I love the smell of baking bread. There’s something comforting about it somehow. Maybe it’s because my grandmother was a professional baker at one time, so I grew up watching her bake cookies, cakes, and all kinds of other treats. (All from scratch too!)
Or maybe it’s because my dad bought my mom a bread machine when I was little. For two or three of my formative years the kitchen constantly smelled like fresh bread. Until my mom couldn’t find the prepackaged bread mix anymore. I guess since we didn’t have Google back then she couldn’t look up recipes? (Or just buy a cookbook? Or use the recipes in the user manual like I did? Shame on you, Mom! 😉 )
The good thing about my mom’s apparent laziness is that my dad got tired of seeing the old Bread Box shoved in the back of the closet. So he gave it to me! Yes! Fresh bread everyday! (Not actually everyday.)
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to use it so I read my user manual, did some reconnaissance online, then ran out to grab some yeast. Bread is surprisingly simple. I had most of what I needed already: flour, salt, sugar, oil. Apparently self-rising flour doesn’t do well in bread making, but substituting all-purpose flour is acceptable if you can’t wait long enough to find bread flour. Guilty as charged!
Anyway, this morning I decided on french bread, gathered my ingredients, and started my first bread. I spent the next 4 hours pacing around the house, impatiently waiting for the timer to run down. When I heard the timer go off at last, I ran to the kitchen to admire my first loaf.
It might not look like much, but I will preemptively tell you that it tasted pretty darn good! I let it cool on my rack for half an hour before finally breaking it open. I was thrilled to find it had a nice crispy shell, but the inside was moist and chewy, as it should be.
Now T is bread addict so he was way excited to taste the bread that we had been smelling for hours. He ate a quarter of the loaf before I could even say anything! I couldn’t bring myself to scold him though because he seemed to enjoy it so much.
After our initial taste testing, we compared notes and decided that it needed just a bit more salt next time, but it was very good otherwise. I think that instead of adding more salt to the original mixture, I’ll brush it with a little oil while it’s cooking and lightly salt the crust. It really wasn’t bad for a first try though, right?
I have all kinds of ideas for what to make next. I want to try making sourdough, which is much more complicated than french bread, but T wants some Amish Friendship Bread. I’ve never had Friendship Bread before so I might give that a try, even though it seems to be quite complicated as well.
Whatever I decide to try next, I’ll be back to talk about it here, of course!