In reviewing my notes on Jeffrey Hamelman’s aptly-titled Bread, I once again came across his words on proper cooling of a freshly baked loaf. As I noted in my previous post, it’s amazing how different the results can be, at least aesthetically speaking, from waiting an hour instead of thirty minutes. I would be lying if I said I could tell a difference in flavour, but maybe my palate will develop in time.
According to Hamelman, “while really bad bread may only be palatable when eaten warm, well made breads never possess their finest aroma or flavor until they have cooled completely.” Now, I don’t know if my bread quite fits into the finest category just yet, but the message is quite clear. While warm, says Hamelman, the crumb remains doughy (see above for reference) and the aroma flat. Sourdough breads, in fact, do not come into their own until they have had a few hours or more for their flavours to settle and mingle after cooling. Here lies the beauty in baking two loaves, I suppose… I can have my bread and eat it too? Rye breads, apparently, require up to 24 to 48 hours of resting after a bake for the crumb to stabilize and full flavour to develop. More on this development when I delve a little more into different flours in the future!
In fact, eating quality can actually increase for days. Just try waiting, right?
Have a good week.