I am so excited about this post! I joined the Tuesdays with Dorie group yesterday and it kind of makes me feel like a rockstar! My friend Susan is also in the group and it’s because of her that I joined, so thanks Susan! So here’s the skinny: there’s this book called Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and every two weeks a whole crapload of bloggers make the same recipe from it and then write a post about it on their blogs, so even though these people are from all around the world, it’s kind of like we’re all baking together. Isn’t that cool? I think there are like 300 people in the group now and I’m pretty sure you can join any time by going to this site and giving them your basic info. They’ve already done Dorie’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours and they’re also currently doing her other book Around my French Table (which is beautiful and amazing and you should definitely buy for yourself for Valentine’s Day if you don’t already have it).
So the ladies who organize this shindig decided to start with something pretty simple and for that, I’m grateful. I’ve actually had this book for like two years and I’ve never made anything from it because I found it a little intimidating. I know, I know, I’m the one who said in the last post that I do make fancy things sometimes but what can I say, I’m a paradox. Anyhow, I know yeast breads can be tricky, but I’ve had my fair share of practice with them, so I felt like this was going to be a cakewalk. Overconfident? Yes, yes I was.
Now, don’t let that last statement scare you away from this. It wasn’t the recipe that was difficult. It was my trusty Kitchenaid, Candy. She was kind of a bitch. But I’ll get to that later. The ingredients for these loaves are super simple and I bet almost everyone who has a slight interest in baking has them in their cupboard:
Making sure that your water is the right temperature is one of the most important things when dealing with yeast. As you can see, I just used your basic Red Star Active Dry Yeast which needs the water to be a bit warmer to liven up. An instant read thermometer is pretty key here. I love mine, which is why I let it be in the picture with the recipe. It deserves a little cameo. My water was about 106 degrees when I let it swim in the bowl of the Kitchenaid with a bit of sugar (everyone has a sweet tooth, especially yeast) and the yeast. After it sat for a few minutes and got nice and creamy I added in the first batch of flour and things seemed to be going fine…
But then, with the second addition of flour, Candy began to protest. I took a little video but I can’t seem to figure out how to get it to load here now. Suffice it to say, she was not happy. A lot of weird clicking and bucking of the tilt head scared me enough to shut her down all together and knead the dough by hand. If I make a habit of this, I am going to have me some ripped Madonna-esque arms all up in here. Kneading is hard work because you really can’t skimp on it, you have to knead until you get the gluten window, which is another very useful thing I learned from Susan which she is much more qualified to talk about than me and guess what, she did in her post about this bread so go click on the link above and read it! 🙂 So after I kneaded by hand for about 12 minutes, this is what I got:
It probably doesn’t look like much, but it was a labor of love, so I was pretty proud of if. After the first rise, it looked like this:
Then there was a little bit of technique involved to get the loaves separated and formed and looking like this:
Obviously I don’t have a set of matching loaf pans which is really no biggie except that the loaves came out looking pretty different from one another. Still totally delicious and awesome, but not really uniform.
The monster on the right came out of the stoneware Le Creuset pan and I think it’s much more visually appealing. I don’t really know why the other loaf had that kind of deformity on the back, but oh well because it still tasted scrumptious! I made myself really wait until they were almost totally cooled to cut myself a few slices and make some cinnamon toast (the recipe says “just-warm is just right” which I think is really cute) and it was a very satisfying afternoon snack if I do say so myself. This is me, tooting my horn! Toooootle toot!
If you want to try this recipe for yourself, check it out on this week’s hosted page for TWD (that’s Tuesdays with Dorie peeps!). In two weeks, we make Chocolate Truffle Tartlets, which my friend Dave found absolutely hilarious today. Apparently some people can’t separate the delicious foodstuffs from easy ladies in their minds…. I rubbed Candy the Kitchenaid down like the prize-stallion she is and put her away for a few days. Maybe treating her like a queen for awhile will ensure she doesn’t break down on me because I’ve got some plans for the next few posts…