The Fresh Loaf

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Bread Baker 101's blog

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Bread Baker 101

Ok, so I really enjoy cooking and love to bake cakes, and I've been wanting to try baking some breads and try to start baking my own loaves for my family (without the perservatives and such of the super market breads), so I thought I'd try my hand at my first loaf of active yeast bread today - the culprit....a loaf of seeminly easy, beautiful, delicious looking Homemade Cinnamon Bread.

Score: Bread - 1, Me - 0.

I followed directions on the recipe as I thought I was following to a "T"; however, did have some silent doubts along the way as this is the very first time I have EVER tried making a loaf of any type of bread using active dry yeast. I have been reading other blogs, tips and tricks and all of the such and I'm sure the following are the reasons for my bread making failure:

1. I'm afraid I let the liquid get too hot and did not let it cool enough before adding the yeast.
2. When I added the yeast, I stirred the mixture with the knife I had laying nearby that I cut my hunk of butter off with.
3. My proofing mixture did not have any real noticeable CO2 bubbles.
4. I live in AZ and thought that a good place for my bread to rise for the first rising was in my warmed glass bowl, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on my patio chair in my back yard in the AZ sun (it was a beautiful 90 or so out when it was out there during the 2 hours).
5. I don't have a fancy mixer so I kneaded by hand (in the bowl) - I was so nervous, I didn't take the dough out of the bowl...
6.My dough didn't rise that much, so when I formed it into the roll and placed it in the pan, for the second rising I turned my oven on and placed the pan (again covered with plastic wrap) in my microwave that is directly above/on top of my built-in oven - thinking the microwave would get  enough heat from the oven for rising. Not much happened after over 2 hours.
7. So then, my 87 year old aunt who lives with us suggested placing the pan on the open oven door - so I did this for about another 45 min and still not a lot of activity - so I just decided to bake the loaf.

What a disaster - my loaf is soooo dense and dry - with a pretty good flavor - but who wants to eat dry dense bread? What a long day - felt kind of gratifying during the process, but after nearly the whole entire day, and ending with a loaf of bread nearly inedible, it was a huge let down and disappointment.

So, I've come to one conclusion - there is definitley room for improvement! Today is the beginning of a new life challenge - try to master the art and science of active yeast bread baking. Please wish me luck! Hope to be able to gather a lot of different tips from this site and ultimately end up making delicious, weekly bread for my family - without so much as a grimace on my face (except while kneading the dough).

Take care fellow bakers!
Erin aka Bread Baker 101 

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