Monday, November 5, 2012

Bread to Bake

Recently I've been baking our sandwich bread. Greg frequently eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I like an egg sandwich for lunch most days (with my work schedule, I'm pretty much always home around lunchtime.)

And I've been messing around with the King Arthur Flour sandwich bread recipe.

Bread is deceptively easy to bake and it makes your house smell divine! I like to do a lot of cooking and baking on Sundays.

To be honest, the absolute worst part is kneading the dough before the first rise.

This bread requires 6-8 minutes of kneading, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it's not easy, either. Or maybe I'm just a wimp. Entirely possible.

I can't help but mess with a recipe when I try it, so the first time I made this bread (last week), I added a cup of whole wheat flour. The recipe said you could substitute up to half of the flour with white whole wheat flour, but I didn't have any, so I added plain whole wheat.

The bread was definitely edible -- even tasty. But not very good for sandwiches. Greg said it tasted like soda bread to him. In other words, a little more dense than it should have been. But it was nice with butter, so it suited my egg habit just fine.

This week, I learned my lesson and bought some white whole wheat flour, but I really think my yeast might be getting old, because it's definitely not quite as puffy as the picture on the King Arthur website.

All in all, though, this week's bread came out much closer to real sandwich bread... even if it's still a little short. I think I'll try to buy a new jar of yeast before it's time to bake bread next week.

The lucky thing about bread is that even if you mess it up, it's still pretty darn tasty.

EDIT TO ADD: And right after I hit publish, look what popped up on my Google Reader! 


  1. Allie- Do you or have you tested your yeast? Before you assume it is bad try and see if it is good or bad? To do this put 1/2 cup of hot(not boiling but hot) water in a cup and add a spoonful of sugar stir until evenly dissolved and then add 1 pack or 1 tablespoon of yeast , stir to mix. Wait 5 minutes. If bubbly and wild looking then it is good if few or no bubbles yeast is your problem.
    Other problems issues potentially you could be having are: 1. too hot of water killing yeast 2. temp not right for proofing and rise 3. time too short for rising and proofing 4. kneading was insufficient or incomplete not allowing for good gluten formation and thus good rise.

    1. Hi, Alicia! I did knead for the full 8 minutes (with a timer.)

      I make sure the bread is warm to rise by letting it rise on the stovetop and running the oven on the "warm" setting (150, I think?)

      I let it rise about twice the recommended time this time because it wasn't quite big enough.

      But in a cup with a tablespoon of warm water, the yeast turns quickly to paste. I haven't yet figured out if this is good or bad. Any clues? It's kind of old. I think I bought it a year ago and only used up half the jar.