Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bread time!

One of the most amazing things about the Professor is his ability to read minds and track mutants down across the country, or even across the world! Oh wait, that is the wrong professor - I meant the one in my kitchen, who is extraordinarily accomplished at kneading bread with a handy dandy dough hook:

(The little piece of dough on there is the only proof I have of using the Professor to make bread... too easy, I forgot to photograph.)

So what else would I do with Duncan and the Professor besides bake bread? I mean seriously, give me another answer. When you are trying not to spend a lot of money (because you are planning a kick-ass adventure to Hawaii) what could be cheaper than flour and yeast? Nothing. Maybe something, but nothing that turns into bread or other baked goods. And so we made bread. 

I used a seriously simple french bread recipe, because honestly, bread making intimidates me - all the proofing, rising, creating a starter, the hours of waiting for deliciousness - I just am not educated enough on the science of bread and all its glory. Simple it is... for now...

First, and most importantly for bread making, you need some yeast! In our case, dry active yeast! ACTIVE-y! Fun!

I am curious about the yeast...


Even while Duncan tries to illustrate the letter "Y" - the yeast is still a bit scary...


Okay, enough pictures of yeast... seriously, we are baking up in here! Since this bread is such a simple recipe, all I needed was the yeast, which we let ferment in a warm bowl and warm water (105 - 115 degrees) for 20 minutes. Which consequently means there is not a lot flavor - if you want real tasty artisan bread, you need to let the yeast work its magic for at least a billion hours. Or 12... your choice. Then we added flour, melted butter and salt. That is it, that is all you need. Maybe a bit too simple. Turns out the trick with bread is not the ingredients, it is the time you spend letting it rise multiple times. This recipe is relatively short and sweet because you only need to let the kneaded-dough rise for about an hour in a bowl and another hour after you have formed it into loafs. The most fun was punching the risen dough down. Punch!

Kneaded dough goes in a buttered bowl. Butters? 

No, not that Butters, although he is an adorable kitten. And currently a beautiful cat.

Back to bread!

Look how risey! NOW PUNCH!

After you punch the dough down, you make two loaves by rolling out half of the dough into a rectangle and rolling it up like a jelly roll. (and repeating for the other half)

Very important: remove all pet hair from your baked goods before baking!

Also: remove all flour from your pets before petting! Oly helped roll out the dough.

The next steps: let the loaves rise another hour, then cut diagonal slices on top of the loaves (you are suppossed to use a VERY SHARP knife for this, and we thought we did, but it still made funny wrinkly cuts...), and bake!

Rising on a cornmeal covered baking sheet.


Baked! After 15-20 minutes in the oven, I took the loaves out, brushed them with an egg wash and put them back in for another 5 minutes. It made them look perdy.

No offense to the bread, but it looked a lot better than it tasted... sorry bread, but you are boring. If this is the case with your bread, I suggest letting your cat attack you to liven things up!

See, he may not be the innocent kitten (although he never was an innocent kitten, only while sleeping...) he once was, but he is still beautiful and full of spunk!

Also, if you want to make better bread, which this experience inspired Dunc to do, devote 36 hours to bread making and you can make the most delicious homemade baguettes ever. Just you wait for Duncan to write about his baguettes. He made four and we ate all four within 12 hours...


  1. That's some dang good punching!

    I like how bread baking is a family affair at your house. I want to try the bread, but I want to play with your cat and dog even more....

  2. I don't think bread making would be nearly as fun without the animal participation.

    Come on by! You can make bread and play with the animals any time!

  3. I'm impressed that your breadventure went better than mine did - I killed the yeast on my first try but didn't realize it until about two hours into waiting for it to rise. Go figure.

  4. I was REALLY worried about the yeast; on our way home from the grocery store I was all freaked out that it was going to die in our room-temperature car...


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