ECMP 355 Bread Baking

Final Project: Round 2

Well I am happy to report that round two of my final project was successful! My original plan was to make bread for my family Easter, but unfortunately, I did not get up in time. In addition, my Dad was making a turkey in the oven, therefore there was no room for my bread! Because of this, I started making bread as soon as our Easter supper was over. As I began, my family made the following comments:

“Shayla, you do realize that is not going to rise, right?” -Grandma

“Wow, you’re just starting that now? Are you planning on staying up all night?” -Auntie Sharon

“When I make bread, I get up at 4 am and it takes me all day.” -Auntie Sharon

“Maybe you should just take pictures from the internet and pretend you made it. That would take you a lot less time.” -Auntie Sharon

“Oh you’re making Cardomom bread? I hate Cardomom.” -Grandma

“Why aren’t you making raison bread? I really like raison bread…” -Uncle Kenny

As you can imagine, none of these things are reassuring. I had not even added the flour and my family was already convinced that my bread was not going to turn out. Not only that, but they were already coming up with back up plans of faking my success in preparation for my failure. After what seemed like hours of these negative comments, my Auntie and Grandma came into the kitchen and finally started to give me some very helpful advice. When I asked my Grandma why she didn’t think it was going to rise, she gave me information that I wish I would have had much earlier. She said, “it’s too cold in here. Bread does not rise unless it is warm.” WHAT!! This is news to me! Then, my Auntie told me to warm up the oven, turn the light on, cover it, and let it rise. This was quite literally the most helpful advice I have ever received. The dough rose beautifully, and made such a difference! I am amazed that I was even able to make bread before knowing this. The fact that I ever got anything to rise is an absolute miracle! Even though the internet is helpful, there is no better advice than from a real live person who has made hundreds of loaves of bread in their lifetime.

My bread didn’t look as pretty due to my lack of braiding skills, but it still tasted great! I found braiding to be much easier the second time, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Considering I had basically no experience in this before hand, I am very happy with the progress I have made. I began with making a very simplistic Amish White Bread, then I moved my way up from there. I started out very simple, and move to some more complex recipes that involved more ingredients. I set aside about eight hours per bread experience. Some took longer, others took less time. Within that time, I included the time spent grocery shopping, searching for recipes, making the bread, and blogging about it. Here are some of the main things I have learned from this experience:

  1. How to make yeast rise
  2. How to knead bread
  3. Patience
  4. How to make dough rise
  5. The importance of flour
  6. Which aisles things are located in at the grocery store
  7. To summarize, I learned how to make a variety of bread!

All in all, I am very happy with my learning project! I had a lot of fun doing it, and I feel like I learned a lot about something that I probably never would have tried otherwise. I also learned how to add pictures to my blog, and how to make a slideshow gallery! In addition, I learned how to add videos to youtube, and how to speed them up! This project has taught me a variety of skills that will benefit me in the future! I have come a long way in four months, and with practice, I know I will only get better! Here are some photos of my final project!

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Final Project: Round 1

Well everyone, my fear that I would be unable to braid bread became a reality. The dough did not work out as well as I had hoped, and it made braiding very difficult. My hands were covered in dough and no one else was around to photograph my process, therefore I only have a picture of my final product. In order for this to be better, here is what I need to do for next time:

  1. Use less flour- I think I put about half a cup too much, and it caused the dough to fall apart. Have you ever attempted to braid bread that refuses to stick together? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!
  2. Use a little more Cardomom- The cardomom is what makes the bread sweet, so I think that it would have tasted better if I would have added a little more than I did.
  3. Braid more evenly- My braiding was very uneven, and caused one side to way bigger than the other. This also affected the way it baked in the oven. One side was more doughy than the other, and it was not ideal.
  4. I would sprinkle sugar on top of the bread, and use real butter to add to the flavour. I substituted margarine the first time, and it really took away from the bread.

My hope is that with these changes, my bread be better, and for lack of a better word prettier than this round of bread. Here is a photo of my first attempt of my final project:

Braided Cardomom Bread…

For my final ECMP project, I am going to make Braided Cardomom Bread. What makes this challenging is that my dough is going to have to be absolutely perfect in order to it to be successful. There is no leeway. I will be working with dough in a new way, and in order for it to braid correctly, the dough is going to need to rise correctly. It needs a certain level of consistently, and that is going to be difficult to achieve.

I have watched some youtube videos on braiding bread, and it looks to be extremely challenging. I find braiding hair difficult, so I cannot even imagine how much I am going to struggle with it. Below is an example of one of the videos I watched before embarking on this bread making adventure:

Luckily, I already have majority of the ingredients I need for this recipe. All I need to buy is Cardomom. I am assuming that this is located in the spice section, so hopefully I do not have to spend nearly as much time at the grocery store as I have before. I feel like I have gotten much better at making yeast rise, so I am not too worried about that when making this bread. I also have a pretty good idea of what the dough is supposed to look and feel like, so I think that this part should go okay as well. The problem is that this dough needs to reach a certain level of perfection that has never been necessary before, so this is concerning. Another one of my main concerns regarding this bread is the braiding part. I have a terrible feeling that I am going to struggle very hard with this… so stay tuned for the journey! Below are pictures of the recipe I plan to try:

Pull Apart Garlic Bread

After my French Bread fiasco, I decided to move on and try something different for this next recipe. This was partly because I just really did not want to relive the experience, and partly because I had no desire to buy a new kind of flour. After looking through the recipes I have used, I realized that each one has called for very few ingredients. This time, I wanted to do something a little more complex. After looking through a variety of Pinterest recipes, I decided that I wanted to make Pull Apart Garlic Bread. Here is the video I watched prior to making it:

This video is not the exact same as the recipe I used, but it was the video that helped me to realize that I wanted to make for my next bread. It was the starting point of my process, and I found that seeing her make bread was very helpful. She is clearly a much more advanced break maker than me, but I aspire to be like her one day. The most time consuming part of this particular bread was definitely mincing the garlic cloves! It was PAINFUL!! First, you have to peel the outside layer of the garlic cloves. Then, you must break apart the cloves into individual cloves. Next, you need to peel each one of those cloves individually. Then, you have to put each one through the garlic mincer. It is such a process. It literally took me two hours! Here is a video that documents the process:

This bread was different from anything else I have made because I had to actually shape the dough. Because of this, it was important that the dough actually turned out. In the dough I have made in the past, this has not been super important. As long as it rose, it usually turned out. For Pull Apart Garlic Bread, I had to get the dough ready, then leave it to rise for about an hour. During that time, I minced the garlic (as I mentioned before, this took forever). I also melted the butter, added the rest of the spices, and mixed it all together. I then had to take a bit of dough, roll it into a ball, and dip each one into the butter/spice/garlic mixture. I then had to layer them in a greased pan, and let it rise for a few hours. It was only supposed to rise for an hour, but I gave it a little more time to ensure that it doubled in size. Here are some photos that document the process:

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Now that we have seen the final product, let’s talk about garlic. Garlic is a nightmare, and for those of you who plan to use garlic in the future, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you buy the pre-minced garlic. If you value your time at all, do not mince large amounts of garlic. To put things into perspective, here are some photos of my process:

 

 

1. This was the bag of garlic peels after I peeled each individual clove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. This was the cloves after I peeled them.

 

 

 

 

 

3. This photo is how much garlic I actually had after all that work…#notworthit

 

 

 

In summary, I am very happy with the way my bread turned out. It was time consuming, but it is definitely the best tasting bread I have made so far! I used a variety of different ingredients, and it is different from anything I have made so far. It was the most complex recipe I have made, and I feel that it really demonstrated my progress so far. For my next bread venture, I am going to make something I have always wanted to make. It is called Braided Cardomom Bread, and it will be the most challenging bread I have ever made. This is going to be my final project, so stay tuned!!

French Bread

I really thought that the limited amount of ingredients needed for French Bread would cause it to be very easy to make. But I was dead wrong. This bread was single handedly the worse thing I have ever made. Not just the worst bread I have ever made, but the worst type of any food I have ever made in my life. If you happened to have read my earlier post, you would have seen that I now have an OUTRAGEOUS amount of Multigrain flour. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to substitute multigrain flour for all-purpose flour. I was really hopeful that it would work out, but unfortunately it did not. If there is one thing I learned from this, it is that recipes call for certain ingredients for a reason. All-purpose flour is light and fluffy, and multigrain flour is the exact opposite. It was so thick, that it literally broke my standing blender. The dough did not mix, nor did it rise. I tried one bite, and could barely chew it. I ended up throwing out all three loaves, and all the work in finding the shortening ended up not being worth it. So to sum up, I may not have been successful in making French Bread, but did learn some valuable lessons:

  1. Flour matters.
  2. If you notice your blender slowing down and noticeably struggling, turn it off immediately because it is probably in the process of breaking.
  3. If you plan on substituting ingredients, do some research first. It is much easier to type your questions into google than to spend hours making break just for it not to turn out. TRUST ME!
  4. Lastly, if you ever want to make French Bread, here is a helpful YouTube video to aid you in your break making experience. If I would have found this before I started, things would have likely went a lot smoother.
  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_0m10PJURk

    Below are some photos that document my lovely experience in attempting to make French Bread. Enjoy! 

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The Struggles of Small Town Grocery Shopping…

I had big plans for this week. I was going to make one type of bread on Tuesday, and another type of bread on Thursday! I had a few ingredients to pick up in order to make this happen, so I headed to the local Co-op to grab some Bread Flour, some shortening, and some garlic. I thought that this would be a fairly simple task, but I was mistaken. As I searched down the aisles, I realized that I didn’t actually know what shortening looked like. I didn’t know what it was, what section of the grocery store I could find it in, or how to find it. So I thought to myself…

confusing-meme-2 I had no idea what was going on. I roamed around the grocery store for an hour searching for shortening and was unsuccessful. Eventually I gave up on that and decided that Assiniboia’s selection is below par compared to Regina. I then went to the flour/baking aisle and bought what I thought was bread flour. It said the word bread on it, so I just threw it my cart and got the heck out of there. Another thing about grocery shopping in a small town is that you know everyone. I ran into the same people over and over again, and it became rather embarrassing after a while. It was a very overwhelming grocery trip, but at least I had yeast and flour (or so I thought).

When I arrived home, I set the flour on the table and read it closely. What it said was, “Multigrain Best for Bread Blend.” It was literally the exact same kind of flour I already had at home. So to summarize, I now have ten kilograms of multigrain flour, five kilograms of all purpose flour, and zero kilograms of bread flour in which I need for my recipe. In addition, I looked in the cupboard and realized that I had recently bought a huge amount of yeast that I had completely forgot about. So I also have 226g of Quick-Rise yeast.

I returned to the grocery store the next day after googling what shortening looked like. To my surprise, it was in the same section as the yeast. I had literally passed it at least ten time the day before. The following meme successfully describes how I felt in this moment.

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Another ingredient that was called for in the recipe was Kosher Salt. It only called for two teaspoons, so I tried to find a small, cheap container because that is all I needed. Unfortunately, the grocery store only sells 1.36 kilogram boxes, therefore I had to spent $12.00 on kosher salt that I will literally never use again. So, here is what I have learned from this experience:

  1. Grocery shopping is awful.
  2. Research what ingredients are/what they look like before going to the store to save yourself from embarrassment.
  3. Prices can be ridiculous in small communities, but you have no choice because there is literally nowhere else to go.
  4. Fully read the label before purchasing, otherwise you will end up with more flour than you will even need in your lifetime. It is going to take me a minimum of 25 years to use up all of this flour.
  5. Check your cupboards before going to the grocery store, otherwise you will double up on ingredients as I did with the yeast.
  6. If you feel overwhelmed in the grocery store, GET OUT! If you stay, you get confused and you do unexplainable things that cause you to waste your hard earned money for no good reason.

Now that I have all the ingredients I need, I will be making French Bread tonight, and Pull Apart Garlic Bread on Saturday. So stay tuned for what is sure to be an interesting experience!

B is for Baking Beautiful Bread

The planning portion of making bread takes almost as much time as the actual baking part. By the time you look through recipes, watch tutorials, and go grocery shopping, it is amazing how much time has gone by. The main sites that I have been getting my recipes from are Just a Pinch and of course, Pinterest. They have a huge variety of recipes, and I really love their easy to use format. They have clear recipe links that often include tutorials, blogs, and additional resources. After a lot of consideration and indecisiveness, I have decided that my next bread will be French Bread. It is still a fairly easy-to-follow recipes, but it is also more challenging the bread I have previously made. There are a few more ingredients in this recipe including shortening, and eggs. When searching for recipes, I wanted to choose something that would allow me to try a different type of flour. The recipe I found from Lofthouse (which was a website Pinterest led me to) calls for bread flour. In one of my recent posts, I discussed my dilemma with knowing what flour to choose, but this recipe clearly calls for bread flour. I am excited to see the difference in the type of flour, and to see how it affects the overall process of baking French Bread. Tomorrow, I am going to go to the grocery store, and I will be taking my first attempt at making French Bread the day after that! Stay tuned for my documentation of the process/final product!

Living the Dream, Baking Bread With My Team

For this weeks bread-baking adventure, I decided to make Amish White Bread for the second time! Last week, I did not exactly perfect the art of baking this particular kind of bread, so I decided to give it another try. I am happy to report that it went much better this time! I made sure to stir in the yeast with the sugar in order to make sure it ‘proofed.’ This is a new term I learned which simply means to ensure the yeast dissolved. In order to learn about this, I read Max Bernstein’s blog. It talked about proofing, and many of the other basic aspects of baking bread. It also showed examples of what the dough is supposed to look like throughout the different steps. After reading this blog, it helped me to see how I can tell if the yeast proofed or not. Luckily, mine looked exactly like it was supposed to! It bubbled, and created a nice looking foam just like I had hoped!

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I feel like I have the yeast thing down, but one thing I struggled with this time was trying to figure out how much flour to add. The recipe called for 5-6 cups of flour. After reading up on it, it sounds like you just have to keep adding flour until it ‘feels and looks right.’ As a new bread baker, I am not at a point where I know how bread it supposed to look, therefore it is something I really struggled with. I added one cup at a time, mixed it in, and continued doing that until I reached four cups. At this point, the dough seemed like it looked perfect. Rather than add what the recipe called for, I just left it at four and hoped for best. In the end, I made the right choice. The dough doubled in size, and it looked exactly like the pictures once it was done! One thing that is rather difficult is to document my process while I mix the ingredients together. This is because it is really hard to use my camera when my hands are completely covered in dough. Luckily, my lovely friend Jenna was over as I was making this bread, so she took some photos of me as I mixed everything together. At this point, I feel like I am ready to move on into a more difficult type of bread, so that will be my goal for next week! Below is a variety of photos that document my process, as well as a few pictures of my friends enjoying the end product!

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Amish White Bread: Round 1

Last Friday, I made bread for the first time! I am a little late in writing this post, but the actual baking of the bread did occur last Friday! Below is a step-by-step process of what I did, so feel free to live vicariously through me as I share my wonderful experience with you!

Step 1: Find Recipe

Step 2: Buy groceries (Yeast, Flour, Salt, Sugar, Oil)

Step 3: Gather ingredients in preparation for baking, and gather necessary measuring devices.

Step 4: Mix Ingredients based on recipe instructions.

Step 5: Knead bread, and wait for it to double in size. Unfortunately, if I would have waited for it to double, I would still be sitting on my kitchen stool staring at it, so I gave up on this dream. It did get a little bigger, but it by no means doubled. After doing some research, I think that I have figured out why this occurred. The Youtube video I watched on How to Use Quick Rise Yeast really helped me understand where my mistake occurred, so this small change in my baking process should make a big difference in the outcome of next weeks bread! According to the lovely lady in the Youtube video, I should have added the yeast to the dry ingredients before adding water. In addition, I was unaware that sugar is what made yeast rise, so this is extremely helpful to know.

Step 6: Let bread rise for 60 minutes… As I mentioned in step five, the rising of the bread did not quite turn out as I had originally hoped. Next time will be better!

Step 7: Knead bread, and role it into bread loaves! Then, place them in a pan, and let rise for another hour. Again, everything turned out wonderfully other than the rising part!

Step 8: Bake @ 350 for twenty-five minutes approximately. In my case, I  should have left it in a little longer. The one side of my first loaf was pretty doughy. I found it really difficult to figure out whether or not it was ready… It was golden brown on the outside, and I was worried that if I left it in there any longer it would burn. This was a big dilemma I experienced, and in the end, I made the wrong choice by taking it out when I did. It still tasted great though, even though it didn’t look exactly like it was supposed to. The part that I found weird is that even though the dough didn’t really rise, the bread rose a lot once I put it in the oven. I am not really sure why this happened, but I intend to find out!

Questions for next week:

  1. How do I make the dough rise?
  2. How do I tell if the bread is done?
  3. If the yeast made the bread rise as it was supposed to, why didn’t the dough rise?

Plans: I have decided that I am going to make the same kind of bread next week. I’m hoping that by making a few little adjustments, it will turn out like it is supposed to! I am doing this because I don’t see the point of moving on to a more difficult bread until I can get a handle on the simpler bread. Stay tuned, Part 2 is soon to come!

Bread Thus Far…

I am just going to take a few minutes to explain my process thus far. First, I decided that it would be really fun to learn how to make bread. Why did I choose this you might ask. Well, it is kind of a long story, but I will try to summarize it to the best of my ability. The first thing you should know about me is that I come from a very, very large family. I have over 100 cousins, and several Aunties and Uncles. Like most families, we spend holidays and special occasions together. And like most families, we usually eat food at our get-togethers. In my opinion, my Aunties make the best buns and bread in all the land. But they are getting older, and they are at a point where there are no longer wanting to cook for our entire family anymore. They have been doing this for 40 + years now, so can you really blame them? I have a few cousins who are older me, but they don’t seem to be huge fans of hosting massive family gatherings. So, who does that leave? If you guessed me, you are correct.

Luckily, I have been cooking for several years now, so I know how to make most things. The only things I haven’t tried making yet are bread, and turkey. I decided against making a turkey for this project for obvious reasons, so I chose bread-making as my learning project! I have been downloading several apps that allow me to save and download bread recipes. I have also been pinning a lot of different bread recipes on Pinterest. I have already made my first type of bread, and I must say, I did pretty good considering it was my first time! I will do a follow up post that explain the details of the experience, but overall, it was a success. One thing that I have learned is that baking bread requires a lot of research.

Normally, I just throw in random ingredients and hope for the best when cooking, but baking requires you to be a lot more precise. I have to measure, and have certain ingredients in order for it to work out, and this is a huge adjustment for me. Another thing that you should know about me is that I HATE the grocery store. It is my least favourite place to go. It’s even less fun when you’re looking for specific ingredients when you don’t entirely know what they are, you have no idea what they look like, and you don’t have a clue where to begin looking. This was basically my experience when looking for the ingredients for bread. I spent over an hour at the grocery store. Twenty minutes was spent choosing a type of flour (which I outlined in my earlier post), and another half an hour was spent choosing a type of yeast. It was a rather overwhelming experience, but hopefully, it gets easier as time goes on. All in all, I am excited to learn how to make different kinds of bread, and I am thrilled to be taking over a Berner family tradition. I wrote this post to give you a little bit of background information on myself, and on my decision to make bread. Thanks for reading 🙂