In between applying for freelance writing jobs, pwning my cats, and leading my guild on WoW, I’ve still got a little bit of time to work in the kitchen. This makes me happy, because I really do enjoy cooking. For a long time I hated it, and that was because my ex never liked my cooking – he always wanted to go out and waste money. Darren on the other hand likes my cooking and is very appreciative. In return, I love cooking for him. There really is some simple pleasure in keeping your significant other well-fed with nutritious and tasty meals. And if you’re one of my friends on my facebook, you’ve definitely seen the picture that chronicles his eating habits when I am not there.
One of the things that he sometimes mentions is how his mom used to bake bread when he was in school. Since the two of us go through an inordinate amount of bread (a loaf every 2-3 days?), and since he really enjoyed his mom’s home-baked bread, I decided to give baking my own loaf a shot. I did a little bit of research and checked out some recipes, and yesterday at the Superstore we picked up a bottle of Fleischman’s Active Dry Yeast, and at the dollar store we bought a Pyrex loaf pan.
Today I baked my first loaf of bread.
This is the recipe I followed:
- 1c water
- 1T oil
- 2T brown sugar (I used white sugar + a dollop of maple syrup)
- 1 1/4t salt
- 3c whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2t active dry yeast
- Combine ingredients; stir.
- Knead until the dough is smooth and sticky.
- Lightly grease a bowl; cover the bread in the bowl and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours.
- Deflate and knead the dough again, then place it in a greased loaf pan.
- Let dough rise an inch above the rim – it won’t rise much while cooking so make sure it is the desired height (1-2 hours).
- Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, then cover the top with a foil tent and bake for 15 more. You’re supposed to check the temperature, but if you’re me, you’re ghetto and you don’t have a thermometer.
Creating the dough was a lot of fun! I messed up at the very beginning, though. The initial recipe called for instant yeast – or bread machine yeast. In the Superstore I looked over that because dur, I’m not using a bread machine! Seems like that doesn’t matter and that yeast is preferable anyway. You’re supposed to activate the yeast by mixing it with lukewarm water and sugar and stirring it. Yeah. I totally didn’t know anything about that, and I just threw the yeast right in the mix. So with trepidation I waited for it to rise…
Success! A little more than an hour later, I had to knead the bread a second time. I wish I’d gotten a picture – both Darren and Stinky were curious and came into the kitchen to look at the bread as I punched its ass back down into submission. I oiled up the loaf pan with some Pam and left it to rise again…
And then I threw that bitch into the oven. I’ll confess, I didn’t really watch the baking time very closely. And then partially through it, when I decided to put the little foil tent on to keep it from burning, I figured it would be tasty if I buttered the top and added oats to it. Because oats always make bread better. Unfortunately they didn’t adhere to the bread and are easily brushed off as crispy little crumbs – next time I’ll press them in gently before I toss the loaf in the oven, period. Finally, at long last, Darren and I couldn’t wait anymore, and I took the bread out of the oven.
“I want to pick up the loaf and take a huge bite out of it!” Darren exclaimed.
“Don’t be a dumbass, it’s incredibly hot!” I replied. “And besides, I need to take pictures for my blog.”
“You should just let me take a bite out of it, it would be especially funny since it’s hot.”
My husband is a retard. Like I wanted to capture the Kodak moment of him burning the shit out of his mouth after taking a huge bite of fresh out of the oven bread! We waited for me to photograph and document my beautiful first loaf, and then he handed me the bread knife and I cut into that bitch.
Those slices were incredible. We ate them with butter and drizzled with honey. Then later, for dinner, I cooked mooseburgers and we ate them on pieces of this bread with broiled cheese on top. Delicious! It’s very dense and chewy, but also soft and fluffy at the same time. I imagine fixing the yeast issue at the beginning will result in a lighter and fluffier loaf more suitable for sandwiches.
At any rate, this bread was relatively simple to make (it just took time, which is no big deal). It was also very inexpensive – the biggest investment was the bag of flour (a hugeass bag for $7 – we bought it when we moved here in May and haven’t even gone through half of it) and the jar of yeast for $4. The salt, sugar, oil, and of course water were all negligible. We spend $2 on each loaf of bread we buy. I’m not even going to calculate out the savings, but you can tell from those figures alone that it will be substantial if we can transition to my home-baked bread full-time.
I just turned to Darren and asked him, “So how’d my bread taste?”
“I’m going to need more elaboration than that.”
“I really liked it!”
Score! He’s so eloquent.