Sunday, March 23, 2008
My first Bread!
I've always wanted to make real yeast bread, but not until recently did the want turn into a craving. Ever since I got that friendship bread starter thing, I have been aching to knead a soft sticky dough. This weekend, I finally got the opportunity I had been waiting for. Though it was completely unplanned, I think this bread-making went rather well.
When we came back from the cross-country skiing place at around three on Saturday, I realized they were a few packets of rapid rise yeast left over from the time I made monkey bread with a friend a long time ago. The packets said "Best if used by Oct 2007", and I decided to see if the eukaryotic fungi were still alive (I'm learning about classification in Biology.) To do this, I heated a cup of milk to a lukewarm temperature stirred half a packet of yeast into it. After 20 minutes, nothing had happened. I added the second half, and in 5 minutes the mixtures was bubbling. Success! Unfortunately, I didn't have a clue as to what to do next. Fortunately, a family friend who knew how to bake bread was with us in Tahoe. This family friend (Laurence) and her family were spending the weekend with us at our cabin. Laurence explained to me that I had to feed the yeast before starting the actual bread. We added 3 tablespoons of flour and a bit of sugar to the milk and yeast and left it to rise for half an hour.
After that amount of time, I combined 3 cups of flour with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and a pinch of salt using my fingers (sticky!) and then added the yeast mixture. Laurence told me to add water until the dough became knead-able. I then took the dough out of the bowl and kneaded it for a while using a "flatten and roll" motion. After that we put it back in the bowl and let it rise for an hour.
When it doubled in size, I kneaded it again, but this time I added 3 table spoons of butter and bi t of flour the maintain the correct dough consistency. Then I shaped the dough into a "twist" (see photo) and 2 small loaves. We let it rise 2 more hours, and when it doubled in size again, we brushed the dough with an egg yolk and cooked it for 30 minutes in a 375 oven.
The bread was delicious. It turned out as a kind of breakfast bread because it was slightly sweet and buttery. I think it tasted best toasted with a bit of jam, and my parents liked it with salted butter. The texture was close to Mexican pan, a light bread with many small bubbles.
I had put little pieces of sugar on the loaves, but I think I should have placed them underneath the egg yolk. They didn't melt or caramelize.
Since I have lots of pics, see them here.