Do you remember the "cake mix" smell of the Easy Bake Oven packets? It's a totally distinct smell and every "cake" tasted exactly the same. Before the advent of the microwave, girls in the 70's were cooking little tea cakes with light bulbs! How awesome is that?! I never got very far past that stage when it comes to baking. It never really interested me and since the majority of my adult life has been spent in a panic-stricken fear of carbohydrates, baking seemed "out".
Now I have seen the light and it's shining brightly again in my "big girl" Easy Bake Oven. Tonight I'm attempting to bake my very first loaf of bread. I repeat - at age 40, I'm baking my very first loaf of bread. I'm attempting it with the help (and support frankly) of this fantastic book that I borrowed from my dearest Hillaire.
She loaned it to me a couple of weeks ago but after reading the overview, I realized I needed to Amazon some stuff to make a go of it.. and by "some stuff", I mean "all the stuff". I own nothing in the way of baking utensils so I ordered up! I got a baking stone, a pizza peel, a Danish dough stir stick, an oven thermometer AND took the opportunity to replace the crappy can opener that I got 10 years ago when I moved in with my husband. (Note to girlfriends - take a good hard look at your can opener. Honestly answer the question "Is this thing disgusting?")
All my accoutrement came a few days ago but the bread thing has intimidated me until tonight...
You'll have to buy the book to read all of its wonderful theories on artisan bread baking BUT I can tell you that so far (the bread lump is on the counter awaiting date with EBO) this has been amazingly easy and the whole idea is so simple - it's criminal. Make a batch of wet dough and leave it in the fridge for up to ten days, hunking off a grapefruit sized ball whenever you want a fresh loaf of bread. The longer the dough stays in the container, the more "sourdough" it becomes. Revolutionary!
They have recipes for baguettes, ciabatta, pita, pizza dough, challah - all of it!
Bread is in the oven on my new little baking tiles and a broiler pan full o' steam. 22 minutes to go. I'm nervous. I'll quick run and check on it...
24 minutes later - my first baby loaf is born!
Cool tip from the book: After cutting into a loaf, store it uncovered and cut side down on a plate or other solid surface. Don't wrap it or refrigerate it - just protect the cut side from air! I'll let you know how that works out...
My only real complaint with the book is that they demand that you let the bread cool entirely before eating - what kind of crap is that?!