Bread winner – sort of

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!


24 responses to “Bread winner – sort of

  1. I had a really crappy day yesterday, with a crap cherry on top :(. I am already planning to make some buttermilk rolls tonight and now I’ll be extra sure to take out some anger on the dough :D! Honestly reading blogs helps get my mind off things, yesterday I read Cake vs Pie on hyperbole and 1/2 and that made everything better!

  2. lifeisbeachykeen

    Yesterday the moon must have been aligned wrong, because I had a crappy night too. The day time part was fine, but once I got home it went down hill quickly.

    I usually drink wine, and clean, and that’s exactly what I did last night. My house is looking awfully sparkly today, and my wine bottle is a little less full.

    That bread looks pretty tasty, I am intrigued by this bread making. I must try it soon.

  3. BTW I’m not an expert baker by any means, but I read once (and started doing it myself), that if u grease and flour the pan when you are making bread then when it’s baking it climbs up the side I guess. I don’t know if my breads improved before and after I started doing this but they grow more than yours did during baking and I’m impatient about letting the dough rise so I don’t think I let it rise longer than you did yours.

  4. Funny: when you wrote “Jesus, bread,” I read “Jesus Bread”, as in, it’s rising! From its yeasty death! Ahoy!
    People do say bread baking is therapeutic, but look now, anything that is going to require me to wash dishes in the end is NOT therapy. So, I take walks. Even when it’s cold out. Rainy? That’s why Jesus Bread gave us umbrellas.

    p.s. My parents have a bread maker and they LOVE it. They make several loaves of bread each week, slice ’em and freeze them. You obviously can’t make baguettes and such, but they are satisfied.

  5. bread makers are glorious! i personally don’t like the funky shape they bake the bread into but they have a dough setting so i use that to bypass the mixing part of handmade breaking-making (since i don’t have a standmixer) and also it does some of the rising- the dough cycle usu only lasts 1.5hrs then i take out the dough and let it rise another 30mins then bake it in my own pans in the oven! okay i’ll stop writing comments now :D!

  6. That looks good – and fun! I think I need to try bread-making after a crap day. This week I watched crap Bravo reality shows instead. I do find that going to Bikram yoga at night is a great at reducing stress too.

  7. did you just quote BONE THUGS and skee-lo in the same post?? I ♥ you. I am “balling” with laughter.

    Oh, and congratulations on your bread.

  8. Yeah I nearly choked on my oatmeal with laughter at the “I wish I was a little bit taller” picture. One of my all time favorites and appropriate for so many things. Congrats on ‘bread’!

  9. Hey looks like a loaf a bread to me, probably better than I could have done!

  10. How do you unwind after a crappy day?

    Crack. or meth.

    Though bread sounds deeliteful too. 😉 (Yet another win for MS paint.)

  11. kapow indeed. i think that if everyone in the world made bread then there would be world peace 😉 and saw your MS paintings. love it

  12. Hilarious 🙂 Love the pictures! I think it looks great!!! Bread is kind of a toughie to do. Definitely not how I would unwind after a cruddy day, but like you, I’m not patient enough for bread all too often 🙂

  13. Vod. Ka.

  14. Awesome! I always kill the yeast. 😦

  15. 1) you are 1 step ahead of my brother who decided he was going to make bread for the first time, without a recipe at all.
    2) bread rising tip, let it rise in a square plastic container with a rubber band around the outside marking the starting level. Then you’ll know when it’s doubled.
    3) we’re big fans of the zebra bottle, it’s way better than the pig bottle.

  16. My mom always let me punch the dough when it was in the rising process.
    And so began my development of passive aggressive behavior… taking all my anger out on inanimate objects…

    • I have a poor stuffed animal that’s been hurled against the wall more than a few times. Inanimate objects > actual people. You do what you’ve gotta do…

  17. We LOVE Tempranillo at our house 🙂 To unwind – some time alone, a run, a hot soak in a tub, a glass of wine, a book. I may have to try the bread making thing!

  18. Go check out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from the library. You get really good bread without kneading, a stand mixer, bread machine, etc. You can even use all-purpose flour.

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