Homemade is Best?

This week I decided to try my hand at baking bread.  When I was a young wife and mother, I used to make bread on occasion and was pretty good at it as I recall.  Then there was a long period of time when I never made bread.  I just did not have the time and store bought bread was so much easier to acquire.  Eventually I tried my hand at it again but with much more disappointing results.  I couldn’t get it to rise enough and often the loaves came out looking more like a brick (and sometimes they were just as heavy too).  Truly disappointing.

Recently the desire to make homemade bread has overtaken me.  There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking in your house or the taste of warm bread right out of the oven.  I’ve pinned several recipes to my pinterest board that looked so delicious that I think I’ve gained weight just looking at them.  I love the idea that I know what the ingredients are in homemade bread so it seems much healthier.  Not to mention it just tastes better than the store bought stuff.  And then to add to this already budding desire to make homemade bread my oldest daughter sent me a picture of a beautiful loaf of honey oatmeal bread that she had made.  That was it!  I was determined now!

So yesterday I pulled out all the ingredients for this recipe I decided to make.  I could just taste the soft yumminess already!  You can find the instructions for the recipe I used here at this website.  It was pretty simple.  Of course right off the bat, I ran into trouble.  My yeast didn’t rise as much as it should have.  I let it sit for more than twice as long as it indicated in the recipe but still it didn’t double in volume like it said it would.  But I wasn’t going to let that bother me cause it was still more than I have sometimes had.  So I pressed on with  certainty that it would still turn out okay.  img_1098

Now the recipe calls for using a dough hook on a mixer, but I don’t have one of those so I mixed by hand and kneaded the dough myself.  So far things were going well.  It seemed a little smaller than I expected but I chalked that up to this being a recipe for just 1 loaf.  Most recipes are for 2 loaves.

So I left the dough in a greased bowl (I sprayed it with cooking spray) and covered it as directed for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, I went off for a 3 mile walk while I waited for the dough to rise (double in volume).  It was super hot outside for October and I was melting but pushed on by the thought of all that kitchen chemistry doing it’s magic while I was gone.  I returned after a little more than an hour. Hmmmm.  It was not doubled in size.  In fact I wasn’t even sure it had risen at all.  img_1099

Sooo, I decided to help it a bit.  I stuck it in the oven on warm for 5 minutes.  It worked!  It rose!  Although still not as much as I had hoped.  I punched it down shaped it into a loaf, put it in my bread pan, covered it and waited for it to rise again.img_1100

 

Again, it took a lot of extra time for it to rise but it finally did rise a bit.  Unfortunately, I should have sprayed the plastic wrap so it wouldn’t stick to the dough when I pulled it off.  The process messed up the smooth top a bit.img_1101

In the oven it went for 30 minutes.  Yum, yum, yum.  My house smelled so good. I was so excited to see how it was going to look and taste.  Finally the buzzer went off. I pulled the loaf out of the oven to see that once again, it looked more like a brick than a loaf of bread. Dang it. At least it still tasted good.

So there you have it.  Projects don’t always turn out the way we hope they will.  But I’m not giving up.  I will learn how to make bread!  Next time will be better!

For now, this project is done!  Time to move on to another one!

 

 

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