Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Domestic Domination-Baking Bread

So I decided my next step in Domestic Domination was to bake my own bread, thats right bread. I was scared, the yeast is what gave me the most fear. What is this reaction it does, will it work, will I be able to stand the waiting, oh the waiting. Since I'm a glutton for punishment I did this during kitchen remodel '08-painting phase; everything that could be moved into the middle of the floor has been, spackle covered what used to be hideous wallpaper, my spice rack was taken down and the contents spread on the counters. I was fighting nature here. I took out my trusty tool, my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook and faced the bread baking demon that has been laughing at me behind my back, mocking me that I've been buying our bread from the store, the freezer section even. I took action and opened my cookbook, to my suprise it didn't look as hard as I was imagining. For some reason I was thinking you needed a third hand to bake bread correctly. To my suprise you needed only 1 Tbsp active dry yeast, 3 cups water, 1 1/2 tsp salt and about 6.5-7.5 cups of flour. I took that dry yeast and mixed it with a quarter cup of warm water (think baby formula), I watched it for awhile as the mixture became creamy and developed a nice bready smell. From there I added the salt and the rest of the water. This is where I turned on the bread hook as I added cup after cup of flour (alternating between whole wheat and white with each cup). When I got to about 6 cups I realized it was looking like bread dough, I added another 1/2 cup just to show it who was boss. I took it out of the mixer and kneaded it a little with my hands to make sure it was good and ready. At this point I threw in some rosemary, garlic powder and oregano, cause I'm fancy like that. I cleaned out the mixer bowl and buttered the sides, from there I put the dough back in and placed covered in a warm oven (but not turned on). I let it rise for about 3 hours till it doubled in size, then beat it down a little bit more. It needed to get taken down a notch so I separated it into two and formed those two pieces into a loaf shape. I put the loaves in bread pans that were coated with olive oil and let them rise for another 45 minutes, then baked them for 40 at 350 degrees.
At the end of the day, I surpassed all of the challenges and tasted some of the best bread I've ever had. A nice hearty crunchy crust and a nice soft inside with just a hint of a rosemary flavor. Oh this is good, real good.
I'm on top of the world but without pictures.

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