My mom taught me how to make bread when I was a little girl. It was a really fun activity for a kid, kneading dough, watching it rise, slathering it with butter warm out of the oven (actually, also fun for a grown up).
So when I was first married, I thought nothing of cracking open my fresh copy of Joy of Cooking
and going to town on one of their bread recipes. Imagine my dismay when the loaf turned out to be pure garbage. But I knew how to bake bread! I'd done it a million times!
Turns out, I didn't really understand the nuances involved. The little things my mom took care of that I didn't fully understand. Over the next few years (and lots of phone calls to my mom) here are seven things that I learned about baking bread:
|No Knead Bread|
|Whole Wheat Challah|
The most important thing is to let your dough speak to you. I know, that sounds crazy, but trust me, it works. If the dough is sticky, add a LITTLE bit more flour. If the dough is dry to the touch, a little more water. Your dough should be tacky like that blue sticky tack your teacher used to hang stuff on the wall when you were a kid. If you are going to err on one side or another, make the dough more wet at first because you always add more flour in on the second knead. We tend not to like to get bread dough on our hands and so we make it too dry and then have a heavy loaf.
|Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread|
|Apple Cider Doughnuts|