Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TWD Baking with Julia: White Loaves

I am so happy to be finally paying attention to my little food blog. Yes, my food blog may not get as much traffic as other big blogs (a.k.a bligs, out there) but I am happy to keep her going and to have the small following that I have. I am happy to be back with the Tuesdays With Dorie gang and baking up stuff I have never tried before, which brings me to the first challenge, homemade white bread.

I have never made homemade bread before. Sure I have made quick breads like pumpkin and banana bread, but never bread that called for dough hooks, resting, and rising. This was a treat for me and I learned a big lesson over a little thing.  In my rush to bake my bread on a rainy Saturday morning, I failed to check my yeast mixture for foaming and simply tossed it into the dough mixture after ten minutes of sitting.  When my dough failed to rise after 1 1/2 hours and desperate warming up (think griddle),  I tossed it into the trashcan. I wish I had not done that after reading that I could have made some good flatbread out of it! Note to self, make sure yeast has foamed like beer before tossing it into the dough AND never throw away unleavened dough.

On my second attempt to bake this bread on Superbowl Sunday, I made sure that my yeast was good and that it looked like this:
Foamy yeast=good yeast
I also made sure to use a good bread flour. King Arthur Flour always seems to get rave reviews from the baking community. For this one instance, I  fought the urge to use my usual generic flour (which I like a lot) and splurged on the KAF.  I was covering all my bases the second time around.

May need to conduct a flour challenge soon!

 Here are some images from my first homemade bread baking experience.

Nothing like the Kitchen Aid mixer dough hook giving a good beat down! 

Pretty. So soft and smooth. 

Rise and shine. The trick is to let the dough rise long enough to fit the pan. 

Luckily I checked my bread at 30 minutes, because it was perfectly done! Thought it was overdone at first, because the bread felt hard. Upon cooling, it softened. I immediately froze the second loaf a little after it cooled.

Used the other loaf to make my son a PB&J sandwich. Now , that is love!
The bread was fresh and soft.

I would be lying if I said I did not get scared when I added in the softened butter and my dough started looking like it was falling apart! Yes, I know the instructions said this would happen and that the dough would come back together, but after my first run-through, 'what if' played through my mind.  I would also be lying if I said that seeing the simple chemical reaction of yeast acting on sugar happening before my eyes did not always amaze me. I loved seeing the dough rise and rise some more. It is magical. Ah, food science.

I asked my son after  work today how he liked the sandwich I packed him for school. He said he thought it was good. I let him in on the secret that it was made with the homemade bread I had baked.  He was surprised. 

"Mom, I thought it was store-bought bread. It was good!" 

Uh, thanks, son. I think? 

Still, I highly recommend baking your own bread. It is a very satisfying experience. It made the house smell great and is still an easy way to impress your friend, family, and neighbors. 

Thanks, Laurie of Slush and Jules of Someone's in the Kitchen  for hosting this challenge. I loved it! 

Inquiring minds can find the recipe over at their sites or in the book, Baking with Julia, pages 81-82. 
It is a very forgiving dough. I really did not do a good job of rolling it out (eventually I just hand-shaped the rectangle) or folding (did two different folds) it into the pan and it still worked! I also learned that you should let your dough rise at a room temperature of 80F. I turned on the the heat before mixing and allowed the dough to rest on my range near two burners that were on medium high.

Happy Baking!


Jules Someone said...

Those look delicious! I would take the "store bought" comment as a compliment. ;-)

tierneymarie said...

I had the same moment of panic when I added the butter and the dough separated. It didn't matter that I knew it would happen, I still instantly pictured my first attempt at real homemade bread ending in disaster. Congrats to you!

Christy said...

Store bought from a child is definitely a compliment! Your bread looks really beautiful. Looking forward to reading more of your posts through BWJ!

Flourchild said...

Your bread looks wonderful...mine not so!!!

Melanie said...

Your loaves look just gorgeous!! Good idea to splurge on the KAF flour. Its the brand I always use. I just stock up when its on sale. Looking forward to reading your posts w/ BWJ!

Jodie said...

Great job for your first time! And it's good to see you back!

Jamie said...

Your loaves look amazing! I love the comparisons of the two flours - nice work!

Cher Rockwell said...

KAF flour is the absolute best - it's pretty much all I use (I feel bereft if I don't have at least one ten pound bag in the pantry...seriously).
I always love it when the kids give something the thumbs up - that's the ultimate compliment! Sounds like you did good :-)

slush said...

My son grades my baked goods now. And its very rarely an A. I am raising total pastry snobs.

Your bread looks lovely. Fab job.

Jennifer said...

Yeah, my yeast was dead. Definitely dead.

My loaves were not tall and just not like the others....

Your loaves are incredibly beautiful!

Guyla said...

It IS satisfying to make your own bread. King Arthur is my favorite place to get baking stuff. I usually order on the internet, watching for free shipping! If your son said it tasted like store bought bread I think that's high praise indeed!

Pamela said...

It's nice to be back, isn't it? The bread looks wonderful. I was worried about the butter, too. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. Very nice!

Leslie said...

Congrats on such a successful first loaf of bread! It looks amazing. A little tip on the yeast, if you substitute instant yeast for active dry, the temperature of the water and waiting for the yeast to proof are not so important. just use 3/4 as much instant as you would active dry. I love it because it's so forgiving.

Heather said...

Your bread looks fantastic! The butter addition left me a little panicky at first too. I'm glad Dorie added the warning :D

pinkstripes said...

Your loaf looks gorgeous! It's a leap of faith sometimes with baking.

Jen said...

Your bread looked great even before it was baked! You've inspired me to splurge on the King Arthur Bread Flour as well, and good point regarding letting the dough rise in 80 degree temps.

Sara said...

I love your step by step pictures1

Dolores said...

Congratulations on your first foray into bread baking. I'm glad you didn't let some wayward yeast get you down. Your final result looks great. PB&J... yum!

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