Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bread and a minor egg victory

For Christmas my wonderful boyfriend Kevin got me a handy dandy Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I've been lusting after one of those bad boys for years now so to say I was excited about getting it is probably the understatement of the year. So far I've used it to make pretzels, pizza dough, chocolate chip cookies and as of this week, bread. I've dipped my toe into bread making before with simple beer breads and pumpkin breads and the like, and some stuff involving yeast like pretzels and pizza dough. This was my first time really trying my hand at making a loaf of real bread. Like sandwich bread.

I used a basic recipe from the book that came with the mixer.

1/2 low fat milk (I used 2%)
3 tablespoons sugar (I used 2.5 and a healthy drizzle of honey)
2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 to 6 cups ap flour (I used bread flour and it wound up being more like 7 cups)

You put the milk, sugar, salt, butter, in a saucepan and warm it until the sugar dissolves. You dissolve the yeast in the water. The recipe had me start out with 4 1/2 cups flour and then you ad more a 1/2 cup at a time. Mix on speed 2 until the dough clings to the hook. It's supposed to be smooth and elastic but mine just stayed sticky. I had already put in 7 cups of flour and didn't want to push it so I went ahead and put it in a greased bowl and let it rise in the oven.

It rose up beautifully and I actually had to pull it out before the hour was up because it was threatening to go over the bowl.

The bread turned out ok. Not bad for my first try, but it's a bit dry and...well white. I'm ready to dip my toes into more healthy, hearty breads now after getting this one to turn out ok.

It does make some awfully pretty toast.

Oh and on the eggs, I've never been one for making fried eggs. I couldn't ever get the flip down right and I'm always breaking the yolks. As you can see I finally got the flip (albeit awkwardly w/two spatulas) and no broken yolks! I use the Alton Brown method of lots of butter, cook on low, and letting the whites set almost completely before flipping. It works and I am a believer now. From now on, I am no longer limited to scrambled eggs for breakfast! Now I just need to tackled poached eggs and then I can have the holy grail of breakfasts at home: Eggs Benedict.

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