babes and their creations, check out The Sour Dough and Bake My Day.

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Blogger Baking Soda said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 24, 2008 5:34 PM  
Blogger Baking Soda said...

Oh yes, this does look so right, gorgeous loaf, and look at that silky dough to begin with!
Earned a badge for sure, thanks for baking along with us.

(I'd like to send you your badge but I can't find an email address? Would you please contact me so I can send you one?)

February 24, 2008 5:38 PM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

Oh, thank you, Karen! I also emailed you, but my email address is I'll have to post it somewhere on my blog, and thanks for the invitation - I really enjoyed myself.

February 24, 2008 5:51 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

This looks wonderful! Look at those nooks and crannies!

February 24, 2008 10:36 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

Beautiful loaf! Glad things came together for you on this one! Love the bowl in the middle idea!

February 25, 2008 9:41 AM  
Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That looks like perfect mojo to me!!
Your loaf is beautiful! And we're all in agreement: this is a really fabulous bread!
So happy to have you baking with us!

February 25, 2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

So glad you got your mojo back. You did a terrific job with this loaf - it turned out beautifully!

February 25, 2008 10:19 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Your baking mojo is intact! Lovely loaf!

February 25, 2008 10:33 AM  
Blogger breadchick said...

Madam Chow,

What a wonderful bread you made there! Glad you are getting your baking mojo back!!

Thanks for baking with us!

February 25, 2008 11:31 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Your bread looks terrific. And, I totally understand about the mojo. The whole time I was working on this bread, I kept thinking how lately everything I cooked turned to junk, so to speak. Had I lost my touch? Every success helps, but the jury is still out.

February 25, 2008 12:43 PM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

I just got to my computer, and what did I find? All these wonderful, positive, encouraging comments. Thank you so much - this is one of the big reasons I love the food blogging community!

February 25, 2008 1:46 PM  
Blogger Glenna said...

great job! Love the color of your crust and those deliciously huge bubbles!

February 25, 2008 11:18 PM  
Blogger Gea said...

Beautiful Crown: Congrats!

February 26, 2008 3:54 AM  
Blogger rowena said...

Applaud! Applaud! Applaud!

That is one very beautiful-looking loaf and I am stoked at your success at pulling that off right after getting out of your baking slump.

The sous chefs, of course, steal the whole show. They are simply ADORE-able!

February 26, 2008 6:10 AM  

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