the bread making adventure

One of my goals this fall is to learn how to bake bread. I don’t mean banana bread or corn bread or any of those other quick breads; I want to learn to make a real, yeast-risen loaf of bread.

On Saturday, we picked a recipe (the buttermilk bread from The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book1) and headed off to procure the ingredients. We were kneading the bread when we realized that we had misread the directions: the bread needed to rise for one hour twice, not just rise for one hour. We had dinner plans with friends, and there was no way that we were going to be able to let it rise twice and bake it before we had to leave. There was some mad googling (surely other people had been faced with this conundrum before!), and then we put the bread dough in the refrigerator.

I got it out in the morning and wasn’t sure that it was going to rise, so I put it in the oven on warm to help it along. The “warm” setting is apparently warmer than I thought, and it might have started to bake. So we panicked and took it out and tried to let it rise on the oven. It rose some, but it certainly did not double in size, but, because I am impatient,2 I put it in the oven.

The loaf came out kind of small, which was probably a combination of the inappropriate rising and the fact that we used whole wheat flour instead of white … but the bread tasted good, which is clearly the most important part.

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1My folks gave me this cookbook when I got my first apartment in college, and it is really a great beginner’s cookbook. It has a lot of handy basic information about ingredients, and it had a photo-illustrated section on making yeast bread. Definitely a winner.
2Not the most desirable quality when baking bread.

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