When selecting a recipe for something that’s brand new to you and rather intimidating, look for one that meets the following criteria:
- Contains one or more ingredients that you don’t have
- Requires at least one piece of equipment that you don’t own
- References steps that you must google to understand
- Contains vague directions that leave canyon-like interpretation gaps
Or…don’t. Yeah. I decided to make bread for the first time this afternoon. Real bread, rising bread.
And instead of using any number of easy, beginner-friendly recipes I had at my disposal (many of which were provided by you – thank you! They will be used!) I came up with the brilliant idea of planning my yeasty adventure around using up a half-gallon of buttermilk that was slowly dying in the fridge.
Hence: this rather vexing little piece from Allrecipes. Let’s count the reasons why I should have skipped it in favor of something more beginner-friendly:
- I had no “bread flour”
- I own no stand mixer, much less a bread hook
- I didn’t know what “proofing yeast” meant until I googled it
- I had no idea how long bread is supposed to take to rise, and just saying “until it doubles” isn’t all that helpful, Allrecipes
So at least I went into the project with low expectations. Lacking bread flour, I used half all-purpose and half whole wheat. Lacking a bread hook, I made what I imagined were hook-like motions with my wooden spoon until my forearm was about to snap. And lacking any frame of reference for a proper rise, I guessed.
If nothing else, I figured the kneading part would be fun and therapeutic. Today was kind of a crappy day.
And it was. Ahh. Take that, dough. I’m going to strangle you.
As I said, the rising part was a guess. Does that look doubled? It sat in a warm place for over an hour.
Whatever, close enough. Time for a doughy throat-punch.
Blam – right in the gut! That felt good, too.
More theoretical rising. (Another hour. Jesus, bread.) And then some baking.
And in the end? A little on the short side.
But as a runt myself, how can I judge that? It’s tasty enough, and I’ll call it a mild success for my first attempt at bread making.
Next time, I’ll try one of those beginner-bread-maker recipes.
Today’s EAT: By the time the damn bread was done, all I had energy to put together was a salad. A standard Big-Ass Salad:
Arugula, chicken sausage, goat cheese, pine nuts, dried cherries, oil-n-balsamic, and of course a few slices of the shorty bread. (Which is actually really delicious, in spite of its unimpressive stature.)
Today’s DRINK: Zexy zebra bottle…well hello.
Honestly, this La Granja Tempranillo is probably one of the best $5 bottles I’ve had. Velvety smooth. Decently complex. Not too dry. Full-flavored with lots of berries, but not juicy like many uber-cheap reds. I will definitely stock up on this on my next TJ’s run.
Today’s RUN: Rest day. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Today’s QUESTION: How do you unwind after a crappy day? I highly recommend bread making. Even if the end result is mediocre, the kneading and punching along the way are a wonderful outlet for anger!