One would think that nothing can go wrong if your recipe just tells you to add a certain amount of water, knead it and stick it in the oven, right? Well, I can assure you, I can find a way to mess that up! Still, out of all that mess I managed to create my first bread since the start of my project. I haven’t completed a goal by doing this though, since my goal is as follows:
No. 68: Bake 3 different kinds of bread.
Why three, you ask? Well, I used to bake my own breads from time to time a few years ago. I loved it! The smell, the taste, the freshness. But it’s kind of a hassle, kneading dough until your hands are numb and letting it rise for ages. This would be quite alright if bread were something you eat at night. But before breakfast I just don’t feel like having a complete workout first and then wait for a couple of hours before I can eat. And I don’t have a bread machine to do all the work for me. Oh yeah, and I’m tired all the time, which also doesn’t help.
Still, I missed the smell and the flavor of some freshly home-made bread. I wanted to find out a way to incorporate home-made bread into my life. And because an activity has to be done multiple times to let it become a routine or a habit, I wanted to bake bread three times.
Of course I wanted to make this task as easy as possible for me. So last week I went to the bakery and bought three mixtures of bread dough and some toppings. Everything is in the mixtures already: the flour, the yeast, the seeds or whatever you like to have in your bread. Just add water, knead and bake.
Easy-peasy, right? Well, at least that’s what I thought when I decided to bake the first bread two days ago. After adding the water, I thought that the dough was a bit dry. And then it hit me. I weight the water and the measuring cup. I think I forgot to put my head on when I was weighing the water. No harm done though, adding more water is simple right?
Just put the same amount of water in your measuring cup as before, add this in a bowl that’s on the scale and add water until it’s the right weight. Then add this to your dough… only to come to the conclusion that there was already water in there of course! *Face palm*
This was a true disaster. Now I had actually to much water in my bowl! My dough was swimming around in the bowl, as was my brain in my head. I turned on my math mode (which I should have done right from the start) and calculated how much water I had to get rid of. I tried transferring the floating dough ball into another container. I got rid of some water, but not enough. The dough had actually absorbed too much water already. Sigh. I tried squeezing the dough like a wet towel (yes, really), which didn’t go very well. Yet I managed to get rid of some more water. My dough was still too wet though.
It looked awful and kneading was not possible at all. So I decided just to add some flour and hope I would not ruin the recipe. I mean, I couldn’t ruin it more than I had already did, right? I must say, I had thought of throwing the stuff away completely and start over with another mixture, but that would be such a waste.
After this disastrous adventure, I had to knead it and let it rise in the oven on body temperature. So I opened my kitchen cabinet to get the baking paper, only to discover there was no baking paper! And Ruud had just come home from the store…
I could cry, really. Murphy’s Law was really trying to ruin my day. While Ruud rushed back to the store, I kept on kneading, and kneading, and kneading some more. Because once you stop, you have to let it rise. I kneaded for so long, I probably created the fluffiest dough ever. It really paid off, look how much my dough grew after rising!
I had to knead it again and let or rise some more, untill I had a huge-ass giant bread. I put some pumpkin seeds on it, because I like those on breads (which all fell of immediately after baking though) and put the bread in the oven. Twenty-five minutes later, this was the result:
Don’t you think it looks pretty? I was amazed by the perfect golden crust and I loved how the shape looked so natural, compared to all these same-shaped supermarket breads.
By this time, it was already a bit late for lunch, but Ruud and I had managed to stall eating until the bread was done. Ruud had bought all kinds of special spreads for our bread earlier that day, like goat cheese (for me!) and Munster cheese (for him!). It was delicious!
We managed to eat 2/3 of the bread in one sitting (and here I was, thinking that home-made bread would be healthy and all). The next day, it still tasted so fresh. Omnomnom!
My other two mixes are already waiting in my kitchen cabinet. I will probably bake my second bread in the next few weeks. I promise I will make sure to add the proper amount of water from the start next time. I also pinned a lot of nice bread recipes in the past few days. So who knows what I might be baking next!
Do you have any bread adventures yourself? (Please, tell me I’m not the only one.)