Bread, bread, bread, bread, bread!

I am craving bread something fierce and have absolutely no desire to leave the house to go grocery shopping.

I’ve been thinking about making bread for awhile now, but haven’t really done so since Charlesford went into hibernation back in the summer.

I’ve also been considering the idea of making a new sourdough starter, but they seem to grow exponentially and we really don’t eat that much bread. The idea of bread starter in general is also an attractive thought, but it would take up valuable real estate in our refridgerator, of which we already have issues due to CSA veggies being stored on a continual basis.

Don’t tell The Hubbs, but perhaps I just need a second fridge? I kid. ;)

Anyhow, I do love fresh bread. I can’t imagine there are very many people in the world that don’t love the smell & taste of a warm loaf of bread, fresh from the oven. The problem is finding a really good and really reliable recipe for a loaf of bread. I’m not talking quickbreads here, I’m talking about a loaf of bread, made with yeast… and to be honest, I know it’s a lot to ask: but something that doesn’t take hours to make would also be nice.

With all those criteria in mind, I did manage to find a recipe for what I am hoping will be a decent loaf of bread. It’s from the King Arthur Flour website. I’ve never tried their recipes before and I have my fingers crossed that this first-time loaf will be acceptable. I admit for my first-go, I probably should have let the dough rise a little longer and in a warmer place, before baking it off, but I was seriously impatient for this loaf to go into the oven. Speaking of ovens, I baked the loaf in my little oven and I am still unsure as to its success in the long run — I worry that such a small oven will result in baked goods which will become burnt on top and uncooked in the middle given its close proximity to the heating elements.

So how did the loaf turn out? Well, it’s not my prettiest loaf of bread, I can say that much — as to how it tastes, I don’t know yet as I’m still waiting for the bread to cool before cutting it. I could cut a slice now, but I don’t want the bread to squish and tear because of my impatience. Ideally, you’re supposed to wait at least an hour for the bread to set properly and to get the best flavour, so that is what I am attempting to do… wait… then spread with softened butter… to be honest, I don’t have much faith that I am going to be able to wait that long.

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English Muffin Toasting Bread — from King Arthur Flour website

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil
cornmeal (to sprinkle in pan)

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the milk, water, and oil and heat to between 120°F and 130°F.
Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat at high speed for 1 minute. Dough will be very soft.
Lightly grease a loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom & sides with cornmeal.
Scoop the dough into pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
Cover the pan and let dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake the bread for 22-27 mins, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn out pan onto a rack to cool.
Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

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