This is probably going to be anticlimactic for you, but now that I’ve surprised Dave I can tell you – I baked my first loaf of bread yesterday! I also threw away my first raw loaf of bread, too. Dammit. I followed Deb’s recipe for light wheat bread on Smitten Kitchen, and, uh, let’s just say that I’ve still got some learning to do. The condo smells amazing, though!
Here’s why I had to toss my first loaf: apparently you can burn yeast to death. I didn’t know that. I read that I was supposed to proof my active dry yeast in warm water, and I thought, well, why don’t I speed up the process by proofing them in scorchingly hot water? When I tossed the yeast in, they started fizzing wildly, which I thought was a good thing – but it turns out that I was hearing their screams of death. My dough never rose.
Now, the bread tastes fantastic. But it’s a bit dense – I think that the next time I make it, I should let it rise longer (when it rises, bubbles of carbon dioxide are forming in the dough; so the more you allow these bubbles to develop, the lighter your bread will be). Also, I kind of screwed up the technique where you roll it into a spiral before putting it in the pan. The result is that in some places, the pieces have a big spiral-shaped gap on them, which means your hands get messy if you eat anything that can squidge out of those holes.
I would love to get good enough at baking bread that we wouldn’t need to buy it anymore, because it seriously takes no time at all. Even with the first screw-up, I probably only spent 20 minutes actually DOing anything in the kitchen. (Of course, I spent wayyy too much time fretting over my dough as it was rising and castigating myself over having screwed up this iconic food item. “How can you be a good mother when you’re completely inept at baking bread?!” I wailed at myself. But then I got over it and realized that if Britney Spears can be a mother, then I’ll be just fine.)
I’d also like to find a lighter recipe in terms of calories. This guy was dee-lish, but I think each slice has like 150 calories or something. Last night, we fried up some eggs and put them on the bread with basil leaves, sweet peppers, cheese, and balsamic vinegar and it was orgasmically good. And I skipped my morning oatmeal in favor of a slice drizzled with honey. I should probably give the rest to Dave if I want to be able to fit into my wedding dress this July.
What baking failures have you had? Is there anything that you make at home rather than buying premade at the store? (Angela from Oh She Glows does this a lot). And does anyone out there have any bread-making advice for me?