the bread.

April 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

a recipe title so masked in intrigue, how could i not try it out? (but let’s be honest, anything with the word “bread” in it is enough to lure me in.)
it has been a while since i’ve baked bread! this recipe was very simple.

adapted from the pioneer woman.

here’s what you need:

4 cups of bread (or all-purpose) flour.

1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of active or instant yeast. (i used active. i added the yeast to the water while preparing the other ingredients to give it a head-start.)

4 ounces (1/2 cup) of melted butter

2 teaspoons of salt + 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. (the recipe says to add spices of your choice. i’ve been on an “onion/garlic is amazing on everything” kick lately, but thyme or rosemary would be equally lovely!)

combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together using a dough hook with a stand-up mixer.

i mixed for about ten minutes… but started running into some trouble…
my dough just wasn’t combining. so i took what i could from the bowl and started kneading by hand.
the goal is to get your dough elastic enough to where you can pull off a piece and stretch until the point where it’s almost translucent, but won’t tear. i kneaded for 20 minutes. yes, 20! it was basically a workout. even after all that kneading, my dough was still a bit fragile, but i decided to let it rest anyways.

* i suspect that i didn’t let the yeast sit in the water long enough before combining ingredients. my advice would be to sprinkle the yeast onto lukewarm water and let it work its magic for about 5 minutes before adding it to the mixture.

cover your dough in plastic wrap and let it rise until it has doubled in size — anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.
as i predicted, my dough was having a hard time rising… so i placed it into a lightly greased pan and let it sit in front of the toaster oven (set on a temp. of about 200 degrees) for three hours.

things you can do while waiting for your dough to rise:
(based on actual events that transpired between 5:15pm and 8:15pm)

– take pictures of your cat!

do you think he looks upset that i woke him up?

– watch an episode of the office!

– get an hour of exercise! (shout-out to fugazi and iggy pop for being amazing workout music.)

– regret not having your inhaler on you!

– get depressed about how out of shape you are! (don’t worry, eating carbs will obviously make it better.)

– accidentally drop your obscenely expensive camera! (thankfully [and somehow] only the USB cord was damaged.)

as you can see, i have all sorts of fun while waiting for bread dough to rise. and before i even had the chance to break something else or almost give myself another heart-attack, the dough was finally ready :)

preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
knead your dough for about a minute so that the yeast can redistribute.
place your dough in a cast iron pan, if you  have one! i ended up using a casserole dish and don’t think it made much of a difference!
lightly coat the dough in olive oil and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.
don’t forget to cut an “x” onto the surface of the bread dough so that it can bloom.

bake for 30 minutes, give or take a few minutes. check on it, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
if you have a thermometer, it can really come in handy. the goal internal temperature for your bread is 200-210 degrees.

and, finally…

fresh out of the oven.

i imagine that heaven smells the way this bread smells.

a simple thing. made with simple ingredients. handmade & homemade.
i don’t think it gets much better than that.

here’s to no broken cameras and doing a lot more baking in the coming weeks :)

happy saturday, everyone,

– d.

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