This weekend, I went to my first Latin dance class, attended Mike's photo exhibition with most of his family and most of Pop5, played the Wii, and got sick. I also made bread with my newest kitchen toy, a bread machine.
My mom got me one for Christmas, but it was late arriving, so I didn't get it until this weekend. And yesterday, I tried it out for the first time.
I ended up having to make two batches, because I seriously messed up the first batch. After reading all about the delicate ratio of ingredients needed to make the bread perfect, I figured I would increase my chances of success by weighing my ingredients with my little kitchen scale. So I weighed out three cups of flour - since one cup is the equivalent of eight ounces, I measured out 24 ounces. When I went to check the dough, it was much too dry, and I ended up adding a lot of water. I started to suspect I had done something wrong, so I looked on the internet at the King Arthur flour site, where I found that the flour ratios are of course in volume not weight - a cup should only be approximately four ounces. So not only had I put not enough yeast to match my flour and water parts, but I had put in almost double the dough my bread machine could handle. So I stopped the cycle and tossed the dough.
Dough, dead and wrapped in plastic. I threw it into the garbage, where it proceeded to rise and take over my kitchen, until I was able to beat it back with a wooden spoon.
So for the next batch, I didn't try any new innovations, but used the classic spoon and level method of measuring out my flour. And I checked it at the specified point, to make sure.
Now, I have never made bread before, but, as has been the case many times in culinary efforts, I benefited from having seen my mother do it many times. So when I saw this in my bread pan -
- I knew that was not the sticky ball of dough I was supposed to see. The problem this time - too little flour. So I added and adjusted until I saw what I wanted to see. This:
My instincts proved good, and before long, I had this:
That's Mike presenting, by the way.
This is a simple white bread recipe, on the Basic setting, with a medium crust. The crust was really yummy and crunchy on the ends, but not too hard, kind of like the perfect dinner roll texture. The middle of the bread was softer, and it was perfectly baked all the way through. I couldn't wait very long to cut into it, and it was hard to cut because it was so soft. If I waited longer for it to cool, it might be easier. But it smelled wonderful while baking, and it tasted that way, too.
I've already started looking for recipes to try out, and I am looking for a good one for cheese bread. I am stating now for the record that if I find a really good recipe for cheese bread, I may never again leave the house. Except to buy more ingredients for cheese bread.