Home-Baked Bread

Everyone has some sort of irrational fear, right?  Well, I suppose, that is unless you're not afraid of anything.  Then you would not have any irrational things to be afraid of.  My irrational fear (well, one of them) WAS (note, was, not is!) yeast.  It's not like a, "oh my goodness, it's gonna come get me!" fear -- it's more intimidation.  I was intimidated by yeast.

But I figured that if I'm really gonna be a legitimate home baker/cook, I needed to conquer my fear of yeast and make bread.  And I'm really glad I did.  
JLG made bread in our apartment a couple of times, and it was wonderful.  She also posted this recently, which may or may not have had an influence on my decision to finally try bread.  I found this recipe to try -- wheat bread, especially in combination with honey and/or molasses, is my favorite type of loaf bread.   Well, one of them.  That's known for changing on a whim.  

Anyway, I obviously had to start with yeast.  Nothing like dealing with the scary part first.
And, well, I killed the first batch of yeast.  I was thinking in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit . . . don't ask why.   So, long story short, the water/milk was too hot.  And the yeast didn't do anything.  It was sad.  

But I started over and it bloomed wonderfully.  Hooray.!
Then, I discovered the wonder that is the dough hook on the mixer.  I feel like kneading the dough for 15 minutes by hand could have been an interesting experience, but I approve of the fact that I could just turn the mixer on.   And let it run.  Even if it looked like the mixer was going to get up and walk away while it was running.  Who knew that such a heavy mixer can be rocked by a little dough.

The best part of making bread (besides maybe the smell coming from the oven while it's baking) is watching it rise.  

It started out this size.

I waited.
And ended up this size.
Then I put it into the pan like this.
Let it sit for a while . . . 
And it ended up like this!
I think that's so cool.

The recipe suggests putting oats on the top, and I was really excited (although dubious) when I put it in the oven, because it looked really cool.  But then when I was trying to get it out of the pan, almost all the oats slid right off.  I need to find a way to make them stick more.  Hmmmm . . . 

Anyway, I loved how this bread came out.  It's a little crusty on top, but not too crusty.  And even the toastmaster himself said that it's good toasted.  
Homemade bread is way easier than I thought, and it's going to happen again.  Soon.   Take that, yeast!


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