Gravey and Rice

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bread!

Well, I can scarcely believe it- but I did it! I baked my first homemade loaves of bread- and they came out awesome!


I got a late start Sunday. I got very little sleep Saturday night and the kitchen was still a mess. The baby was in a mood as well... So, all in all I didn't get started until about 3:00. First things first I spooned some flour and yeast in a bowl and set it aside. I don't bother measuring out flour anymore, I know how many spoonfuls make a cup so I just go with that. In this case I wondered if not being exact would make a difference, but I went ahead and did it anyway. I put the flour and yeast aside and went to work on the rest of the ingredients. I whipped up some buttermilk, cut a tablespoon of butter off the stick and tossed some sugar and salt into a saucepan. After the milk was ready I added it to the saucepan and warmed it up over high heat. Olivia did the stirring. When the butter had started to melt and it was nice and warm I took it off the burner and added it to the flour and yeast and mixed it all together. After it had formed a dough I dumped it on the cutting board and started to knead in the rest of the flour (about 3 cups).


We kneaded it for about 8-10 minutes. A bit longer than it calls for, but I was having trouble getting the flour worked in so the dough wasnt sticky. I think maybe I used a bit to much flour or kneaded it to long, because it developed flaps that I couldnt smooth out or work back into the dough.


I rolled the dough into a relatively smooth ball (those darn dough flaps!) and put it in a large bowl, covered with a tea towel. Into the oven it went, with another bowl full of half boiling half cold water underneath it. After the specified 35 odd minutes it had doubled in size (Yey!). One hurdle crossed. I was so excited I was practically jumping up and down!


Next to divide it in a half and put it in the pans. I only have 1 loaf pan so I used a round pan for one loaf. It was getting to be dinner time, so I put them in the oven for a bit but then moved them to the airing cupboard to finish the second rising (about as close as we come to religion in this house...) and started dinner. I wasnt sure about this move, but the airing cupboard is always nice and warm so I figured it would be ok. And, yes, I checked them again when dinner was ready and they had doubled again! Yes! Now, to bake.

While we enjoyed our dinner outside for the first time this year, the bread baked. I checked it with about 5 minutes left. It was nice and brown and sounded hollow, but when we tried it, it was still a bit yeasty and wet. I put it back in for another 5 odd minutes and it came out perfect. I can't describe the taste other than to say it's delicious. I've never had homebaked bread before and I just couldn't believe the difference!

I don't like plain bread as a rule, mostly I toast all the bread I use. But, this was amazing! I just couldnt help cutting myself a thick piece and spreading it with butter.

Now, I have this vision of homebaking all of our bread and not wasting money on that mass produced stuff anymore. Not sure how practical that is though, considering one of the loaves I baked last night is gone already! And I don't think the other will last the day!!

A very special thank you to fellow expat and baking expert Michelle for her tips and answering my questions about baking bread and also bread baker, Elise owner Cherri for her tips!Next week I attempt whole wheat bread! Wish me luck! :P I won't post the bread recipes here as they are so long, but if you want one, just let me know!

3 Comments:

  • Erin...that bread looks divine! Great pics, too! I think there's nothing more comforting than walking into a house where there's fresh bread baking. I think you've inspired me to try my hand...
    elizabeth

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 4:51 PM  

  • We had to stop baking bread because we ate it so fast! Homemade bread is divine!

    Well done!! :o)

    By Blogger Lindsay, at 9:35 AM  

  • Those look fantastic. Great job!

    By Blogger Soteria, at 9:17 PM  

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