Category Archives: Major Learning Project

Learning Project Conclusion

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Over the course of the semester, I have learned so much about making bread and working with yeast!  Whats even better, is that I got to eat a lot of delicious bread while doing it!  If it wasn’t for ECMP 355, I never would have been able to complete a project like this.  Being able to pass off something you actually enjoy as homework – now that’s something I could get on board with!

I started out with some basics: white bread, buns, etc.  I found that recipes differ very much from each other and it is important which recipe you chose.  Then I moved into recipes that required a bit more difficulty.  Then, nearing the end of the semester, when I circled back to the beginning of my journey and remade some of the basics, I was way more successful.  I think this for 2 reasons.  Number one, the recipes I used definitely had an impact on how my baking turned out.  Number two, I took more time and also had more practice when doing things such as shaping my buns.  I also got more comfortable with manipulating recipes and making changes based on what I desired.

This learning project has benefited me greatly.  I am the kind of person who thinks most things that are bought in the grocery store can be made at home.  I like having the freedom to do this because I know exactly what is going into it and in turn, what is going into my body.  In the past, I have made things like homemade granola, granola bars, pizza pops, etc.  This has allowed me to expand what I can do at home.  I also learned that real, homemade bread does not last nearly as long on the counter as store bought bread does!

This newly acquired skill is something I am going to use throughout the rest of my life.  I am happy I had the opportunity to expand my learning in this area.  I didn’t even realize what a valuable tool the internet could be for learning a new skill.  I learned it only takes a few minutes to Google what you are looking for, a few minutes to read it, however, it may take me a little longer than that to master it.

Thanks ECMP 355 for the opportunity!

Thanks for reading; it’s been a slice!

2833701232_68d92f7b3aIn the future I hope to get a stand mixer than will knead the bread for me. Sigh. Maybe after I job…

Photo Credit: Joyful Abode via Compfight cc

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Ooey-Gooey Goodness

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This week for my learning project, I made homemade cinnamon buns.  I chose this recipe because it was a no knead recipe, which I was really excited to try.  After reading the comments, I also read up about tips for making these cinnamon buns – I found these tips very helpful!  First of all, I mixed oil, milk and sugar in my large stockpot and then let it cool for an hour.  After an hour, I added flour and yeast and put the lid on to let the yeast work for an hour.

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This is what my dough looked like after rising for one hour – very moist dough.  I added another half a cup of flour and some other ingredients, stirred, and the dough was ready to go!  I loved how easy the making of the dough was!  Certainly the easiest this far!  I rolled out the dough in a large rectangle, and covered in the one cup of melted butter.

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After putting the butter on, I mixed the white sugar and a lot of cinnamon and incorporated it with the butter.

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I grabbed the edge of the long side and rolled the dough into a log.  Now this was a real struggle.  There was way to much butter and so they dough was too heavy for me to be able to pull up and wrap.  Next time, I would cut the amount of butter in half.  Not that we don’t all love butter, but this is what was left on my counter after I got the cinnamon rolls cut and into my pan.

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The recipe made 15 rolls, I made one pan and a small pan with just a few.

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The cinnamon buns were so simple!  I forgot to take a picture before I iced them, so this is all I have for the finished product.  They turned out very light, fluffy and delicious.  I have a new favourite cinnamon roll recipe!

Thanks for reading! Its been a slice!

A Little Slice of Heaven

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For my learning project this week, I decided to expand my learning of bread and made cinnamon raisin bread!  I used this recipe and of course, made a few of my own modifications.  The first thing I did was do some research on the internet about what kind of raisins would work best in my bread.  I found this website, which indicated that raisins were my best option for baking.  Since it also had golden raisins listed below, I decided by just saying ‘raisins,’ they meant sultana raisins.  So after stocking up on raisins, I also found a tip that said if you soak your raisins, they will be juicier, so I did this the night before and then stored them in a Tupperware container.

Once thing I did differently from the recipe, was add the raisins into my liquid batter before I added any flour.  The recipe called for the raisins to put in after rolling out the dough, but I thought they would distribute more evenly if I mixed them in ahead of time.  I also wanted to add the cinnamon at this stage, but I forgot, so I swirled it in after rolling out the dough.  I brushed the top of the loaf with egg wash – the recipe called for oil, but I thought that would be really greasy.

As usual, I cooked my bread on the lowest rack.  This bread however, after a bit, I started smelling something burnt.  I took the bread out 13 minutes before the cooking time was up and the half of the bottom that was at the back of the oven had started to get a little dark.  I didn’t even notice this when eating the bread, so no big deal.

The bread turned out delicious.

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Thanks for reading; it’s been a slice!

Practice Makes Perfect

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So after my redo on dinner buns went so well, I wanted to re try my hand at making plain white bread in hopes that I could improve it as well!  First of all, I chose a recipe that was for a simple butter crust bread.  I mean, ‘butter crust’ bread – what could be better?!  After choosing this as my recipe, I decided I needed to research a bit about making the perfect loaf of white bread.  I found some helpful tips for baking on Epicure’s website.  I also found a tip that said to cook on the lowest rack of your oven.  So I set off on the challenge of beating myself for the first time.

After mixing, proofing, shaping, and proofing my dough I put it in the oven to bake.  I liked the recipes tips for covering with tin foil halfway through so the top does not brown to much – this was a great tip and something I certainly needed.  After baking, I brushed the tops of the loaves with butter.

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The bread came out of the oven looking much more ‘loafy’ than the first ones I created.  I’m not sure if this has to do with the recipe I used, or if I’ve gotten better with working with yeast.  One thing I did learn, after brushing the tops with butter and letting them cool, the tops deflated in spots.  After reading a bit, this is due to over-rising.  So I am now aware that I need to watch my bread as it rises to stop it when it is ready, instead of just leaving it and walking away.

Thanks for reading, its been a slice!

Just Gotta Roll With the Punches

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Welcome to round two!!!  When I first attempted to make homemade dinner rolls the end result was OK, but not what I had expected.

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As you can see, my rolls varied in size and they were not rolled into uniform balls.  When they were baked, they were a dense bread and got slightly dry even after the first day.  I decided for my learning this week, I needed to try again.

I started by searching for a recipe.  Recipe searching is not an easy process for me; on average, it takes me about 3 hours to find a recipe to make.  So after all my searching I came right back to the recipe that I used to make the crescent rolls.  If your interested, you can check out the past blog post here.  I used the same recipe, but I found it on a different site.  You can find the recipe I used here.  However, I didn’t want to make the crescent shape again.  Since I have gained a bit of confidence in my bread making, I decided to make the same recipe, but into a round bun shape instead.  So I reviewed this youtube video, to assist me in the shaping.  I used a few pieces of dough to practice my technique and I discovered I needed to keep my hand closed up tighter in order to get the balls into the right shape.  After working away at this for a bit, I got the product I was looking for!

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I got round, uniform balls of dough.  The recipe suggested a baking time of 13-17 minutes for the crescent rolls.  I started out with the rolls being in the oven for 15 and then rotated my pan and cooked for another 3 minutes, for a total time of 18 minutes.

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The rolls ended up as light and fluffy as I could have ever wanted.  I am very happy with my rolls the second time around!  I couldn’t be happier with the improvement I have made!

Thanks for reading; It’s been a slice!

They’re Toast as Far as I’m Concerned

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This weekend, for my learning project, I decided to attempt breadsticks.  I chose this recipe for Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks.  The dough was easy enough, kind of followed the guidelines of a pizza dough.  After the dough had risen, I punched it down and cut it into two halves.  I rolled each half into a rectangle and sliced the short side with a pizza cutter.  I rubbed roasted garlic on each one and smothered them in butter.  After cutting them, I decided to twist them a bit.  This recipe did not have the breadsticks rising again, so I popped them into the oven.

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The breadsticks turned out alright.  I wish they had flavour kneaded into the bread just to give them a bit more flavour.  Also, these were quite dense and had a lot of crunch on the bottom.  I was honestly a little disappointed by these breadsticks and I will try a different recipe and some different methods next time.

Thanks for reading – it’s been a slice!

Just Loafing Around

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After having my rolls turn out so well, I decided to keep on trucking on and try my luck with french bread.  Garlic/Cheese bread is a favorite in my house, so I thought it would be awesome if I could learn to make the bread!  I found a recipe after looking through pintrest.  I chose this recipe because I liked that it made two loaves.  I found some of the ingredients to be weird…I have read a lot of recipes since I started this project and no bread recipes have ever had vinegar in them, but I just decided to go with it!  I had no problem following the recipe and making the dough.  I am getting some serious muscles from kneading all this bread – even though I have a stand mixer at my parents house, hopefully my mom will bring it for me this week!  After letting the dough rise (it pretty much tripled in size) I punched it down and divided it into two portions.  I had no clue how to shape french bread, so I used this website to give some instructions.  I also decided to supplement with a youtube video.  I also learned a helpful tip from this video, that you know your dough it ready to work with if you stick your finger in it and it doesn’t spring back up – I tested it out on this recipe and it worked excellent.  Both yielded different techniques and so I used one on each loaf since my recipe produced two.  I found no real difference in either method, nor did I prefer one more than the other.  After allowing my bread to rise for another hour, I basted an egg over top of it and put some slices into the top.  I found that it was incredibly hard to slice the bread and realized I was supposed to do it after shaping, before allowing the second rise.  Isn’t hindsight great!  I baked the loaves for 20 minutes then I rotated the pan and allowed another three minutes for the one that was at the front of the oven to brown.

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I was very happy with the way these turned out.  They are huge – I wasn’t expecting this big, so I cut them in half before freezing.  Will definitely make this recipe again.

Thanks for reading! Its been a slice!