Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baking up a storm!

Action shot - me at the mixer!

I made two loaves of bread today. Two different batches. I think I might have a problem. It's the darned whole grains, I tell you!
Baking is a great hobby. It teaches patience, care and the importance of following directions. I love the smell of yeast and the gentle war that is kneading. I got a KitchenAid stand mixer for my birthday this year (thanks Hanna!) and since we've got our very own fully functioning kitchen now, I've freed it from its cardboard prison and put it to work. Oh have I put it to work...two batches of cookies, and counting today's, five loaves of bread. In about a week! But it's fine, because husband Chris has been known to put away upwards of seventeen sandwiches a day.
But I have to be honest - it has not been all rosy. My saga of bread thus far goes like this: Batch one, two loaves. White bread, very simple. Rose well, was tasty. But well, it was white bread. I need a little more hearty in my life. So for the next one got fancy. Maybe too fancy. The recipe had like seven ingredients, which is kind of a lot for bread. But it was from the website for King Arthur Flour, which is totally the best, so I figured it would be fantastic. Here were the ingredients:

Honey Oatmeal Bread Sounded Good

So I soaked the oats, mixed my yeast with some warm liquids, etc, etc. Let it rise. Gently made a loaf. Let it rise. Baked...and I got a weenie little loaf. One that tasted great, but was the general consistency of a brick. I light brick, perhaps.

After a bread break to make delicious oatmeal butterscotch cookies, I came back to try a whole wheat loaf. After doing some research, I came to the conclusion my honey oatmeal bread may have been under-kneaded, so I put some extra time and muscle into the whole wheat. It felt a bit stiff, but I figured that was just all the heartiness. It looked to rise well, I popped it in the oven, and I got a weenie little loaf. Again. My heart broke a little.
Less than an hour later, I came to the conclusion that I used too much flour, and so in a state of crazed anguish, I whipped up another batch. Then, you know, waited the nearly three hour long process of rising and shaping and baking. I got this:

The one on the right is loaf two. It's light, fluffy and has pretty good flavor. Only problem is that it's still only about 3 inches tall. Less than sandwich stature. But it will have to do for now.
Next up: homemade pizza dough.


  1. This is a bread that Peter makes all the time. He mixes the whole wheat flour with the white flour. Wheat flour is denser and doesn't rise as well, unless you're a baking genius, which we are not.
    I'm also partial to the Fig's recipe for pizza dough...if you like flatter crusts, which I do. Todd English is a a complete asshole, but his crust is good.

  2. But I WANNA be a bread genius!!! Harrumph. Will try the recipes and update...

  3. FYI: That is a beautiful pic of you baking it up!