October 24, 2011

Just Bakin' Some Bread

Over the weekend, I tried my hand at baking bread from scratch, kneading it with my bare hands and everything.  I'm happy to inform you all that it was a success!!  When I added the yeast to the sugar water it foamed up like it was supposed to.  After kneading the initial 10 minutes I let it rise for 2-3 hours until it doubled in size.

After kneading for 10 minutes

After 2 hours

Then gave it the ol' 1, 2 punch and kneaded it another 3 minutes.

Next I shaped them into 2 loaves and let them rise another 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes

Tossed them in the oven for about 40 minutes and VIOLA!  Fresh baked bread!

Whoops, forgot to take a pic before I dug in!!

I'm not sure what I was so afraid of all these years, it was pretty easy peasy.  Since it turned out slightly denser than I would have liked, there are a couple things I will change for the next time, like letting it rise in a larger bowl for a little while longer, and doing the initial kneading a little bit longer.  I was flipping through my Blue Ribbon Baking book and the always lovely Marjorie Johnson was kind enough to offer me a few tips for next time:
  • She likes to let the dough sit in the microwave oven while it's rising.  Close the oven door, but never have the microwave on while its raising.  It's the perfect place to raise dough, no drafts and you can get the temp to 80-85 degrees (the perfect temp) by heating water for 3 minutes and leaving it in the microwave while the dough rises.
  • After the dough has sat for 2-3 hours and doubled in bulk you can test to see if it is ready by poking 2 fingers into the dough.  If the dough has risen enough, it will leave two holes where your fingers have been.  If it closed, than you need to leave it a while longer.
  • The bread is done baking when it reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees.
Smart lady, that Marjorie.  It's no wonder she's won over a thousand blue ribbons with her baking.  This weekend I think I'll give her wheat bread a try.  Mmmmm.

On the knitting front, I was able to complete a sock for my mom's beau, Tom. 

I'm hoping to have the other one done by mid-week.  The nice thing about having this blog is that I can easily keep track of what I've already made and what I still have to do.

Mom - Sweater - DONE!
Tom - 2 Pairs of Socks - .5 down 1.5 to go!
Kenny - 5 Pairs of Socks - 1.75 Down 3.25 to go!
Caroline - Cowl - Have yarn, need to knit
Judy - Fingerless Mittens - Need to buy yarn
Julie - Sweater - Need to buy yarn

Sheesh.  Lots to do!  Good thing there is a 14 hour car ride each way to Tennessee in the very near future for me...