I have 4 loaves of bread cooling on the counter.
Three are plain white. One has cinnamon added. All will be teh yum!
It’s really an accomplishment for me to make bread completely from scratch. Back when I was married to the ex- (15 years ago), I tried making bread. It would raise beautifully the first time, but once in the pans, it wouldn’t go anywhere. The outcome, of course, was a flatish brick of cooked dough, but not anything I’d ever call bread.
Birth mother had gone through a phase when I was still living with her, when I was about ten I’d guess, where she would make bread every month. She’d make enough that we’d have bread for the whole month, freezing the loaves we wouldn’t eat right away.
I remembered watching her make it, and it didn’t seem like it was all that hard. Mix everything together, knead it for a while, put it in a greased bowl in the oven to raise. Once the dough raised double, take it out of the bowl, punch it down, put it into greased bread pans, and then put it back in the oven to raise again. (Or, if the oven was already being used baking another batch of bread, put it on the back of the oven to raise again.)
Did I mention that our oven at birth mother’s house was gas? The kind with the pilot light on all the time? Did I mention the oven I was using when I tried making bread 15 years ago was electric?
Yeah, there’s the difference. The pilot for the gas oven kept the oven at a slightly warmed temperature. Perfect for causing the yeast to grow. The cold electric oven never did that.
I made at least 20 loaves of bread before I finally gave up as it being a lost cause. And of course, the ex- used that against me — I was so useless, I couldn’t even make bread right! (But he never tried it himself.)
I felt a total failure. I *was* a total failure in my mind.
I eventually received a bread machine for a birthday gift a while back. I used it all the time, but it didn’t redeem my failure at making bread. After all, in a bread machine, all you have to do is put the ingredients into the machine in the correct order and turn it on. The machine did all the hard work (mixing, kneading, keeping it at the correct temperature) for you.
While I had the bread machine, I did a lot of research into bread making, and knew the theory of why I had hard, dense loaves of baked dough all those years ago. I still wasn’t willing to try to make bread from scratch. I knew when I failed (not if I failed, but when) it would just re-enforce how I was a failure. You know, can’t even make bread right.
When MiL bought the new oven, I saw it had a proof setting and thought it was time to get over my fear of failure with the bread. I no longer have the bread machine, so if I want fresh, home made bread, I will just have to do it the hard way. Still, it took 6 months before I worked up the courage to try.
Two weeks ago, I made my first ever batch of home made bread. It turned out wonderfully. It rose well, had a great density, wonderful grain, and tasted awesome! The only problem was that according to the recipe, it was only supposed to make two loaves, but it really should have made four loaves. So I had a couple misshapen loaves from when they over rose the bread pans.
Today, I made another batch. This time I used four bread pans, and I have beautiful looking bread loaf sized loaves of bread. They’ve just come out of the oven, so I can’t cut into them yet to see how the inside is, but I’m sure they are as good as the last batch is.
Even though I’m getting better, the old thoughts, the brain washing my parents and ex- did sometimes still creeps in. But I like that I can now add “bread baking” to my list of skills. I like even more knowing how far my self esteem has developed in order for me to even attempt it two weeks ago. At the time, I went ahead and did it, even though I wondered if I would fail again. I was willing to risk having to deal with the voices coming back if (when, the voices were saying) the loaves turned into flat loaves of baked dough.
Pushing myself can have good consequences, I’m finding. In this instance, delicious consequences. Later, once the bread has cooled enough, I’m going to cut myself a slice and spread some butter and honey on it. Yum