Here goes the start of my bread making journey. I started by doing research on the internet about flour, yeast, kneading. I found some good basic tips for making bread here. I also thought it would be a good idea to read up a bit on yeast as well, and I did that here. I am following the recipe pretty much, the only changes I have made is changing butter for margarine and regular milk for lactose free milk (to accommodate having a wonderful lactose intolerance). You can find my recipe here.
I started by “activating” my yeast in a mixture of warm water and sugar. I learned that if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and you will get no rise out of your bread. Your water should be around 41-46 degrees Celsius. I didn’t measure the temperature of my water, but after 10 minutes of letting it sit, it looked pretty disgusting, so I think it is working!
This is what the yeast looked like before it sat for 10 minutes.
And after 10 minutes, it got sufficiently foamy and rather gross looking.
I then mixed in the remaining ingredients and mixed around with my trusty wooden spoon! 🙂 Then I turned my dough out on the floured counter and kneaded it for 10 minutes. I have included a video of me kneading the bread. I watched this video to give me an idea of how to knead bread. I tried to follow the suggestions in the video the best that I could; however, I found it hard to not use my fingers and as you can see, I just did. I also had to flour my counter and my hands a few times. But the recipe called for about 5 1/2 cups of flour and I only ended up using about 4 3/4, so you can see they leave some wiggle room in the recipe. After I had kneaded for 10 minutes, I sprayed the bottom of my bowl with cooking spray, as well as the top of the dough. The recipe said to cover the bowl with parchment and a tea towel. I didn’t have parchment so I just used plastic wrap, I thought it would be able to keep the breeze off the dough better anyway.
Well, since the dough has to rise for an hour, I guess I have plenty of time to do laundry. 😦
I checked my dough and it was more than doubled after 50 minutes, so I punched it down, turned it out onto a floured surface and cut it in half.
To shape the dough, I watched this video. Then I covered them with the plastic wrap and a tea towel to rest for 10 minutes. While they were rising, I preheated my oven and moved my racks, since the recipe said to cook on the lowest rack. In order to do this, I had to take one rack out for the bread. It said that the top of the loaf should sit about the middle of your oven.
After rising for another hour and baking for 25 minutes, I had a finished product.
The bread did not rise over the sides of the loaf pan, so it was a little short. After doing some research, I learned that the pan I used was too big. I used a pan that is supposed to be used for banana breads. It is supposed to be a smaller pan for yeast breads. Live and learn. I guess I will have to go shopping before I make bread again!
Thanks for reading, it’s been a slice!