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Defeating Bread

Today, stuck between a rock and a paycheck, I decided to conquer my fear of baking bread. I mean, we had all the ingredients in the cabinet, after all. What was to stop me? I even have a Bosch mixer collecting dust in the back of the cabinet. Sacrilege, I know. There’s a NutriMill in there, too. O_o

So after apologizing to my long-neglected Bosch, I cleaned it up and put it to work. I found several different recipes that I thought would work based on what I had. This one fit the bill – simple and practical.

I don’t have a good history with bread baking. I have always killed the yeast and never had much success with rise. Ok, none. But, clearly, I had good intentions when I purchased my mixer/grinder set years ago. Imagine my delight to see bubbles in my mixer!

It worked! It really worked! I took the advice of Crystal at The Family Homestead and didn’t use a thermometer like I’d always done before. I just heated two of the three cups of water a bit – to where it was not-quite-too-hot – then added the third cup of water in at room temperature. I put the sugar in the mixer with the water, whizzed it around a bit, then added the yeast. Imagine that! All these years I’ve just been too anal for my own good.

Yes, it’s white bread. No, it’s not particularly healthy. It is, though, unbleached King Arthur bread flour, so it’s not too completely bad. Shush. Let me justify my lack of whole wheat flour in peace. I did modify the recipe a bit and used melted butter instead of oil. I was pleased with the results. I’m looking forward to substituting half of the flour for whole wheat next time.

Then…the fun part. Monitoring the rodeo that is the Bosch mixer at work. This is the mixer operating in second gear, bucking and jumping on my counter, threatening to do a swan dive to the floor. I’m surprised this photo came out as clear as it did, seeing a I had to briefly take my hand off the mixer to snap it quickly before grabbing it again.

The thing that I have come to adore about the Bosch is that I do not have to knead the dough. Really. Five minutes of yeehaw and out pops a perfect round of dough, ready to cut and place into my motley crew of loaf pans. One rise time is all that is needed. No punching down. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

I’ve never had bread play this nicely before! What a feeling! But then, they hadn’t been baked yet. Fingers firmly crossed, I entrusted their care to my oven for half an hour. The smell was torture. Kaitie was convinced that I was making coconut bread – apparently yeast smells like coconut to her. Derrick was waxing poetic about the fact that he had never had homemade bread before and was excited to try it. Gracie kept sneaking into the kitchen, her little button nose poking around at counter level, hoping to be there when it first came out of the oven.

She was rewarded with a first sniff of the amazing results!

I’m still in awe that I beat my yeasty demon. Three loaves survived the evening to be made into grilled cheeses and pb&js this week.

Happy, happy day. 🙂

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