The Importance of Knowing Your Yeast…

I’ve suddenly got this bee in my bonnet that I need to make everything myself instead of buying it in a store. Okay, I guess it’s not that sudden. I’ve always had the idea, but I don’t always have the drive, the time, or the know-how to do it. My first order of business: learn how to make bread. Not banana bread or cranberry nut bread (both of which I actually thought were intimidating enough at first, but have turned out to be easy), but the real thing. Something we can soak up our soup with or make a sandwich. Since How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman has become our household go-to cook book, I started there. I made the olive oil and salt bread. It turned out delicious, and not too intimidating since it was not a yeast bread. So I moved on to the next recipe which is Jim Lahey’s No Work bread recipe…

I was very proud of myself when I finished the first step and took this picture:

I had created dough! I created dough; I can do anything now, right? I didn’t know what to do with the yeast I hadn’t used, so I continued looking through the cookbook until I came to the section on yeast. This is where I found out that the type of yeast I used had to be activated. What?! Well, it was too late now. Might as well just leave it on the counter and see what happens.

I was so excited when I saw this the next morning:

It expanded! That’s a good sign, right? Eh, well…I knew something was wrong when I moved to the next step in the recipe. Take it out of the bowl and fold it a couple of times. It didn’t really fold. It was a blob. Shape it into a ball? Nope. Not going to happen. Yet I pressed on and pretended I could actually do what the book asked me to do.

Here is what the finished product looked like:

It was ridiculously dense but not too bad considering. My husband devoured it in less than 24 hours. Possibly just to make me feel better, but I’ll choose not to think that. Here’s to next time.

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