Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dough Smells Fear

Record snow storm this weekend for the DC metro area. It is hard to tell how much we got but it is A LOT.

I was inspired by one of my co-workers to attempt to make homemade bread this weekend while I was snowed in. I am not much of a baker. I don't enjoy it because it requires exact measurements. I prefer cooking where you can experiment.

That said, I decided to try it anyway. I gathered my materials before the snow hit (the grocery stores were a zoo). Yeast was the hardest ingredient to find. I had to go to three stores to find it. It could also have been because I wasn't sure what I was looking for.

I told another co-worker, who is the mother of four and an accomplished cook, about my bread-making plans. She assured me, as many others had done that week, that it was really quite simple. Her main piece of advice was: Dough smells fear. Don't be afraid of it. Just knead it and tell it who is boss.


Here is my packet of hard to find yeast. I used this recipe.

After I mixed in the flour, salt, sugar and oil together, my dough was this sticky mess. As my husband said after reading me the ingredients to add in, no wonder bread isn't good for you.

Don't be fooled by this cleaned up image of the bread (supposedly) rising. Flour was all over the place. The sticky dough was not easy to get off of the cutting board. What a mess!

After the dough (supposedly) rose, it looked like this and I had to knead it again. Cue more flour-y mess.

I put it in the bread pan and left it to rise for another half an hour as instructed. Um, yeah. It never rose up. What the hell kind of yeast was that?
After all of this mess and time commitment, I don't care. I put it in the oven anyway. 375 degrees for an hour.

This is what it looked like. The house did smell good as I had been promised but the bread definitely looked flat and hard. After a good ten minutes of wrestling to get it out of the pan, I gave it a taste.

It was hard on the outside and dense but soft on the inside. It actually tasted good but was very visually unappealing.

I'm glad I tried it but for the near future I'll refrain from anymore baking activities. As tough and as confident as I tried to act, I think the dough had the upper hand. It smelled my fear.


  1. So, I've been thinking about making homemade bread, b/c I wanted to do my own 100% whole wheat kind, but went to Earth Fare instead and found a really good loaf that tasted delicious and contained pretty much the same ingredients as if I had made it myself. Not gonna try it. I did make it with 3rd graders a couple of years ago when we were studying Castles and it turned out to be pretty good, but as you can imagine with 3rd graders, a mess!

  2. I helped make bread when I was doing my sail training in Maine - take your experience and transfer it to a tiny ship's galley! The bread that the cook made on his own was always delicious, but the one I helped with? Not so much. Well, it tasted okay, but it was super dense.

    That said, I really want to try the No-Knead Bread recipe that was big on all the craft blogs a couple years ago. You can mix it up with add-ins like garlic cloves or herbs. Here are two links:

  3. I'm glad you could bake!
    We were without power the first 16 hours of the storm....we had a COLD, DARK, Saturday. No baking for me yet!

    ~Amanda :-)
    (P.S. GREAT blog! Love your chairs, WOW!)

  4. Hey Cameron, your blog is great! If you still want to bake bread, my advice is to get the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". No kneading, and you can keep the dough in the fridge and just pull off and bake what you want. I've had great results with all the recipes.


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