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Breaking Bread

The Goddess used to think she couldn't cook.  Then she realized, she'd never even tried.  For goodness sake, she'd been eating out of cans and boxes and cartons and all sorts of nasty processed sources her entire adult life.

Well this all changed yesterday. The Goddess MADE bread.  Albeit a bit doughy, it was bread nonetheless.

 Two loaves of bread!  One white, the other Cinnamon Swirl.

The recipe was ridiculously easy to follow and used ingredients already in the cupboards, so no additional shopping was needed.  Although the only drawback with using an American recipe here in the land of The Kilted One was the measurements.  There are no measuring cups, spoons, or other devices with units of measurement The Goddess is familiar with in The Kilted One's kitchen.  It is all in liters, mL, etc.  So after many conversions the dough took shape and after it was baked it looked delicious.  Then the first slice was made and to The Goddess's horror was not thoroughly cooked throughout.  A bit more recipe tweaking may be in order, but for a first try... well, The Goddess is pretty pleased with herself.

As The Kilted One would say, she's rather 'chuffed'.

Here's the recipe I followed
Amish White Bread
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar

Dissolve sugar into warm water and add yeast.  Allow yeast to 'proof' til the water becomes frothy.  The Goddess's water/sugar/yeast mix started rolling around like an alien lifeform and she had to kill it with flour.  She slowly added the cups of flour.  The Goddess decided mixing with spoons was over-rated so she mixed the flour in by hand... in hindsight, she might have stuck to spoons as her hands were quickly covered in goo that made adding additional cups of flour a messy undertaking.  Eventually the dough took shape and The Goddess removed the dough to a lightly floured surface to knead it into submission.  

Now this part is her favorite.  The twisting, pounding, rolling act of kneading is all a girl needs to relax and vent her frustrations of life.  Yes.  Even The Goddess feels the frustrations of life.  After the moment of venting has passed the dough should be kneaded thoroughly and placed in a well oiled bowl.  Plop the dough in and swirl it in the oil and then flip it over and swirl again so the entire mass is coated.  Place in a warm place, covered in a damp cloth.  The Goddess just put it in the oven on the top rack and placed a shallow dish of HOT water beneath it.  Something about atmospheric conditions allowing the yeast to rise.  Blah Blah Blah... The Goddess hated chemistry.

Now this part is important.  Forget you're making bread for an hour.  Just go do something else and become completely immersed and when you get around to having the thought "What was I doing earlier that I should be doing now?" the dough should have doubled in size.  The Goddess strongly advises reading a book (currently reading "The Long Walk" by Stephen King) as the time will pass quickly.  

Return to the doubled dough and while it is still in the bowl, punch the tar out of it.  Don't hold back (well... do hold back if you are using a bowl you'd rather not destroy) and just punch the dough down.  Knead it into submission once more on a lightly floured surface.  When it is completely kneaded, break it into two loaves. The Goddess does not have fancy loaf pans or even two loaf pans that are the same size so just approximate what the size of a loaf should be.  Roll out one loaf into a rectangle.  The Goddess doesn't cook with exact measurements of anything, so just eyeball it.  Starting at the shorter end, roll the dough from one end to the other like a cinnabun.  The Goddess smooshed the ends closed and when it came time to move it to the loaf pan (well oiled on all sides) realized it was too long.  So she just smooshed it some more until it fit.

As The Goddess has two size pans, she split her dough into one big blob and one little blob.  With the big blob rolled and in its loaf pan, she tackled the smaller loaf.  This one should be flattened out like the other and smothered in butter.  (The Goddess didn't have butter, so she used margarine... also in hindsight NOT a good idea as margarine has a higher water density and most likely is what made the insides even more doughy... still delicious)  Once the rectangle is covered in butter sprinkle on some cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar.  Again, don't measure, just sprinkle until you're satisfied.  Roll up as was done similarly above and get butter/cinnamon/sugar goop all over your hands.  Smoosh the ends and place in a well oiled loaf pan.

Throw this concoction back in its warm place and wait for the yeast to rise again. Back into the oven she put it to rise and then The Goddess continued reading for another 45 minutes or so.  When she remembered she was making bread, she ventured into the kitchen, saw the dough was about an inch out of the pans and turned on the oven to 300f (175c) and baked for 30-40 minutes.  

At this point the smell of baked bread will seep throughout the house making it impossible for you to forget the fact you're baking bread, but resist the urge to open the oven until the time is drawing near.  The Goddess waited and only peaked once (Ok.. twice) and when she pulled the loaves from the oven they were picture perfect!

Wait a minute or two to allow the bread to cool to the room before dumping them on a bread rack.  Resist the urge (a lot of this urge resisting going on) to cut the bread until it has completely cooled.  

Now, if you followed the directions correctly, you should end up with pretty bread that smells delicious, but is a bit doughy on the inside.  Why you would follow these instructions, The Goddess doesn't know, but in the end the imperfection of the bread just added to it's charm and for a first time, well, was not too bad at all.

Recipe butchered from: with the left out salt and oil part.. Because The Goddess doesn't read directions very well and somehow skipped that step.