Friday, February 20, 2009
I am so very, very excited! Yes, I am! This is the first time I have made my own (yeast) bread! Yay! :)
I know, this might not be an exciting thing for many of the baker-bloggers in the food community. I mean, this is a very simple loaf with a very simple recipe. But I am more of a cook than a baker. I am only "trying hard" to conquer my fear of "yeast" baking, which is an "unknown" territory for me. I am so inspired by the many beautiful bread and cakes and pastries by the many great food bloggers out there, that I promised myself, I am going to do this one day. And now, I did!
I followed the exact recipe and exact instructions of "The Bread Book" by Sara Lewis. Fearing that the bread might not come out correctly. I kept watch during the rising time, feeling very relieved seeing the dough rising up bit by bit. I have my heart in my throat all throughout the baking time.
1 and 1/3 C all-purpose flour
2 t caster sugar
1/2 t salt
1 and 3/4 t instant dried yeast
1 T canola oil
1 C warm water
1. Mix the flours, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the oil and gradually mix enough warm water to make the dough soft.
2. Knead well on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. Put in the greased loaf pan.
3. Cover the pan loosely with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes or until dough reaches just above the top of the tin.
4. Remove the clingfilm and bake in a preheated oven, 400F for 25 minutes (small loaf). Check after 15 minutes and cover with foil if overbrowning.
5. Holding the loaf pan with oven gloves, loosen bread with pallete knife. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Being a newbie baker, I do not know what a 1-lb loaf pan is, or a 1 and 1/2 lb loaf pan, or a 2-lb loaf pan. The ingredients in the book are listed according to the final product weight. My only loaf pan is 9 x 5 x 4. Since I do not know what is the corresponding weight of my loaf pan, I opted to use the ingredients for the smallest loaf. I figured that it is safer to have a small loaf inside a big pan rather than to have a big loaf overflowing a small pan. Of course, not much ingredients will be wasted if my bread came out inedible. :)
Yup, my pan is too big for the "1-lb" ingredients. That it why, my bread didn't turn out to shape like a bread loaf! :) I know now that I have to use the "2-lb" ingredients for my loaf pan. Next time, my bread is going to look a lot better! :)
But I promise you, this bread tastes a lot, lot better than the store bought bread! The texture is a bit denser than the store-bought ones, because I used part- whole wheat flour. Besides, the store bought ones incorporate a lot of air, making them softer and fluffier. But we think ours is more flavorful and healthier. Without additives and preservatives, home-made bread is definitely better.
The recipe uses instant dry yeast (not active dry yeast), that is why it does not require the initial immersing in warm water, and can be added directly to dry ingredients. However, it is still a type of dry yeast that needs warm water to be activated.
I sliced the bread with a serrated knife, slathered a side with cream cheese spread, added slices of mushroom and olive lyoner, added slices of tomatoes and lettuce. Yummy and healthy "brown bag" to-go-breakfast for Hubby and kids. This small loaf fed 4 people for 2 breakfasts. Definitely worth the effort!
Guess what? Baking bread is not as hard as I thought. :)
Sharing my first bread with BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread community, launched by Sandy at the Baker's Bench. Sandy and her blog is one of those who inspired me to stop procrastinating and start baking. :)