For the last 5 years or so I’ve been trying to understand what all the talk about bread making being so hard is really about. I mean if a machine on the counter can do it I should be able to right. Well lets just say I Get It!!!!
I started where I think most people do….Google. I went to the recipe with the highest rating from the most people and busted out my flour. My result was good but not great and that was the beginning of the rabbit hole.
My thoughts after that bread were maybe I didn’t knead the dough enough or maybe too much. So I made bread that I kneaded till my forearms burned and then kneaded some more. The result was still underwhelming. I also learned that it is almost impossible to over knead a dough by hand (I say almost because I’m sure it has been done by someone with forearms the size of 2 liter bottles, just never by me). I also quickly learned how NASTY under kneaded bread is. If you want some fluff then you need to knead or compensate with yeast and time. Which sent me further on down that hole.
No Knead Recipes!!
It’s a thing. I bought a book
The book is awesome, I loved getting such flavorful bread everyday. It really was 5 minutes a day. I will warn you that keeping a large bucket of dough in your fridge is hard. Space in the fridge has also gotten to be more of an issue since our family has grown. Someday I imagine my life being in such an organized state that I can just buy a few things at the store and have the rest in my garden. Aaaahaha; Oh we all need goals!!! Anyways back on subject. The 5 minute bread felt as if I was cheating in someway. I was getting amazing bread and yet it was not fulfilling that internal baker that fills with pride saying I did that. So the search continued.
In all my googling and endless trips to the library I attempted my very own starter. Which I thought might be the missing element. And BOY is that a moment well deserving of its own post. Needless to say I didn’t get bread in my first few attempts of using a starter and I already feel I have 4 kids (including PC) so that baby was pushed to the side. Many of amazing breads have come from instant yeast so why give up here.
It wasn’t until this Christmas that I found what I had been missing. I owe my sister in law the credit for finding me this amazing gem of a book.
I can’t wait to meet this man because he was able to do what so many have failed at. Ken Forkish wrote his book thinking my readers are intelligent so lets not undermine that (at least that’s how it felt). He gave the knowledge behind the recipe along with the ability to give you confidence in your own kitchen. I bought all the tools he suggested and was baking within a month. I’ve been using his recipe and had not only great bread but that little baker inside is beaming with satisfaction. I don’t feel I’m cheating. Ken Forkish taught me to identify and understand why my bread is doing what its doing and how to compensate. I have found that the more I make bread the more instinctive it is to understand and correct.
My bread making has gotten better every time. I wish I had a picture to show you of my first bread to compare with this baby I pulled out of the oven.
Yes my internal baker is doing back flips, and dancing to the crackles of the bread as it sings to me. Oh yes bread straight from the oven really does sing, and it is music to my ears.
Now that I’m feeling confident in my white bread I’m going to have to up the stakes and add some diversity to my bread baking. I’ll be sure to share my adventures along the way.
Off to bed!! Good Night