Sunday, November 6, 2016

I may never have to pay for bread again

Many, many, many years ago, I baked bread with a turbo convection oven. I followed the instructions in a book and thought that by doing so I could magically produce tasty bread. Wrong. Everything came out hard and horrible. So I nagged hubs about buying a "real oven". We bought a tiny Baby Belling oven because it fitted the little table space I have left in the kitchen. I tried making bread again and they still came out bad. Hubs probably tried eating them and I threw most of them away. So it wasn't the oven. It was me. I gave up baking bread completely until last year when the desire to bake my own bread came back strong. It started with my digestive issues and I found it so hard to find healthy bread in the bakery in my area.

I am still fearful of baking bread. In the Muffins and Scones course I attended, I had to manipulate the dough and I found I still have very little confidence handling dough with my hands. Last night I decided to take the plunge. I thought it would be a good idea to at least bake a few loaves of bread before attending the Basic Bread course. I may learn better instead of feeling bombarded with new stuff to absorb.

My intention has always been to bake healthy bread. But I decided I would start with white bread as I think it's better to start with the basics. I used this recipe for "The Easiest Loaf of Bread You'll Ever Make" found on the King Arthur Flour website.

 I used Prima unbleached plain flour and Dry Baker's Yeast.

The dry ingredients is the easy part.

I think I could have used a bit more flour because the dough was super sticky right up till before I put it in the oven. Is that normal?

Manipulating the dough when it's sticky is the part I'm least confident about. Perhaps I will get guidance when I attend the course.

Somehow I managed to manipulate the dough into this. Quite a feat.

The dough is fermented! The dough is fermented! But why does it take an hour? The recipe says 1 to 2 hours but it was already late at night and I didn't fancy staying up. So 1 hour it is.

I didn't do a good job of shaping the second dough but I didn't know if I should redo it. A good thing to remember is if your dough does not look good, after baking, it won't magically look better.

Good grief. I burnt one of the loaves. Well just the crust. I had some issues with the temperature of my oven. I had bought an oven thermometer and it said my oven temperature was too low by 25 deg C. I adjusted my oven temperature to 25 deg C higher and later I realised my mistake. I should have placed the thermometer in the center of the oven to get a more accurate reading. Instead I put it next to the side which is hotter. So lesson learnt. The heating in my oven is obviously uneven since I baked both loaves together. One not too bad looking and one slightly burnt.

This loaf I felt I shaped better and it came out better. Hubs came home from work and saw the two loaves of bread cooling on the table. He was particularly excited to see the burnt loaf. He likes to eat burnt food.

Hubs asked for a slice and I gave him the unburnt one. He said it didn't taste too bad. Did you hear that? It didn't taste too bad.

I don't know if it's normal for the bread to have some larger air pockets here and there.

This morning I had a slice with jam and butter and it really didn't taste too bad. Wow. This is my first attempt (let's not count the previous failures ok?) and if I keep improving, I may never have to pay for bread again.


Bethany said...

My dad has one of those bread-making machines that does all of the work for you once you toss in the ingredients. However, it makes the most irritating sound for about an hour.

Unknown said...

Jane, it is normal for the loaf to be slightly sticky. In fact I'm impressed! You did very well! Looks like a very edible loaf. Won't be long and you'll be slathering a freshly baked and cut piece of bread with butter and enjoying one of the best treats of this world.

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Lynnelle, we have already finished eating 1 1/2 loaf and hubs has been waking up late at night to cut himself a slice or two. I can't wait to bake more!!!

Jane McLellan said...

It takes practice to bake good bread, so keep at it!!

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Jane, this is my first successful bread. Compared to the disasters a decade or so ago I think I have improved tremendously. I'll definitely keep going.

Jane said...

i have been wanting to bake my own bread too for a long time but the process has always been so daunting to me (the clean up too). but i hope to get my interest back..

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