You all assured me I could make bread. You gave me tips and offered recipes. You also told me to make cinnamon buns first. I'd have made a terrible Dorothy in Oz because I never want to "begin at the beginning".
Here is official loaf #1! ~
It's doesn't look quite like the one from The Italian Dish ~
I'll grant you that mine is considerably smaller and rather resembles a bowling ball. Hey, she's had more practice than I have and writes an amazing, full scale cooking blog. You really should check out her site! It's one of my favourite foodie blogs. Everything is made from scratch, with natural ingredients and the directions are detailed and easy to understand. She includes videos of methods that may be difficult to grasp by just reading them. Trust me on The Italian Dish being worth the hop over there! You have to go over there, anyway, for the recipe because it's wayyy too long for me to write out.
The ingredient list is simple enough. I've bought fresh yeast, like Mel from Mellywood's Mansion told me to and took her advice on storing it in the freezer. Other than that, I needed sea salt, flour and water. Of course I deviated from the recipe and used organic whole wheat flour. ~
Are we all still hating my kitchen counter? Let's all just look at the Medalta bowl and the wooden spoon from Greece. That's better.
The whole process got a little more difficult when I put the yeast in the warm water. It appears yeast makes Maeve crazy! This 3 pound cat's normal voice is only a whisper. If she's very frightened OR you put yeast in water, you can hear her scream a mile away! ~
I keep pushing her away with my foot and mix the whole thing together with the wooden spoon because I don't have a fancy, shmancy mix master with a dough paddle. I also don't have a special dough keeper box so I stretch some cling wrap over the bowl and poke a hole in the top to let the gasses out.
It's kind of cold in this old house, with our double digit low temps this week, so I put the bowl on my warming element set on low and left the dough to rise for 2 hours. ~
Into the fridge it goes (the dough, not the cat) and sets overnight.
I had a little more trouble with the shaping part. You have to stretch the top down and wrap it under the bottom until it forms a smooth 'gluten cloak'. It's supposed to take 30 seconds for this operation. Uh huh. I know I'm handling the dough too much, but I'm determined to get a 'gluten cloak'.
Six tries later, I gave up and decided my bread was a fuzzy lumberjack shirt wearer!~
Let 'er rise for another 30 mins. and pop it in the oven for 30 mins. ~
It sings, like she said it would, with little crackling sounds. It's baked right through. It sounds hollow when you tap it.
Now, for the taste test. ~
Yummm! This stuff is good for a few extra pounds! Yes, I gave Maeve some and she heartily approved of home made bread.
There you have it. I've made artisan (bowling ball shaped) bread for about 40 cents a loaf. You guys were right - I can do it!