Adventures in Bread Making

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If you keep up with TRB, then you’re well aware of the few things even I find particularly intimidating when it comes to baking. In fact, I listed them in a recent post for Tri-Color Cookies, which were, of course, on that list. Now, I’m proud to say I’ve conquered yet another: yeast!

I suppose it’s important to consider what troubled me about yeast in the first place. The smell? (Ick!) The fact that it’s a living microorganism? (Double ick!) The idea that yeast feeds upon sugar and flour to “grow,” which is actually what makes bread taste yummy? Hmmm, so maybe it was a combination of all of the above. Perhaps, the most intimidating part, though, is the time and effort involved in bread making. 

Thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education and its “One-Day Breads” course, my entire outlook on bread making has changed. Yeast isn’t so scary after all. It just wants to be treated right. Give it some warm water and sugar and keep the salt and cold away, and you’ll have some great-tasting bread in no time. 

During the class, our chef instructor demonstrated how to prepare Cinnamon Raisin Rolls, Challah Bread, Oatmeal Bread, Parmesan Cheese Rolls, Bagels, Butter Bread Rolls, Anadama Bread and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread. Having successfully made the Challah Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Rolls, I can’t wait to try my hand at those Bagels soon. Sure, a professional proofing box would come in super handy at home, but I suppose I can be patient for a delicious outcome. 

*Update: I made the delicious English Muffin Bread (pictured above) recently featured on many baking blogs using a recipe I discovered on Pinterest. I adjusted the ingredients to only make one loaf instead of two, and it’s a good thing I did. This bread is super addictive! Did I mention it’s also super easy to make? Here’s the recipe as I used it. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

English Muffin Bread
(Recipe from Simple Organized Living, adapted by TRB)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet dry active yeast
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. baking soda 
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water

1. Grease a loaf pan and lightly sprinkle with cornmeal to coat bottom and sides. Set pan aside. 

2. In large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, yeast and baking soda; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, water, sugar and salt until just warm. (If you test the mixture with your finger and it feels hot or cold, heat or cool it slightly until it reaches body temperature). Stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Stir in remaining flour. 

3. Place dough in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about 45 minutes to an hour). 

4. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bread from pan. Cool on wire rack. 

What intimidates you about baking? Share your challenges! Post a comment below.

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