Friday, July 16, 2010

Baking Bread

I have always considered myself a decent cook.  Give me a recipe, and I can make it.  Sweets & desserts are my specialty (because they're my favorite, of course!).  So, when I decided to try my hand at baking bread, I figured I would be a natural.  NOT SO!  My bread didn't rise, turned out really heavy, and was just, overall, nasty.  My wonderful brother, Tim, who is a phenomenal baker, gave me a recipe he created--one that he tweaks to make everything from bread to cinnamon rolls--and careful instructions.  Which, I followed, mostly.  Turns out, mostly is not good enough! 

With trepidation, I thought I'd try again the other day.  I took pictures to document my progress, and I thought I'd share.  :-)

Step 1:  I had the milk and butter warming up in the microwave when I realized that I didn't remember unpacking the yeast.  So, I had to walk down to Handy Andy with all the kids to pick up a packet of yeast.  We got home, finished warming up the milk & butter.  At this point, everything looks GREAT!  :-)

So, on to Step 2:  Adding the yeast, sugar, and salt.  To my surprise, the yeast actually started bubbling away as it dissolved.  I wasn't sure when exactly to put in the sugar, but it seemed to work out ok.  

Step 3:  Here's where I made my mistakes before.  You know how the recipe tells you to put in one cup of flour at a time?  Yeah...I just dumped it all in last time.  SO, deciding to actually follow the directions this time, I stirred in one cup of flour at a time.  By this time, I have, not only my brother's recipe, but two Betty Crocker cookbooks out on the counter turned to the pictures of the dough.  What is it supposed to look like?  How in the world do I know it's ready?  Tim says that it gets satiny and you just feel that it's done.  Well, I don't trust my 'feeling,' hence, the two illustrated cookbooks!  Apparently, baking bread requires some 6th sense of baking, which you must acquire through practice.  Yikes!

Anyway, I finally get the dough to look 'right'--where it doesn't really stick to the board anymore as I'm kneading it.  So, I decide this is as good as it's going to get and I put it back in the bowl to rise for an hour in the nice, warm sunroom. 

An hour later, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my dough had, indeed doubled in size!  I punched it down and divided it in half, placing it in two bread pans.  I covered the pans and set them aside to rise for another hour.  I even set the timer--but forgot to press start.  So, about 90 minutes later, I remember the bread & find that it has doubled in size again!  I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture & just put the loaves in the oven.  30 minutes later, here is what I found: 
Two beautiful loaves of bread.  In the pans, they were pretty hard, so Ryan was dubious.  But I dutifully rubbed butter all over the tops, & turned them out on the cooling rack, covering again with a towel.  Sure enough, the bread was nice and soft!

In fact, Ryan and the kids couldn't get enough of it!
I think I will try this again sometime soon!  I may even get brave and try to make dinner rolls.  We'll see! 


Kelly said...

Way to go Karen! I'm trying to perfect bread baking using all whole wheat flour and it's not easy! This time of year though, if any bread gets baked it's in the bread machine. Too hot to use the oven. Someone loaned me a book that goes into the science of how the ingredients work together to create a loaf of bread. I started it a few weeks ago but have a lot more to read. I'm hoping that will help a lot, and I've also go some recipes for "no knead" bread.

Kelly said...

Are you familiar with the site There's all kinds of stuff there, I just finished watching the sour dough course and it made me think of you. Check it out!

lou said...

you must share the recipe! looks delicious!

worryfreemom said...

Kelly--I have never heard of that site, but I will check it out. The site name is just crazy enough to pique my curiosity. lol

Aubrey--I'll check, and if it's ok with Tim, I'll post it here. :-)

Diane said...

Yum! I love making homeade bread! Sometimes it turns out better than others. =+) I'm with Aubrey and would love the recipe you have from your brother. Kelly, good lick with all wheat! I can't get past half and half. It turns out too tough. Anything you figure out, let us know!

worryfreemom said...

Here's the Recipe! Thanks, Tim!

1) Heat 2 1/2 c milk and 2 T butter in microwave (1 min at a time) until it reaches 110 degrees. (About 3 minutes)

2) Add 2T yeast to milk, sprinkle 1 tsp sugar, stir.

3) Add 1 tsp. salt, stir.

4) Add any additional ingredients (seasonings, etc). Stir.

5) Add 5-6 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time--until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.

6) Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth. (This took me a while and I had to use more flour.)

7) Let rise 1 hour in a warm place.

8) Punch dough down and place in loaf pans. Let rise 1 hour.

9) Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

10) For soft crust, rub butter on top and cover to cool. :-)


Diane said...

Thanks and thanks to Tim too! I am going to try this today. My husband has to work every other weekend and this is his weekend so it should be a huge suprise.

worryfreemom said...

How did your bread turn out Diane?

Diane said...

Sorry I should have logged right back on and told you how wonderful the bread turned out! YUMMY

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