After a 19-hour nap

No, not me. The decadent creature napping was my olive bread dough. Although I do like my sleep. AND I don't think wanting ten hours of sleep a night (not that I actually get ten hours) is anything to be embarrassed about! No, I'm not getting huffy!

I do, however, find myself having to defend my right to at least eight hours of sleep when Japanese friends stare at me with incredulity, horror, and sometimes outrage at my utter lazy-bummyness. After all, with most of them seeming to come home from work around 1AM on a fairly regular basis, and having to wake up at 6AM or so the next day, it doesn't seem fair does it that I should be allowed such greedy slumber.

I recently read, however, a rather disturbing article entitled Sleep less, live longer?. Wonderful. But then who really wants to live to such a ripe old age? I'd rather sleep more and die younger than live interminably and perpetually exhuasted.

ANYHOW, after 19 hours of resting in the fridge, my dough was still very slack and wet
compared to the previous times I've made this dough. (I've been sticking to the recipe in the Sourdough Bread tutorial on e-gullet). But I slashed it and popped it into a 250 degree celcius oven, with lots of mad water spritzing as well as water poured into a pan on the floor of the oven...

And after one hour, and lots of peeping and peering into the oven every five minutes...

Bugger! My olive bread is done and it's...sigh...flattish.
Not to mention burned on top, but I wanted to make absolutely sure this time that it was baked inside because I do not have a thermometer to check accurately for doneness and the last three loaves I baked were a bit damp.

I've baked four loaves in total with my sourdough starter and each subsequent one seems to have less oven spring (Oven Spring: that magical thing that happens in the oven where your unassuming dough suddenly billows up and out into a wonderous puff of a loaf. To see a picture illustrating enviable oven spring, check out the loaf made by the delightful Amateur Gourmet). I've heard people complaining about exploding loaves. I wouldn't mind in the least if my loaf was to explode. Better that than these stony, sullen bumps that I have been producing. FRUSTRATIONS!

But, but, but... the smell is absolutely divine. Fruity. And although my breads are never impressive in stature, they do taste lovely. Some say that's all that matters. But no, I say stubbornly, I want a nice fat balloon of a bread. Will not rest until I get that. Even if--god, please don't stone me, anyone--I have to add a sprinkle of instant yeast to achieve better-rising results.

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