Oh man, talk about a smell you wish your kitchen always had.
I find a lot of things, both in and out of the kitchen, to be rewarding. Doing the dishes is nice because at the end, you've accomplished something. I mopped the other night and felt amazing because it was just so CLEAN and smelled so NICE. That was because of the vinegar. Did your parents clean with vinegar? I think that's a difference between people who walk in a kitchen after a cleaning spree and go "smells awesome!" and people who don't.
Those of us who think it's nice remember the spray bottle of vinegar/water that was around for counter tops.
Anyway. I've been wanting to do something especially rewarding for a few days now - make bread! So I did just that today. I've probably mentioned that I've been working on getting over my yeast-fear and this really helped with that. I used Julia Child's white bread recipe because, well, it's Julia!
I tackled my task with a smile and later, multiple hours spent making jewelry later, I was pleased to have two delicious loaves of delicious warm bread in my kitchen. Between my roommates and I, we killed more than half the first loaf and some butter and milk. A bread dinner is a winner, in my book.
This is why could never ever be on the Atkin's diet, even if it does forgive bacon.
Julia Child's White Bread
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 TBS active dry yeast
- 1 TBS sugar
- 7 cups flour
- pinch salt (one teaspoon if butter is unsalted)
- 7 TBS butter, softened (mine was salted, thus the pinch of salt rather than a teaspoon)
You'll want to pour a half cup of hot water in a bowl and add in the yeast and sugar, then mix until foamy (ish, mine never got super foamy) and then let sit for about five minutes. It'll look creamy but if you are really uncertain, it'll be okay. Mine turned out and I was a little nervous. I believe in you!
Now, mix the yeast mixture, the rest of the water, and 3 1/2 cups flour together. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, good for you! If you don't, well, pretend your arms are a dough hook. 'Cause for now? They are. Mix until blended, then add the rest of the flour. When it comes together, add the salt and then keep mixing until smooth and elastic.
Now, add one tablespoon of butter at a time and mix mix mix. It might come apart, but that's okay, it'll work out okay. I kneaded the hell out of this in the bowl and once all the butter was in and it was still nicely together, I kneaded it more on a floured surface until it was back to the smooth elasticity that it had been before. I lightly oiled the bowl and lovingly placed the bread in it, turned to have the whole thing oiled, and then covered with a cloth and left it on the counter for about forty-five minutes.
"Rise," I said to it sweetly, "so help me, you will rise."
Once it is doubled in size, come in and punch that sucker back down (sweetly).
I then lightly oiled my bread pan and another circle pan, in preperation.
I shaped a loaf out of one of them, rolling and folding and then pinching it together and putting the sealed bit at the bottom of the pan. Then I made a bunch of rolls out of the other and put them in the other pan.
Re-cover, re-abandon for about forty-five minutes until they have doubled. You can do as I did and whisk an egg white with some water ferociously for a moment and then brushing the tops of the loaves.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good.
But...would it continue to do as I wished?
(yes. yes it would.)
Place in a 375 F oven for about 30-40 minutes. The tops will be so golden delicious and tapping the loaf will get you a sort of hollow-y sound. Sort of. I think. I get concerned.
Turn out of the pans and place on a cooling rack. Devour and enjoy! This is absolutely insanely delicious and I can NOT wait to do variations. Oh, yeast. I can't believe I spent so long being afraid of you!
Oh bless my sweet sweet could-have-been-a-wife-in-the-fifties soul.
If wives in the fifites hit on the other housewives over the hydrangea bushes.
Think they did? I like to think they did.
The moral of the story here is clearly: don't fear the yeast! Embrace it!
And eat bread. It's awesome.