The Unhappy Hooker 2/6/12
What began, innocently enough, as making my first recipe for TWD quickly escalated to what resembled a TV sitcom, the likes of which would rival an episode of I Love Lucy. The recipe, “White Loaves” found in Baking With Julia was the culprit of this fiasco. It was a basic white bread recipe that called for six simple ingredients water, flour, butter, salt, yeast, and sugar, things most home cooks, except possibly the yeast, have on hand. I measured and assembled the ingredients along the counter like a TV chef, proofed the yeast and sugar in warm water, and then the drama began. What I thought was the dough hook for my Kitchen Aid mixer, no you cannot fit a square peg into a round hole, was a dough hook for some other dearly departed or long forgotten kitchen appliance. But, no problem, right? Folks have been making bread without dough hooks and fancy appliances since the beginning of time. Check out the Bible where you’ll find bread, leavened and unleavened, mentioned numerous times; the last time I looked, there was no mention of Kitchen Aid mixers or dough hooks in there. How hard could it be to mix the stuff by hand? After all, I’ve been to the gym. True, that was years ago. Yet and still, I have seen the inside of a gym.
Incorporating the first three cups of flour into the liquid was a synch. In the words of my daughter, Dawn, “I’ve got this,” I thought. With each successive cup of flour, however, mixing became more difficult. Frustrated but undefeated, I dumped my unincorporated dough blob into the mixer, covered the top with a kitchen towel and ever so gently turned it on. Flour flew up through the towel into my face, up my nose, and turned me prematurely gray. The counter top and the floor were covered with, what meteorologists would refer to as, a mild dusting. The motor on the Kitchen Aid sighed in protest at the prospect of mixing the unyielding dough. So it was back to the mixing bowl where after ten minutes of stirring and mixing, my upper arms were nearly as sculpted as First Lady Michelle Obama’s. After incorporating the butter into the dough and ten full minutes of kneading, both the dough and I needed the requisite 45 minute to one hour rest.
Alas, however, to my utter astonishment, after two risings, and a stint in the oven my two loaves turned out lovely. Golden brown on the outside, with a tender crumb on the inside, my first two loaves of homemade bread turned out rather well. Even though things got a bit hairy, I learned a few things from this experience. First, there is an eight hundred number, similar to the Thanksgiving Turkey Hot Line, posted directly on your Kitchen Aid Mixer. I spoke to Kelly at Kitchen Aid, who informed me that for $14.95 plus shipping and handlings she could ship me the dough hook that fits my mixer. I agreed to the terms since, I’ll need the dough hook for the next bread recipe. Another thing I learned is that this recipe is practically foolproof. Anyone with thumbs that can withstand a vigorous aerobic workout can make this bread. And last but not least, baking bread isn’t actually that bad.
Here’s a picture of my bread. There may be prettier loaves out there, but like any mother of a newborn, I have yet to see another loaf as beautiful as my twins. You can tell from the picture they’re fraternal. Peanut butter and Jelly, is what I call them, others may call them Lunch or Snack. For information about the recipe go to TWD or better yet buy Baking With Julia and bake along with the group.
On a scale from one to ten, one being low and ten being high, I give this recipe an eight. The bread is tasty, the recipe is easy to follow, and I will definitely make this bread again. I prefer whole grain to white bread; otherwise this recipe would be a ten.