Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm My Own Bread Machine

Over the past few months, I've started playing around with making bread. Loaves, pizza crusts, hot rolls, cinnamon rolls...yeasty, floury stuff. What I learned right off the bat was this: I don't know squat.

I discovered that actually rolling out dough for rolls works much better than patting it and shoving it around. This is why the recipe says to ROLL.

I discovered that kneading is not a recommendation, nor can it's equivalent be achieved by some serious stirring. This is why the recipe says to KNEAD.

I discovered that fresh yeast is vital to the success of the dough, and old yeast will ruin 8 cups of flour, but fast. This is why the recipe says to PROOF THE YEAST.

In short, I've come a long way. What better way to learn bread making, than to make bread?
One of my first attempts was last December when I attempted to make two beautiful loaves of French Bread. The recipe looked simple - as all bread recipes do - so I paid it no never-mind. I followed it loosely, and ended up with two ugly, misshapen, flat slabs of dense bread. Actually, the word bread should not have been associated with the substance that I created - which were more like planks of crust.

Poor Justin. He tried to be supportive, while choking down a few pieces. We threw away most of it.

So, after learning a few things about bread making, I came back to this recipe a few days ago. I used high quality ingredients, kneaded well, wielded a rolling pin, and voila! Bread was born.

I documented the whole process, because I knew you would be itching with anxiety to see the proof. Just itching.

Here's my hunka-hunka rising dough:

And my official kneading helper:

The loaves after their second rise and egg wash:

And the finished product. It was delicious. Soft, crusty, soft, pillowy, and soft.

I can't believe I had so much fun with it. Kneading is my new favorite kitchen activity. Well, besides actually eating.

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