Baking Bread

For as long as I can remember {or at least as long as I've had babies}, I wanted to have baking bread become a part of my daily routine.  I have to admit, I'm not very good at it, and I get easily discouraged.  So it became easier to just not do it.  Not any more.  I'm on a mission to make bread baking a part of my morning.  Each day, I'm going to bake a loaf and learn from my mistakes.  I'm going to post about it here each Thrusday, but you can follow along for daily updates over on Instagram.  Join me won't you?  Maybe we can learn to bake together.

I'm going to use a basic bread recipe and make adjustments from there. {Thanks, Tonya, for sharing!}

Here's the recipe for one loaf of Basic White Bread:
1 cup warm water {think temp of baby bath water}
2 1/2 t. yeast
Wisk them together and let stand for 5 minutes
Add 2 1/2 - 3 cups flour {for me, 3 made the best loaf}
Add 1t salt
Add 1T olive oil

Mix everything together with a wooden spoon.

Knead for 10 minutes

Shape loaf and put in oiled pan {I'm using a stoneware pan}

Let rise until double {I was confused about this part.  Only let it rise once?  Would it work?  I was always told it HAD to rise twice.  Nope.  I'm sure it has better flavor and structure with a double rise, but it's beyond my attention span at this point.}

Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you knock on the top of loaf.

What I did wrong...  My biggest mistake with the white loaf was that it wouldn't rise.  It turned out that my water was too hot and it killed the yeast.   Once I got that right, it was the best loaf of bread I've ever made.  Nice rise, crust and texture.  Unfortunately, it was gone before I could get a picture of it.

The photo above is made with wheat bread.  I'd like to stay away from white flour and only use natural flours instead.  This has been a challenge for me.  I used the same basic recipe, but with 100% wheat flour from Wheat Montana instead.

What I did wrong...  Dough was too dry.  I since read that wheat flour needs more liquid so I'm going to increase the water and see what happens.  The finished bread turned out tasty, but a bit on the gummy side. It couldn't have been too bad, though, it was gone in about ten minutes.  Maybe a longer rise?  Cook in the oven longer? Let it rest longer when it comes out of the oven?

I'm going to work on getting the basic wheat bread right this week, so until Thursday...