Baking Bread…the long way

I determined this summer that I wanted to learn to bake bread.  I started a vague research project.  It was more of just looking here and there.  But not really “learning” anything.

I tried to make a Weight Watchers Sweet Brown Bread recipe.  It was a dense bread and fine, but not wonderful.

Then I decided I needed to focus on “real” bread, not specialty breads.

On a side note, during this time Thanksgiving and Christmas pass and I make absolutely delightful dinner rolls from scratch, which just intensified my desire to figure out real bread.

I made a Weight Watchers Plain White Bread.  I forgot the salt.  The bread was pretty bad and in the trash it went.

At this point, I decided to put my WW cookbook aside and find a good recipe online.  I found a recipe for a great sandwich bread (because in the end, that is what I need so I can make bread for Z’s lunches).  I made it and Zach thought it was fine, but I thought it was too dense and the crust was too hard.

I start reading the articles and lessons at http://www.thefreshloaf.com.  I decide to switch yeasts (also because of some things I watched on TV) and followed lesson 2.

My bread wasn’t done until 10PM.  I accidently punched it down, so had to let it rise twice and I set it on a hot burner so the bottom of the dough started to cook during the second rise, then after it was shaped, I put it directly in the oven for a few minutes before I remembered you are supposed to let it double again before cooking.  I was sure the bread was not going to turn out. But….

It did!  It was fantastic! And if it was cooked in a pan, I think it might have risen enough to make a good old sandwich bread.  Now I’m even more excited to continue to learn.  I think I’ll follow the rest of the lessons as I think I’m actually learning things and there aren’t that many.

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