Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Thursday, January 28, 2010

making bread

I've been trying to perfect my bread making abilities. using the word abilities is being kind to myself. i try to follow recipes but there seems to be an automatic built in accessory i have - to improvise. and thus, the resulting "experiments" have various "interesting" results.

i've made both white and wheat breads. yes, i am still just in the beginning stages. i had one try that birthed 2 beautiful and tasty loaves. I actually followed a recipe to the tee. It was on the back of the flour sack for honey wheat bread. it was gorgeous! it rose nicely, the inside was done, the outside was a beautiful toasty brown color and it tasted good. i was proud of it. that was the first loaf of bread i'd made in , oh - maybe twenty years. beginners luck i think. because everything after that has been either disastrous or just not quite right yet.

my husband, by the way, makes magnificant bread in the machine. beautiful and tasty and reliable. but he follows directions. and he has a machine to do the work for him. he's so practical.

since i have so much time on my hands lately i wanted to make bread the real way - the old fashioned know with a big floury mess in the kitchen, goopy dough stuck to your fingers and the kneading and the rising and the whole nine yards. i am really good at the mess making part. i am getting better at kneading. i'm getting stronger. i have done some research and discovered some basic info about bread and how it works...and why it is important to be exact in your measures and temperature and times. yeast is amazing... it is alive! and it reacts with the flour and sugar and water or milk. but don't let it touch the salt! salt will kill it. it loves the hot water - but not too hot or the yeast will die. and the kneading is soooo important. you have to trap all those air bubbles into the massive ball of dough so the bread will rise. if you don't knead it enough the gas that the yeast produces will escape and you will have flat bread with popped bubbles on the top of the loaf.

so, last night i thought i had it. i have been trying out buttermilk instead of regular milk (because my hubby is lactose intolerant). i didn't have quite enough buttermilk, so i put in more butter to make up for it. and i added more sugar, so it might be more like my mother-in-laws bread. (best homemade bread ever). i was kneading with lots of new strength - it was progressing beautifully - and then when i checked it after an hour of rising i realized i'd put in only three teaspoons of yeast instead of three tablespoons of yeast. yeah. it hardly rose at all. so - i flattened the dough out - added two more tablespoons of yeast and some water and kneaded again. that was a difficult knead. initially the yeast did not cooperate. silly me - i poured dried yeast onto the dough and tried to knead it in. it did not stick and i had yeast all over the counter. Oh yeah - it needs to be softened in water. so i put some water in a bowl, added dry yeast and stirred, then made a well in the dough ball and kneaded from there. i got it done and set it to raise for another hour...and it did. i set the loaves on the middle rack in a 400 degree oven for twenty five minutes and it looked beautiful. it is raw in the middle. just a little. it is really tasty though. i think if i turn the oven down a bit and cook for a longer amount of time it will be good...but i am still experimenting.


i will get this right.


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