Notes on Baking Bread
After a couple emails with Jeremy, here are some further explanations as to why certain steps are taken in the process of making bread.
The first preheat for 3 minutes is so that when you stick the bread in to rise a second time for 20 minutes, it speeds up the process.
Gluten helps dough to rise by trapping the gas of the active yeast. It is optional however, I believe gluten is formed anyway with the ingredients in the bread dough (don’t quote me on this, I only did a little research via wiki to get this answer). Via Jeremy: gluten prevents the bread from crumbling and makes the dough more elastic and flexible. If you leave it out you will see a difference-put too much in and you’ll apparently get dough with the consistency of a car tire.
Also remember, if your dough is too sticky when you are making it, add a bit of flour. If it’s too crumbly, add a bit of water. Play around with it.
And the bread mold I was talking about that Jeremy uses is called a French bread pan. It looks like this:
Also note, check the expiry of your yeast. My friend followed this recipe exactly and it failed her twice. I could not for the life of me figure out why, because I too had made the bread twice, and it worked perfectly each time. Her yeast was from 2007: evidently, yeast isn’t that great after three years.