I made bread!
One thing that has been annoying me for ages is my inability to make bread.
I’m a great cook – I make all our own biscuits and cakes, I cook the majority of our food from scratch and laugh in the face of difficult recipes.
But I’ve never mastered bread.
And it’s not through lack of trying.
I’ve tried numerous recipes, taken advice from books, websites and friends, tried different types of flour and yeast and everything has been useless.
It’s ranged from house bricks to uncooked dough.
Little Miss Green adores bread and to be fair, she manfully eats most of my offerings, but I set myself a goal this year to become a master baker.
Well, just to be able to bake a half-decent loaf really…
Over on “English Mum” I had the perfect opportunity to pop on my pinny and get stuck in as I decided to join in with her Fresh Bread bakeoff. She challenged us to bake bread and I used her easy step by step tutorial to help.
After asking a few questions such as flour and yeast recommendations along with ‘Do you really WEIGH the oil?’ I set to work.
This time my attitude was totally different. Instead of telling myself it would be a disaster I kept the words of Drunvalo Melchizedek in my mind while I worked – “Trust in the process”.
I decided not to waver from the method or instructions, but to follow it exactly (oh, except for warming the flour and bowl on the wood burner because the house was cold). And it’s a good job I was feeling positive and invincible with my bread making abilities because after 2 minutes kneading I was in a bit of a pickle with sticky dough covering my hands. I didn’t so much knead as scrape it up off the work surface as best I could.
It was at that point Little Miss Green surfaced on Sunday morning and gave me one of ‘those looks’. She muttered “What are you doing?” you know, in that voice and she couldn’t wait to take a couple of photos. Presumably to get me back for all the candid shots I’ve taken of her over the years.
I was determined though, after all I had been told “First things first: don’t worry if your dough is sticky – you want your dough to be sticky. Your fingers will get covered in dough – don’t worry! The stickier your dough,the softer and more plumptious your bread.”
So I kept going.
8 minutes of kneading and it was still a very sticky mess, so here I deviated just a tiny bit from the instructions. I sprinkled just less than a tablespoon of flour onto the work surface and onto my hands and then alchemy took place in front of my eyes. I ended up with what English Mum described as “the texture of a nice soft bum cheek”. Oh my, I made a bum cheek and up until that point I’d had to contend with serious cellulite.
I have to admit I started to get that flip flop feeling in my stomach and a tremendous wave of excitement rose through me. I know, crazy right? Just over a loaf of bread. But you have to understand, I’d believed all this time I was a total failure at baking bread and suddenly I was feeling ok about it.
I even made an announcement to Mr and Little Miss Green that ‘Today I refuse to believe I can’t do this. Today I am making perfect bread’. Be careful what you wish for right?
I stuck my dough in the airing cupboard for an hour and found a huge mass of soft fluffy dough at the end of it. I knocked it back, shaped it and let it rise again and I swear to Goddess you could watch it grow. Honestly, this stuff was totally alive with yeasty busybodies. Little Miss Green was fascinated and stared at it for ages watching it change shape.
Into the oven it went and the most amazing smell wafted through the house – one of success ladies and gentlemen and indeed at the end of 30 minutes we were rewarded with this beauty:
How proud am I?
Huge thank you to English Mum for being the inspiration for this – I’m one happy green mama. I’m a bread maker – yipee!