I've started baking our family's bread. Man, the smell of baking bread is something that they should market! Wow!
My first attempt wasn't so successful. I didn't proof my yeast (make sure it was alive and well) before starting to make my bread. Then I put in soften butter instead of melted butter. To fix this, I decided to nuke the wet ingrediants (including yeast) for 20 seconds. I knew I might nuke my yeast but did it anyway. First rise was okay, but not quite double. The secound rise was less okay, but it still rose a bit. The final product was a loaf about 1/2 risen and very crusty. Disappointing to say the least, but it was still edible. In fact, we ate it with dinner last night, buttered, and it tasted really good. Funny how an unsuccessful bread attempt still tastes better than a store bought loaf!
Refusing to be discouraged I started another batch of bread last night after dinner. I received the two Amish cookbooks I had ordered, so I am now the owner of MANY bread recipes! LOL! I went with basic white, a recipe that makes two loaves at a time. This time I let the yeast proof, and did not nuke my yeast. Big difference! First and second rises went very well, then into the oven it went. These loaves came out pretty picture perfect. Eric and I ate a piece while still warm before bed. To me it tasted very chewy (too much gluten action???). I haven't tasted it since it cooled but have hopes that it will be less chewy today. Anybody know what you do to make bread less chewy? Less kneading??
Feels good to provide such a simple staple for my family. I have a bread maker (and might start using it) but for now it feels very good to make it all myself.