Friday, December 4, 2009

Making Bread and How I Survived

I was lucky enough to have a few days off earlier this week and decided that it was time to finally quit saying I would make bread...and just do it.

I had acquired a small collection of bread making books over the past few years, and enjoyed looking through them from time to time. Yet, making bread always seemed like such an impossible task.

Regardless, I decided this was as good of a day as any. I pulled out the book, ingredients, various materials and started to get to work.


Although the book said that a beginner should start with a batter bread, I skipped that section and jumped right into yeast breads; starting with the Egg Bread that sounded delicious.

I pulled out the Active-Dry Yeast that I bought some time ago (checked the expiration-it was for 2010) and read the directions over and over. I think this is the step that gave me such fright. I knew that yeast breads were all about the yeast. If you get this wrong, you might as well give up.

I followed the directions (now having read them for like the 5th time) and before I knew it, I had bubbling yeast.

I gave myself a quick pat on the back and jumped to the next step. This process involved so many liquid ingredients, I was afraid that I'd have a soup-y mess. Of course, once you add 8 cups of flour (yes, I said 8 cups) you have a flour-y mess that overtakes the bowl.

I think the part of bread making that intrigued me the most was the kneading. I was excited to take out my frustration on the sticky goo in front of me.


Seven minutes later and my sticky mess began turning into something that actually looked edible. Now the next hard part...the waiting. It took two and a half hours for the dough to double in size. This pic is what I started with. When it doubled it nearly reached the top of the bowl.

After waiting two and a half hours, I punched it down, folded it over to get the air out and then put it back in the bowl for another hour and a half...ugh! More Waiting.
Of course, by now the kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of the fresh bread that was sure to come.
After a quick nap, I took to dividing the dough into two loaves. Each loaf, I split into three logs and braided them as the directions asked. I'm showing you the prettier of the loaves below, it was my second. The first, I dare say turned out a little sloppy. It's amazing how one forgets how to braid.

Nearly an hour later, I crossed my fingers for the final time, opened the oven and pulled out this beauty. The smell was absolutely amazing and I couldn't wait to tear into it.
The directions said to wait until the bread cooled...I waited all of five minutes and then gave in.


What did we learn here, you ask. I had survived.

1 comments:

Victoria said...

I havent made bread in such a long time, but what a beautiful job you did on this one. Im inspired. :)

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