I used to be so scared of making bread. The yeast! The kneading! The rising! I did make a couple of loaves a little while back, and while they were delicious, they were pretty ugly. I found this recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread on Erin‘s blog and I really wanted to try it. To avoid a meltdown (I have kitchen rage), I tried 3 tools/tricks to help me out.
1. Candy Thermometer
The water has to be at least 100 degrees before you put the yeast in… the recipe I used said 110 degrees, so I busted out my handy dandy candy thermometer. It takes the guesswork out and if something goes wrong, I know it wasn’t the temperature of my water.
2. Dough Hook
I’m somewhat of a purist with my baking, so I was hesitant to use the dough hook at first, but after my last failed attempt that I chalked up to bad kneading, I decided to try it. It made a HUGE difference. Look at that neat little ball of dough in the bowl! It came with my KitchenAid mixer which I have had for two years and never used the dough hook. Crazy! Thanks to Captain Hook, I’ll be making lots more bread in the near future.
3. A warm oven
I think another thing I did wrong was to not have my dough rise in a warm place. My mom told me to put it on top of the dryer when I was doing laundry… but I wasn’t doing laundry. I remembered Charlotte telling me about turning the oven on the Keep Warm setting and turning it off before I put the dough in to rise. It worked out perfectly!
And thanks to these tools, my bread came out delicious and beautiful.
In other news…
I’ve decided to do my own Movember for the rest of the month! Every day for the rest of November, I am going to MOVE in some way. This can be running, walking, dancing, body-weight strength moves, etc. I’ve been really getting into the spirit of the season with all the baking, knitting, fire-making, etc that I’ve been doing. And that includes hunkering down and being lazy. Luckily I have a 5k on Sunday that’s been getting me out there and running a little bit, but other than that, I’ve been a big lump. Time to get moving!
Anyone else with me for Movember, Hit the Bricks style? Let’s come up with some fun ways to get moving!