Home Made Bread
So what to do on a rainy day? Señora Foodblog and I decided to take Christmas easy this yr, due to our recent wedding and all the time spent with the fam. So what to do on a rainy day? I know, it's bread-making time. I have never made bread, but with our recent gift of a food processor things were looking up along with my confidence. Bread has always seemed to far out for me to attempt. I think, like most people, that to make bread takes some sort of special power not possessed by common man. The whole yeast, chemistry thing is kind of scary. I have made beer before which also involves the yeast thing, so I figured with the help of the food processor, what the heck, lets give the bread making a try.
My friend, the Fin, told me that it's all about stretching the gluten in the dough, but without breaking them. OK, that sounds simple...I guess? I set up my processor and began my yeast mixer, warm water, milk and a sugar with the yeast sprinkled over it. According to the recipe, the yeast should sit for about 10 mins and have a nice foamy top when you add it to the flour mixture already in the food processor. Things began to get interesting about this time. As I added the yeast slurry to the flour, the flour began to combine into small sticky balls. The instructions tell me to continue adding the liquid until the flour forms into a one ball which no longer sticks to the side of the processor. Well, it didn't work out like that. I guess I added to much water, while the dough did form a ball, it still was very sticky. Calling the Fin for advice, he tells me to get the dough out of the processor and just roll it a few times on a floured cutting board. Good advice and it worked. I began to roll out the dough, which came together nicely, but while trying not to over handle and break the glutens. Apparently, if you play with the dough too much, it will not rise correctly and will be hard like a hockey puck.
After letting the worked dough sit for an hr and rise a little, I again work a few for folds into the dough and set it aside for it's final rise, which takes about 40 mins. My oven is preheated to 325 degrees. The bread takes about 20 mins to cook or until its golden brown on top. My house smelled amazing. The smell reminded me of my mothers home-made-bread; when I was just a little boy, growing up in jolly old England.
My final product turned out just great. The bread didn't rise as much as it possibly could have, this could be due to the low protein content of the flour and/or the humid, rainy day. Señora Foodblog had forbidden me to cook much bread, she tells me that it's too much of a temptation to just sit and eat it all at once. Man, I just love hot bread, smeared with butter and orange marmalade.