Bread! - Sizin Portal


Friday, July 4, 2008

My affair with yeast started a while ago. We were first wary of each other. Then we tried to work together. Nope - back off and wary again. We tried not to make eye contact every time I opened the freezer.

People inadvertently bombarded me with their yeast success stories - especially here and here. There was a little hope - if this didn't work, I was going to donate the damn thing to someone more worthy!

It worked. And it was Brilliant. And I love Yeast. All's well that end's well.

When I read Siri's post, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. She also referenced TFL, which is a bread baker's bible. I followed her advice word-for-word. Hey, you might not win any awards with this bread, but you'll feel like you did.

Basic Basic Basic Bread.
(followed from here)

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast (1 sachet)
2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cups warm Water

Mix all the ingredients together. It shouldn't be too sticky. Just enough water for it to all come together. Knead for 10 minutes. As you knead, you will feel the dough become smooth and elastic - it's an unbelievably cool feeling. It will feel like silk! Okay, I was just really happy!

Put it in a greased bowl and cover and keep in a warm place. In the Chennai heat, any place in my house would be warm enough, but I was so scared of the yeast, that I kept it in a tiny room without ventilation, lights on and covered.

So TWO HOURS later (you need only 45-90 minutes, depending on how warm it is), I finally got the courage to check. And it had not doubled.... it had TRIPLED!!! As my daughter says, Hurrah!!

I punched it down - this is a great feeling too - you can see it collapse in front of you. Then kneaded it a couple more times - I did about 2 minutes of kneading. And put it back in the greased bowl. Leave it alone again in the warm place. I checked after 30 minutes - and.... it had doubled again!

Now take it out of the pan, shape into a loaf (I did a very rough rustic French loaf-type shaping - yes, very rough!). But you can shape it into baguettes or in a loaf pan.

Leave the bread alone again for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 deg C. I also followed Siri's advice and put a tray filled with about a cup of water on the lower rack of my oven. Make long scores on the bread with a very sharp knife to give those gases an escape route. Prepare a little egg wash and brush the top of the loaf with it - this step is purely optional but I was hoping to get the nice crust.

Then put the loaf on the upper rack. I have a toaster oven, which is very small by oven standards. So was a little unsure if it would have enough room, but it did.

It baked for exactly 40 minutes.

And - Voila! - Freshly baked bread! As I'm typing this post, the bread has already been devoured (I'm glad I got those photos!). It was soft and lovely and delicate with a crunchy crust. I loved it.

Thank you, Siri! I hope to have many more bread baking adventures!

I'm sending this to Nupur, who is hosting July's MBP, Less is More. It was incredible how FOUR simple ingredients, can transform into such beautiful food. MBP was originally started by Coffee, for bloggers to blog-hop!