Monday, February 6, 2012

The Wonder of White Bread - Baking with Julia



My first experience in baking bread was back in the early ’90s in a tiny kitchen apartment in Montana.  I’m not even sure if the kitchen had two workable feet of counter space.  Not sure why, but I felt compelled to know how to bake my own bread.  Flash forward twenty years and I’m back in the kitchen baking white bread reminiscing about my first loaves of bread and how proud I was to have accomplished that feat. 

Yeast mixture 

Just add flour, the KitchenAid was working overtime
With the abundance of great artisan breads available in the markets,  I have not done a lot of bread baking the past 10 or so years.  With that being said, what I have baked in the last five years has been in the Cuisinart Bread Machine.  So it was with a little fear and trepidation that I approached the White Bread recipe for the first Baking with Julia challenge.  Would baking bread be like riding a bicycle?  What about kneading, are my arms strong enough to handle it?  Would it be therapeutic and all my frustrations from the past 18 months would disappear into the dough?  Why is it every time I tell someone I’m a “Banker” they immediately respond how great it must be to be a “Baker”.  Should I be reevaluating my career choice?  So many questions and only the dough would know the answers.

Roll out to shape

Tucked away nicely and ready for a warm resting place

Ready to bake!
I’m happy to report that yes, baking bread is like riding a bicycle and gets easier with age unlike riding a bike which seems so much more complicated with age (balance, helmets, hearing, eyesight).  Within a few minutes of compiling and mixing ingredients it was all coming back to me.  The kneading was not as tough as I remembered, and though it was therapeutic it did not do away with 18 months of frustration.  When the finished product was done and the aroma of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen, I remembered why the labor of bread baking is so treasured.  A sense of complete satisfaction beamed from me when I removed the two perfectly golden, crusty white loaves from the oven.  I could not help but grin from ear-to-ear when I cut into my loaf and found that the texture was near perfect, no big holes or gaps for the toppings to fall or drip through.  It was the same feeling of victory I had from my first loaves of bread twenty years ago.

I really need a better studio for photographs, but they loaves were gorgeous
 My career is still undetermined, but who knows maybe between French Friday’s with Dorie and Baking with Julia  my career will find its own evolution and reinvention in something other than the world of finance.

Completely cooked, nice crust, and near perfect texture


To read more, or join the group  Baking with Julia (aka Tuesday’s with Dorie):

http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/lyl-white-loaves/#comments

For the recipe:

Go to slush and  Someone’s in the Kitchen.

38 comments:

  1. Your bread turned out wonderfully! I'm jealous you got two full loaves. I had to settle for one full and four mini.

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  2. I loved your post, and your loaves look gorgeous!

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  3. It looks like your re-entry into the world of bread was a total success!
    I can't barely explain to people what I do for a living - I won't even go into their reactions :-)

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  4. I used to have the same problem when I worked for a diagnostic medical sonography association. When I first got the job and told my father he said "what does stenography have to do with the medical industry?"

    Your loaves really are too beautiful!

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  5. Oh man...it's horrible to look at all these pictures of beautiful bread at lunch time. I totally want a PB&J right now!

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  6. Your loaves turned out beautiful!

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  7. Christy, Your bread came out absolutely beautiful! There's something special about baking bread! It does give you a sense of accomplishment!

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  8. The pics are always the hardest part!!! I really like the one with both the loaves and the caption says you need a better studio. Banking, baking so similar yet so different:)

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  9. Your loaves are beautiful! I loved this recipe, so simple and yummy, I just finished a grilled cheese with it! It really does give you a sense of accomplishment! I usually get a confused look or an incredulous look from people about my job, but hey, I hear you about baking, these two groups are inspiring!

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  10. I enjoyed looking at both your sites! Your loaves are really tall. The baking banker sounds cool to me!

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  11. Your bread looks wonderful and love the towel their on...
    looking forward to making some more bread this weekend might try it with Cinnamon. Have a great night

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  12. You are right, your loaves are perfect. Very nice baking. I've thought about a career change over the past year. We are commercial real estate appraisers, but that business has been horrible over the past year. So I tease Hubby and tell him I'll be opening a bakery...he can be my paperwork person/accountant/errand boy/ problem solver like I've been for him over the past 25 years, and I'll run this new business. Sounds like lots more fun to me, except that I'm not a morning person and I think I would have to be to be a baker. But I think our kitchen products far outshine most of what is for sale out there...everyone wanting white bread would want yours.

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  13. Gorgeous! Baking vs banking? Hmmm, I know where I'd go to visit first.

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  14. Your post was great - very inspiring :) Thanks!

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  15. When my 6 kids were home I baked bread to save money. I made white, whole wheat and everything inbetween. As the children left home my breadmaking dwindled. So, it was great to bake a perfect loaf of white bread.
    Welcome to TWD, this is an awesome blogging group. Can't wait to get to know you.
    And your bread looks perfect.

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  16. Your loaves look simply perfect :)

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  17. Those are the best looking ones I've seen! I want a cuisinart bread machine. My mother in law has one and loves it!

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  18. What a great bread and a great start to the new TWD! Every one I've seen so far look perfect! Can't wait to bake more from this book and with this group!

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  19. Your loaves rose beautifully Christy! And great post....baking bread is like riding a bicycle for me too....I've been baking a lot of bread since the year started and somehow I feel more confident about it and I'm even looking forward to making the other breads in the book! :-)

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  20. I normally use my bread machine as well, just because it's quick and convenient.

    That being said, these loaves (as most handmade ones) can't compete with the machine!

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  21. Beautiful loaves, you should be proud! :)

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  22. Yes they are very beautiful loaves indeed! I posted the bread pudding yesterday evening, so I'll go ahead and update my bread post. Thanks for pointing it out! My phone won't let me post the link, so go to chocolatemoosey.blogspot.com and it should be the latest recipe (date would be feb 7)

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  23. I loved your pictures! This is my first experience with a blog and I'm learning so much. Thank you for posting on my page.

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  24. YUM! Your loaves look delicious!!! Nicely done. Makes me hungry for lunch :)

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  25. So glad that you are a part of TWD! Your bread looks beautiful and tasty. :) It is fun to reminisce about our first baking adventures. I am glad that it was lie riding a bike for you! :)

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  26. I recently learnt how to make bread and made the soft stuffed buns for my blog the other day. I totally agree with you that kneading that bread dough is totally therapeutic and the aroma of a freshly baked bread is rewarding the efforts.
    Your loaves looks deliciously yummy!!

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  27. Nice job! Banker, I mean Baker Christy. I'm a career changer too (teaching computers to teaching baking) ~Piebird

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  28. Great post. I was a banker for 18 years, and would also get the "baker" comment every so often. Funny! The bread looks great and has made me want to bake bread on a regular basis. Also, I think the pics looks really nice.

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  29. So glad your experience w/ this bread brought those wonderful feelings. I still get that proud feeling of my loaves and I've been baking all our bread at home for ~ 1 1/2 yrs now. Your loaves look just wonderful and I love that cloth that they're resting on. Looks like an olive branch I think. As a former full time accountant, I'm perfectly happy staying at home now to bake full-time. I just miss the paycheck:)

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  30. Your loaves look so beautiful, wow! Hopefully when i rebake a the bread again it turns out as pretty as yours!

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  31. So glad you're doing TWD too. Your loaves look wonderful. I tried to make mine in my kitchen aid but it over-heated, so I ended up doing most of the kneading by hand...I totally empathize with your thoughts on your career, I'm an economist but I'd love to figure out a way to spend much more time cooking and baking.

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  32. Great looking loaves! Why is it that our passions and hobbies seem so much more interesting than our jobs? I work for the Navy & it's so hard to explain what I do that I know I end up short-selling myself when I try to explain it.

    See you Friday!

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  33. So true! It is such a feeling of accomplishment eating bread that you have made yourself. Your loaves turned out fantastic!

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  34. Beautiful bread! It's great toasted with butter and jam. I'm excited about this book and the new baking group-BWJ!

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  35. Those loaves look beautiful - baking is such a stress relief for me and a great, reflective activity, too.

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