Yesterday I wasn’t feeling so good. Whether it was psychological distress over that damn tick bite, lingering sleep deprivation from sleeping in the wilderness (it always freaks me out a little, so I don’t sleep that well), or just the standard depression of returning to work after a 3-day weekend, I spent the day feeling fatigued, shaky, headache-y, and just generally crappy. So what did I do?
I decided to make bread — the real kind, with yeast and kneading and rising — for the first time.
Yeah, I think I was kind of nuts, too. But here’s the thing: I went grocery shopping and decided that, rather than buying some sandwich loaf that Aussie will inevitably not like (he thinks American breads are too sweet) or an artisan loaf that will inevitably go stale overnight, I would just MAKE some bread. Besides, if I’m going to spend my POINTS on bread, I want it to taste good!
Brilliant, right? Well, it made sense to me!
Thus began the FOUR-HOUR long process. Mixing the dough, letting it rise, kneading the dough, letting it rise, shaping the dough, letting it rise, and then finally, FINALLY baking it! Oh, and then letting it cool. An exercise in patience, clearly!!
It may not have been the very best bread I ever tasted, which was not surprising — in the first bout of kneading, I misread “knead 6-7 minutes” as “knead 6-7 TIMES,” which I suspect is part of the reason it was so dense. And I omitted the sugar, partly because I didn’t have any, and partly because Aussie doesn’t like it. And I cut the recipe by 1/3 so as to make only 2 loaves instead of 3. And I subbed all-purpose flour for bread flour since that’s what I had. Any of these factors could have tweaked the results so as to make a much denser, shorter bread than I expected. Regardless, it was delicious, especially the crust. It sliced into perfect (although small) slices, and it was a really tasty envelope for my turkey and cheese for lunch today!
The lovely loaves.
The inside. You can see how cleanly it sliced, even though it was a bit warm. It is VERY dense, though — not your typical airy white bread!
Add some turkey, cheese, fancy greens, cucumber, Dijoinnaise, and hummus, and you’ve got a really tasty lunch! (PS — Yes, I eat off my family’s heirloom Franciscan ware at work. It’s really nice to your brown-bagged work lunch off a real plate. It makes things so much taste better, and it makes eating while emailing a little more pleasant!)
I’m not posting the recipe here since I didn’t really do it right, so I can’t exactly vouch for results, but if you’re interested, you can find it at Year of Baking.
Even though it was incredibly time consuming, I really enjoyed making this bread. There’s something really magical about mixing flour, salt, yeast, and milk into a gummy mess and somehow turning it into a beautiful, tasty loaf of bread!