Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Loaves {TWD ~ Baking With Julia}

See that lovely little loaf of white bread?  I made it.  From scratch! Here's how it happened...

First, I gathered the ingredients. How could these simplistic kitchen basics turn into a crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside loaf of such salty-sweet goodness, I wondered?

I opened Baking With Julia to the recipe for White Loaves, our first Tuesdays With Dorie group baking assignment. 

I followed the instructions laboriously, as in reading them aloud to myself over and over and over again.  I was not about to forget an ingredient or miss a crucial step.  Remember I had never even used the bread hook attachment before!

Adding the salt.  At this moment I felt elated.  It looked like bread dough and smelled like bread dough.  I was really accomplishing something here!  

Elation turned to terror as the mixer strained and groaned trying to knead the dough  for so many minutes. I re-read the instructions again to reassure myself that all was going as written.  My poor mixer started to smell like burning oil.  It was overheating and I knew what must be done...

I was going to have to finish kneading it by hand.  And I did.  For eight. solid. minutes.  It wasn't at all puffy and pliable as I imagined bread dough would be.  In fact, my hands were getting sore and I couldn't imagine anything less than hard as rock being the result of my efforts.

I set the dough aside to rise while I went to pick up the boys from school.

To my utter shock and delight, upon my return the dough had become the soft, pliable ball of yeasty goodness I had earlier envisioned.

I rolled it, and patted it, and pinched it into shape and...

Laid it as gently as a newborn baby into the buttered pans.  In order to get it to rise to the described height I had to heat the oven a bit and set the loaves inside the gently warm oven. This was the longest part of the whole process ~ and I believe in retrospect~ the secret to my success.   I don't know how I thought to do it but I was glad I did.  I will think of it sooner next time since by the time I was ready to bake them it had been four hours from the time I had begun mixing the dough.

Do you realize how delectable the smell of baking bread is in your house?  Trust me, it ranks up there with the best homey smells in the universe.  
At this point I was nervously optimistic.

The crust on my loaves was literally so firm I could knock on it with my knuckles and not make a dent.  This is no wimpy loaf of Wonderbread people.  When I finally cut the first slice of bread a breathless gasp of surprise escaped me.  It had worked!  I had actually baked an incredibly beautiful loaf of bread.

I guess I should have expected no less from Julia and Dorie and their collaborative baking guidance.
My boys gobbled up two slices each while I lightly toasted the heel and slathered salted butter all over it.  Suffice it to say that I will definitely be making more of this bread and will soon try my hand at the whole wheat recipe which comes next in the book.

To find the recipe for WHITE LOAVES please stop by our hostess' blog.
If you would like to join in the baking fun, buy a copy of Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan and bake along with us in two weeks when we make Chocolate Truffle Tarts.
To see how some of the 300+ other bakers' loaves turned out go here and find the links in the comments.




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16 comments:

  1. I love to see all the steps! Wonderful!

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  2. MMMMMMMMMMM......very inspiring to my tummy :)

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  3. I love all your pictures! After reading several of the TWD posts, I feel lucky my KitchenAid didn't overheat.

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  4. I had to smile as I read your post because it's exactly how I felt when I made my bread on Saturday. My mixer rocked violently in a way I'd never seen and the rock-hardness of the crust when it came out of the oven made me wonder what I'd done wrong, but my mixer survived and the bread was absoluetly perfect, just like yours.

    A note for next time: the Kitchen Aid recipe manual booklet says that when kneading a yeast dough with the dough hook you should NEVER go above speed setting 2. I didn't read this until after I'd already made my bread but while I was making it I turned the speed down to 2 several times to get the convulsions to stop and smell to go away. I know that sometimes appliance manuals err on the conservative side, but I think in this case they mean it. At least yours and mine didn't take a swan dive off the counter like some of the other bakers'!

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  5. yes, baking bread smells sooo good! makes it really hard to wait for it to cool once it's out. your loaves look lovely...i relaly liked that this white bread had a real crust.

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  6. Baking bread is one of the most intoxicating kitchen aromas there is. Isn't it amazing how something can feel like a brick one moment and an hour later end up like a pillow? Looking forward to more posts with BWJ.

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  7. OuuUuUUU!!! Look at all that butter!! MmMmMm...

    I had trouble with my mixer as well. The motor started to get really hot, but it pulled through!

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  8. Congrats on your yeasty success! It looks like everything worked splendidly for you.
    Looking forward to more TWD adventures!

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  9. Oh, that was such deliciousness with the bread and the butter. YUM!

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  10. so while visiting liz's blog this morn i noticed, that we noticed the same thing you and i....the phrase "reaching toward spring"....and we both thought enough about it to comment on it...so i just had to pop in and visit your space...and ya want to hear something funny? we have the same kitchen floor tiles, i too, love to make bread and we have the same rolling pin?.....hmmmmm.....i think i might visit more of this space to see what else we might have in common?

    ~simply stork~

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  11. How great! Isn't it a wonderful feeling to successfully bake your first loaf of bread ever??? I can still remember mine and it was amazing! I don't know that I will be making this particular recipe for white bread again and again, but this sure was delicious!

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  12. Your bread looks wonderful! I loved reading through the step by step, sorry your mixer stopped on ya but glad it all turned out in the end! Love your cookbook stand, I need to find one of those. That last photo with the melted butter is just perfect.

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  13. I had a mixing problem as well and my mom said, you should of kneaded it by hand. Oh mom! But in the end the bread was delicious! Your last pix is making me hungry! LOL

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~Grace and peace to you~

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