My first attempt baking bread on my own has successfully motivated me to continue practicing. I actually enjoyed the hours spent anticipating whether the bread was gonna take me down to happy sandwich town or make me angry cry. My usual affirmation is: leave the baking to the wifey. She enjoys it after all and has produced incredible baked goods such as English Muffins, Honey Wheat Loafs, Cinnamon Rolls, Rustic French Loafs, and my personal favorite Parker Rolls. A few days ago she decided to post her bread machine, that’s been sitting dormant down cellar for over a year now, for sale on Craigslist. After several days of no bites, she suddenly was dusting the machine off and deciding she wanted to bake with it again. She opened her bread machine recipe book, added in all the ingredients, set the timer, and announced we’d be waking up to the aroma of fresh baked bread. Alas, it was not to be. The bread machine produced a rock solid mini mountain of rye flour and caraway seeds, that I teasingly refer to as “nubbin bread”. I could tell she was trying to hide her bitter disappointment but there was a reason that bread machine was moved down cellar. With a morning filled with corporate bla di bla ahead of her, she didn’t have time for a do over, but I did.
Since I wasn’t heading out to weed and put up row covers with a friend until 10:30, I volunteered to bake a second loaf. I received a very warranted stare of skepticism but I jumped on Google anyway to quickly find a recipe to follow.
Normally, recipes are something I read through as research and then venture off into my kitchen to do my own thing based on intuition and flavor. Baking does not allow such freedoms however. So I meticulously read through the King Author recipe twice. Then at the end of the article, I found all these helpful little hints and tips. Great, as I felt in need of advice! What was tip numero uno?
“Rye bread is very difficult so beginning bakers, please try a simpler loaf first.”
Yes! Finally a bit of the recipe I didn’t have to follow! Undeterred by King Author’s insistence that I was quite out of my league, I gathered all the ingredients, figured out how to work the stand mixer, and set out on my first baking adventure. I painstakingly measured out exactly as instructed and followed directions with determined blind faith.
The bread turned out delicious!
The only hiccup I encountered was my cast iron loaf pan is slightly under seasoned and so the bread stuck to the sides a bit. I had to squish it somewhat to get it out of the pan, which made the loaf a little less gorgeous but in no way disappointed me in the results I achieved. For my first time baking bread, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out but I’ll definitely be seasoning that pan more before baking a second loaf.