Friday, September 18, 2009

Challenge of the Yeastie Beasties

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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Allow to cool completely before slicing.

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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!





19 comments:

  1. wow looks awesome!! I haven't made homemade bread, I must try it! :)

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  2. Your bread turned out GORGEOUS! Wonderful crumb and the crust looks perfect.

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  3. Awesome bread! I am so proud of you--conquering yeastie beasties (that sounds bad) and all. I can't wait to see what you tackle next.

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  4. They look awesome!!!! And NOW I am starving for homemade bread... Congratulations!!!!! A definite triumph!!

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  5. No stand mixer? Then you'll love this:)

    http://thereifixedit.com/2009/09/10/epic-kludge-photo-see-honey-you-dont-need-a-stand-mixer/

    That whole site is about how people have "fixed" things around the house. Hilarious.

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  6. It turned out great. I want to start baking some bread but I'm still studying the process.

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  7. Oh how I love my bread with herbs! It looks perfect!

    Nice blog you have here! :D

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  8. I am a not a good baker!!!!Great job!

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  9. wooohoooo! Absolutely awesomely perfect. Thanks for the kind compliments...and I have to say, you did me proud girl :D I love you too man!!!

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  10. Oh, P.S....I LOVE the "thereIfixedit" site...cracks me UP!

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  11. This looks perfect!! You need not feat the yeastie beasties anymore!

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  12. Courtney - you really should try! the house smells so good!

    Michelle - coming from such an experienced bread maker as yourself, I'm very flattered. :) I didn't even realize good bread was measured by its crumb and crust LOL. thank you :D

    Cathy - whew...what I tackle next? how about the dishes!! HAHAHAHA

    Shane - well, what are you waiting for? go make some bread!

    Chris - HAHAHAHA Thats a pretty damn funny site! Love it!

    Dajana - study? was I suppose to do that first? LOL. I don't have to patience...I just wanna do it.

    Ungourmet - Why thank you! You have yourself a very nice blog too. I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

    Erica - I'm sure you're better than you think. Im not either but every once in a while I surprise myself!

    DD - whew....i done did. actually, i really wanted to try your sour dough bread but I didn't have "starter". Next time.

    Reeni - yep....no more yeastie beastie nightmares wooooo hoooo! LOL

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  13. That is awesome!!! I'm so impressed! Is it really that easy? I want to try it but I'm afraid of not kneading it enough or too much. What do you think? Let's chat on bakespace on Monday.

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  14. Congratz on successful kneading! Looks fantastic. I love kneading bread, people think I'm nuts. Heh.

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  15. Michele - haha...you think I know enough to coach you? LOL...seriously, you should pick DD's brain. I'll be happy to talk to you on Monday (if it's not too busy at work). :)

    Bob - I should start doing this kneading thing daily...great workout for the arms! LOL. It is kinda soothing in a way tho

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  16. 'jus fer the record, you guys don't have to knead that much! really, only about 8-10 pushes and turns ;) If your dough feels "stiff", you may have just a little too much flour in it. HTH

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  17. OhMyGosh, AWESOME!!! This would be gone before it even cooled off in this house :D

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  18. DD - really? so how come it always looks like such hard work? LMAO!! I worked harder than I needed to? ooooh man!

    Heather - ya...it would've been gone sooner at my house except that when I made it, there was only 2 of us at home!!!

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  19. WOW!!!!!

    Those are PERFECT!!

    I need to do some more with yeast. I've only tried the sweet yeast breads.

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