Let's Break BreadLast week on Friday the all knowing weather man, Jon Cash, was predicting 1-3 inches of snow. I thought that with some firewood and some good rib sticking food, we would be snug as two bugs in a rug. So I got inspired. I have a bread machine but there is something about bread that has a whole in it that just isn't appealing to my eyes. So I took a HUGE leap of faith in instant rise yeast and made bread from scratch. I got a little mini cookbook from my mother-in-law some years back. I saved it hoping that some day I could make something from it. It's day had come. I have a huge array of honey. My palate is not made for too many wines but for some reason I have some super palate for honey. Who knew? So armed with my little honey cookbook, I was ready to tackle bread. I used to be an assistant baker at a large bakery here where I live, but honestly that was from 1995-97 and I think forgotten most of what I learned. Baking in a commercial bakery is way different from baking at home. I had to scale down my expectations just a bit about space and equipment, but mostly the rising process and the oven.
To start off I have to say that I did bake this bread on the spur of the moment and if I had been prepared better, my bread would have been better...well maybe. I usually freeze my flour to keep the flour bugs at bay. I have tried the bay leaf trick, but it is a wives tale for sure. So I went to the freezer and found myself some wheat flour. Honestly, I had no idea how long it's been in the freezer. My best estimate is over 18 months. Do I hear bread bakers shreiking with horror? I should have and at the end I did.
Here is the bread after it was given an hour for the first rising. I turned on the oven and set the bowl with a towel covering it next to the oven venting burner on the stove top. I had hoped that the warmth would help to make the rising much better than it turned out. It took 90 minutes to double in size.
The recipe said it makes two loaves. I decided that I didn't want to put them into a loaf pan so I just divided them and shaped then into oblong loaves. This is before the second rising.
Okay, I confess...I couldn't not help but peaking and seeing if the second rising was going well. I did time this for an hour and they did double.
I used the baking stone that sits idol in my oven most of the time to bake the bread. I never use this and you can see from the black spots I am a messy oven person. Here is a picture of one of the finished loaves. The texture is just like the kinds of wheat bread you buy in the store only more dense. Lessons that I have learned...don't keep your flour in the freezer more than a few months. The bread had that funny freezer taste to it. It didn't stop me from eating it but I can taste my freezer in every bite. think I would bake this bread in the loaf pans next time so that all the pieces will fit in the toaster. So I guess I am not a total failure at baking bread, only baking it with that $50 bread machine that I bought!