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December 12, 2012 / Mettā Reiki Center

Bread

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It is my baking nemesis. I can make perfect cookies, cakes, puff pastries, but bread is the one thing that eludes me. It has become a vendetta. I must master bread baking!!!

I may be shooting myself in the foot because I’m insisting on using whole wheat flour for at least part of the recipe. And the first attempt, a “super easy” recipe that was pretty much flour, salt, sugar, water, yeast, came out like communion bread. Only worse. It was so incredibly hard to knead that my shoulders were sore the next morning – and that’s coming from someone that carries around a 19 pound wiggle worm all day.

So I regrouped and went back to some scientific research. The last recipe was nasty, I thought, because there was really nothing in it to make it yummy. I looked for a recipe that had a little love in it. Some butter, some almond milk maybe. I found a recipe similar to the cinnamon roll recipe (made with just warmed milk and butter) and decided to try it.

There’s some serious chemistry involved in bread making. The whole yeast thing. So first, the sugar and water, sprinkle yeast on top, stir just a bit.

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Then, the milk. The tip I found in my research said to heat “until warm to touch”. Whatever. No way I’m sticking my finger in a saucepan on a live burner. So I winged that part. I did use almond milk because cows milk causes some major skin problems for me, but otherwise I stuck with the ingredients.

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Once the milk was done, my yeast chemistry experiment was ready! MUAHAHA!

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In to the vat of flour and salt it went. Then comes the kneading.

10 minutes of it.

Helpful hint: don’t start bread making if your toddler is due a nap. It leads to drama. “See, mama, I’m so exhausted I’m going to sleep in this basket of dirty laundry!”

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*sigh*

Once that drama was done, it was time for the first rise. Into the bowl sprayed with cooking spray. We use Smart Balance, but I doubt that makes a difference.

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Punched it down after the first rise, and put it in the loaf pan. Oven fired up to 350. Another thing the recipe said – do NOT let the bread rise above the loaf pan. Kind of reminded me of the “Don’t cross the streams” rule.

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So I didn’t cross the streams – took about 45 minutes to rise, and in the oven it went. I baked the loaf about 40 minutes until it looked pretty and had a “hollow” sound when I thumped it.

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Tada!!!

A little melted butter on top and we were good to go. It really was easier than I thought it would be. And quite tasty.

Here are the ingredients if you’d like to try it:

3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all purpose flour, approximately (I used whole wheat flour for part of this. The “approximate” is because you’ll need flour to dust your kneading surface)

Guten appetit!!!

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