Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And then there was bread

I have a fear of yeast....and kneading....and of all things bread so when I signed up for Baking with Julia I was definitely a bit light headed when I realized that the very first thing we were suppose to make was white bread. I mean seriously people it was if you looked into my soul and pulled out my worst fear.

If my life was a Harry Potter book then my boggart would take the form of a big bowl of yeast and flour needing to be made into bread....until now. Because I am now proud to say that I have successfully conquered my fear of bread and although I doubt I will do it again (after all good bread is so easy to buy) at least I know that if for some reason I am suddenly transported back to the Little House on the Prairie days, and I am some how able to grab hold of a industrial stand mixer and yank it back in time with me, then I will be able to at least make bread to survive on until Mike kills us a buffalo or something.

As soon as I started reading the recipe I knew that my little hand mixer was not the right tool for this job so I called my friend Kris and borrowed her amazing new stand mixer (which I have taken to calling Scarlett for obvious reasons....and because when you make bread with a stand mixer you tend to bond with it a little).

In went the yeast, the flour, more flour, some salt, a little sugar and then the mixer started to smoke a little (true story) so I immediately turned it off...scowled at it and threatened not to take it back to Little House on the Prairie land with me because it wimped out....and then kneaded it back hand. After a bunch of kneading in went some butter and then more kneading until I had a nice little lump of dough. 

It sits in a warm place, rises, gets smooshed down, folded like a big sticky piece of paper, stuffed into pans, rises and then is baked. And then you have this:


I know it probably should not be so surprising to me that I actually had a loaf of bread after all of this but somehow it was. And it was tasty bread. And the next day it was still tasty when I made it into grilled cheese sandwiches for A's lunch. 

Oh and it turns out that the mixer smoking thing that happened....happened to a lot of the other bakers, nor did it seems to do any damage to the mixer. Next up chocolate tart thingies.

And now on to the small print stuff: Baking with Julia, page 81-82, hosted by Laurie over at Slush and Jules at Someone's in the Kitchen.

Let the madness begin

I have decided to leap on the baking bandwagon (with 300 +/-  other people) and bake my way through the  Baking with Julia cookbook. This means that twice a month I will baking something from the cookbook and posting the results here. What am I hoping to get out of this.....I am not really sure. I have no real aspirations to be anything other than a casual baker of cookies but I guess I am hoping working my way through the book with other bakers will allow me to stretch my apron strings a little and conquer a few fears along the way (can anyone say yeast?).

Hope everyone enjoys the ride because I fear we may be in for a few bumps (or is it lumps?).