Monday, January 10, 2011

You Know Those Squirrels Trying to Get to the Nuts?

I may or may not have mentioned that I'm on a mission to bake my own yeast bread from scratch. It seems economical! I've had The Bread Bible for ages and never ventured out of the quick breads. When you're being student frugal, are awaiting the arrival of the next freelance job, and have access to the whole new world of food processors, it seems like there's no time like the present. So I jumped in! This is how it went.

Friday, first attempt.
Mixed ingredients, per directed, in food processor. Extracted powdery unmixed blob that I proceeded to try to knead/mix by hand. Set it on the counter in a bowl to rise for the directed "at least 2 hours." Realized after 3 hours of nonrising that I forgot to add the sugar. Ditched dough.

Friday, second attempt.
Got new ingredients. Mixed ingredients, exactly as directed, in same order as specified, in food processor. Dough was proper consistency. Trying to account for potential temperature variables (i.e., cold condo), put dough in unheated oven for rising. Waited approximately 3 hours. No rising whatsoever. Ditched dough. Tested remaining yeast packets. Results inconclusive.

Saturday, third attempt.
Got new ingredients. Mixed ingredients, this time with white flour (whole wheat combo takes much longer to rise). Pretty dough ball. Put in unheated oven to rise. Again, after 3-4 hours, nothing. Read yeast packet. Realized yeast isn't "instant," as called for in recipe, but "fast rising" and requires procedure I didn't follow. Left loaf in unheated oven, figuring I'd throw the damn thing out later.

But lo! I came back hours later to discover . . . risen bread dough!!! It's a post-Christmas miracle!!! So I started at 9:30 pm with the "second rise," and after much waiting, shaping (FUN!), and baking, I had a loaf of very tasty bread. Which I triumphantly tucked into at 1 a.m.

I want to rush right out and do it again. Food processor plus squishy dough is absurdly compelling.

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