Friday, January 6, 2012

More Goal Than Resolution

I'm not much for making New Year's resolutions.

There are two things that I have determined I want to do this year though. Two goals that I have set.

One of the goals, actually I should call it a deep desire, or maybe even a longing. I long to learn the art of bread making!

I have tried to make bread in the past.

It has not turned out well!

Before I go any further, I'm just going to say that anyone who is gluten intolerant, or is a strict carb counter, may want to skip this blog post. I won't be offended, but I am going to talk about bread. Bread, bread and more bread. I'm just sayin'!

Like I said, I've tried making bread in the past. It has not turned out well.

I am not an Iron Chef mind you, but cooking I can do. I can follow a recipe, have a meal turn out well and feel satisfied with my efforts.


I'm also no pastry chef, but I can follow a recipe, have it turn out well and again feel satisfied with my efforts!


But the wonderful art of bread making eludes me. My bread never turns out quite the way I think it should. It's density is off. The flavor is never quite what I hope for. It makes me want to cry a little. Because I love fresh baked bread!

I love a crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside French baguette, with chocolate mousse!

I love a soft and airy Italian loaf with a wonderful olive oil for dipping.

I love a big ol' loaf of rye bread, like my friend makes, that melts in the mouth.


Eh hem.

My hope is to learn the art of bread making this year!

I began with English Muffin bread. I have a friend who made a loaf of English Muffin bread for me once and it was very good. I decided to give it a try because my friend said it was easy to make. 

I thought it was a good idea to start with easy! Plus I had tried to make this bread right after my friend made it for me and it actually turned out well. I thought starting with a success would be a good idea. A little encouragement to keep trying!

Start by greasing two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans and lightly sprinkle with cornmeal to coat pans.

Combine 3 cups of flour, 2 packages of yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan heat, while stirring, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until warm. (120˚ F)

Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture stirring with a wooden spoon.

Stir in 3 more cups of flour. Divide dough in half. Place dough in pans. Sprinkle tops of bread dough with cornmeal.

Cover bread and let rise to about double in size. About 45 minutes.

I placed my loaves in the oven with the light on for warmth. Yep, that's my dirty oven. Sorry!

Once dough has risen, (Oh that looks nice!)

bake at 400˚ for 25 minutes. 

Remove bread from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Lookin' good!

Slice, toast, (you'll want to toast English Muffin bread!) and top with yummy jam or jelly. Or honey! 

Woohoo, success! I'm off to a good start! 

The bread is excellent. The Family likes it, always a good sign, now I just have to get over the urge to quit while I'm ahead and have learned to make one kind of bread well!


Kind of.


I'll keep you posted!


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