joyofbaking site) I've been in a baking mood. Even more arbitrary, I had this hankering to bake my own bread. I had lots of time to kill last night (I was watching the Republicans whine on C-span, yay health care!), so it seemed like a good time to try my hand at baking with yeast.
After kneading the dough for a while, I left it for 1.5 hrs to rise.
Finally it was ready to go in the oven. Here comes the part where I thought I screwed it up. I took the pan out and then knocked the surface of the bread with my knuckles (you're supposed to get a hollow sound). It was definitely hollow, and I nearly burned my knuckles, but the bread felt really tough! I was about to feel defeated, but I decided to hope for the best. Sure enough, after I left the bread to cool overnight, in the morning the bread was soft and delicious! Success!
As an aside, the last time I baked with yeast (making pretzels), I skipped a line in the recipe. Unfortunately for me, that was the line that said leave the dough to rise for 3 hours. The pretzels actually didn't taste that bad after the came out of the oven. In about a day or two, however, we could have used them as weapons.
Back to my bread. It was really fascinating working with yeast. The yeast/flour/etc mixture bubbled when I poured the warm water on it.
At this point the dough was really warm! So cool! So then I punched it back down, left it to rise again for about 45 minutes, then put it in my loaf pan, where I left it to rise for the third time, again for about 45 minutes.