My first post! Bread!

Hello!

My dough is currently on top of my oven rising right now. I didn’t really know what I was doing or use a specific recipe, so I’m not expecting my first few loaves to turn out great. But still, I’m excited.

I went to the store and bought unbleached flour and packets of dry active yeast. I think if I end up being a good bread baker, I’m going to get a brick of yeast because it’s a lot cheaper than the packets.

So then I mixed together 2 cups of warm (not hot!) water, 1 1/2 tbsp of table salt and the yeast. Then I added 4 (ish) cups of flour and mixed it together. It was a little too dry so I added more water and mixed again. Now it’s in a bowl covered with just a thin layer of plastic wrap, and has to rise there for 2 hours. I read that after the rise, it’s best to refrigerate the dough for a few hours because it’s easier to work with. I might do this and just bake the bread tomorrow (I also read the longer it sits the better tasting it is).

It’s been almost an hour and I don’t think it’s rising so I’m kind of worried. Eeek!

So for me, I like salty things. And I mean very salty. My favorite meal ever is Panera’s Baked potato soup with their french bread (my favorite bread ever!) with lots and lots of salt. Mmmm so good. So with my bread baking, “A lot like Panera’s” is my goal. I like eating their bread plain, with soup, with green olives (so yummy!) or with a sandwich. When my bread baking is refined, I can’t wait to eat a turkey, cheese, lettuce, red onion and ranch sandwich. Mmm.

Depending on how this bread turns out, I’m thinking about making a sour dough starter. My uncle has tried this, but the dough was gummy and needed a lot of salt– and not just for my tastes– it was weird. I know they take a lot of work–days time as well as feeding the yeast daily. We shall see.

I also can’t decide if I want to bake my bread in the oven or in the crockpot. I found awesome recipes for both, and have found out that the trick for oven-baking bread is to steam it right as the loaf goes in. This is done with ice in a pan under the bread or by throwing water on the oven floor and quickly shutting the door. We shall see.

We are also grilling chicken and asparagus tonight! I am very excited. That’s all for now! I’ll update soon 🙂

UPDATE
So my bread actually rose a lot! Almost twice the original size. I let it sit out for about 2.5 hours and then took about half of it and placed it on a floured piece of foil in my crockpot. Set crockpot on high. Set timer. Sit and wait. We’ll see! I guess this is the test of whether I did things right or if I didn’t.

Anyway, other half went in my fridge to bake maybe tomorrow, or to throw out if the first batch is really bad.

UPDATE #2

My Bread is actually good!!! I am seriously one happy woman. Here’s what I did (mostly so I don’t forget):

Bake in crockpot about an hour and a half, until bread is firm. I didn’t really know if it was done or not here but when I was taking it out a small piece clung to the foil. I tried it and it was good. So then I put it (foil and all) onto a pan in the oven on the broil setting for about 10 or 15 minutes until it’s brown.. I did put a tray of ice under it for steam. We’ll see how this works.

It didn’t rise as much as I thought it would but my dough was really watery to begin with; it spread more out than up, which makes it sort of flat and round but still edible. I am so proud.

The ONE thing I would change for next time is spraying the foil underneath. It stuck to the bottom crust and I had to peel it off. Next time, a little spray of Pam will fix it for sure. And maybe a little less salt. So delicious.

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