January's task was to make bread. A few of you reported back that you had successfully completed it. Yay!!! I haven't gone around yet to check for posts, but I do hope you documented your experience. :) :) :)
I'm going to be honest. I barely made it with this one. I sort of knew that would happen too. Bread making has intimidated me since forever. I have only ever successfully proofed yeast exactly once in my life. I made a braid loaf of bread for Christmas 2010. I was so nervous but it did turn out. Still, one success has not fully erased the intimidation.
Saturday evening I finally set out to do this thing. I am a procrastinator by nature. And I probably wouldn't have baked the bread at all without this challenge. By putting myself out there, I am holding myself accountable, which seems to be working.
I tried a very simple basic bread loaf recipe. I substituted sugar for the salt and used olive oil instead of butter. In the past, I usually have an issue incorporating the entire amount of flour called for in the recipe. This time I figured it out. If I try to mix all the flour at once, it doesn't take. The last half-cup needs to be kneaded into the dough a little at a time. How has it taken me years to finally come to this conclusion?
The moment of truth came after I let the dough sit for an hour and a half. Would it rise? Or would lift the towel to find a sad, small lump? I need not have worried. It rose! It was light and airy and punched right down. Once I kneaded it for the second time and placed in the loaf pan to rise a second time, I was thrilled again when I checked it later to find that it rose to form a puffy, rounded top above the edge of the pan. Yay!!!!
The real test came when I pulled it out of the oven. It had a nice puffy top for two seconds and then it deflated. Sad face. But! The bread did taste good. It is slightly dense and chewy. However, earth balance and honey taste marvelous on it. It has been my after work snack with a cup of tea each evening. I don't know if the density is my fault or the recipe, but I daresay I am less intimidated and will give this breadmaking another go in the near future.
I'd love to hear about your bread-making adventures. Feel free to leave your links with Mr. Linky below the image.