Friday, September 18, 2009
Challenge of the Yeastie Beasties
I know I'm not alone. I've been told it's a common thing.
But still....it didn't make me feel any better.
I've been taking baby steps. Some forward, some backward.
A long slow process.
And I think today I reached a milestone. I have faced a fear. I have conquered the ever dreaded yeastie beasties!!
Now I know...I have a post here for No-Knead Bread. Which is wonderful! Easy....totally love it...might be my favorite ever.
But I needed to knead. I had to go through the process of knead, rise, knead rise....and see success.
Why now? Lemme tell you....over at BakeSpace, we have monthly challenges. This month we decided to make something from someone else's BakeSpace Kitchen who was also participating in the challenge.
I was thrilled when it was announced that I would have to make something from DD's Kitchen.
Then came the choosing. I kinda knew I wanted to do bread...but I didn't want to over extend my capabilities. Nothing like setting yourself up for failure, right? Thats also why I kinda stayed away from those awesomely beautiful cakes she makes! (Seriously, you got to check them out.)
So I decided to make DD's Italian Style Herb Bread.
I didn't change a thing. It's wonderful as is. Her instructions are easy to understand...clear, precise....and the results were a house full of that awesome aroma only obtained from homemade bread, and 4 baguettes that taste incredible!
I don't have any tips or special techniques to help you out with. If you want more info on the how-to's and what-to's, I highly recommend that you check out her blog DDPiesSlice.
But I will show you what I did.
2 1/4 cups warm water (120-125'F)
2 1/2 tsps Active Dry Yeast (or 2 pkgs) (I didn't realize that the yeast I have is for bread machines? is there a difference???)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
5 1/2 - 6 cups bread flour
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for crispy crust)
Oh ya...DD's instructions are for a stand mixer. I don't have one. So I'm just gonna tell you how I did it by hand.
Pour the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and allow it to dissolve. Stir the yeast. Add the sugar, oil, garlic salt, oregano, thyme and basil.
Add about 3 cups of flour and mix well, scraping sides as needed. Gradually add in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, incorporating well with each addition. At this point, the dough was getting too thick to stir with a spoon, so I turned it out onto a floured surface and continued to mix by hand, added the remaining flour gradually until the dough formed a ball that was not sticky to the touch.
I then kneaded the dough for several minutes until smooth and elasticy (hmm don't think thats a real word, but it sure works well).
Theeeeeen, generously rub olive oil into a large glass bowl and place the dough inside, turning to cover with oil. Place a cotton towel (not terry) over the bowl and let your little dough ball rise...for an hour....or until double in size. Punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into 4 equal parts.
Shape into long, skinny loaves and place onto 2 cookie sheets that have been lightly greased with shortening and dusted with corn meal, 2 loaves per cookie sheet. Cover with a towel again and let rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 425'
Brush each loaf with the egg / water mixture. Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes (loaves will sound hollow when you thump 'em).
Allow to cool completely before slicing.
And ya....we had these babies with spaghetti. 2 of the loaves are already gone and I don't expect the last 2 to be around much longer.
DD....YOU ROCK! I LOVE YOU MAN!