Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Daily Bread: Experiments in baking

It's a bit scary. I'm afraid of yeast. I've only ever cooked Hot Cross Buns successfully, and even they were tough and stale by the next morning.
Baking bread is also scary because it feels like a huge investment in time. Weighing, mixing, rising, kneading. Especially kneading.
So I've been working up to a real loaf of bread. I started with tortillas, but that was mostly accident. Do you have a mental inventory of your freezer? You know, a rough idea of what's in there behind the frozen peas...
I thought there was flat bread in the freezer, but there wasn't! And it was 6.30 on Monday night and I really wanted burritos for dinner. How hard could tortillas be?
I used a recipe from Hillbilly Housewife, and it was dead easy. The only issue was cross-cultural - would polenta do instead of cornmeal? I don't know how authentic the result was, but it certainly tasted great.
Exhibit One:My courage bolstered, it was time to find a yeast recipe. Jules at Domestic Goddess in Training posted this recipe for perfect pita, and it was just the thing. There was yeast involved, but no rising time. If I'd pulled them out of the oven two minutes earlier, they may have been perfect. As it was, they were a bit crispy on the bottom. But watching them puff in the oven was awesome!
Exhibit Two:The next week, I saw these awesome Garlic Cheese Twists by Peabody. Garlic, cheese, yeast and a romantic back story, all in one. How could I resist? Ryan came home while I was busy twisting. He asked what we were having for dinner, and I didn't have an answer. But there would be garlic cheese twists!
Exhibit Three:
Oh, hang on, I forgot to take a picture of these. You'll just have to believe that they looked as good as the original.
So now I am on the look out for a simple loaf recipe. I'm happy to knead, but I need to work the rising time around work and dance classes and stuff. Any suggestions gratefully recieved!


Jules said...

Glad to see your beginning to conquer your fear of bread.

I use this recipe for basic white bread and it is yet to fail me. If you don't have a mixer knead it for 10 minutes by hand.

Fearless Kitchen said...

This is funny. Good for you on trying to overcome your fear of yeast bread baking. I too had this kind of reluctance, up until this week when I baked my first real bread ever.