neither a cook nor a baker….

It’s tough wanting to learn…and just not getting it. For example, the honey wheat sandwich bread I made yesterday. I followed the instructions exactly…and I love Beth at Budget Bytes for including step-by-step photos, too…and still ended up with a relatively dense loaf of bread.

Mind you, it tastes pretty good…and was pretty awesome in a bacon-havarti panini I made yesterday (yum!). But, obviously, it wasn’t right. Something was off.

I think it was one of three things: 1) I didn’t knead the dough long enough (or correctly, for that matter); 2) I used too much flour; or 3) the whole wheat flour I used wasn’t good enough quality.

This is where being a novice is so frustrating. Having never baked bread before…it becomes almost impossible to figure out what I did wrong. Because, let’s be honest, it could be just about anything. Your guesses are more than welcome!

I will try this again, though. I want the airy, fluffy, beautiful loaf that Beth baked. Just look at her loaf of bread…then look at mine. Sigh. (Just loooooove her site, by the way.) And at under $1.50 a loaf, I can certainly afford to try a few more times.

I’m a little discouraged, people. Just a little. But as Meg Ryan so memorably said in one of my go-to girlie movies, French Kiss, “I will triumph!”

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7 thoughts on “neither a cook nor a baker….

  1. Pingback: eggs! bacon! veggies! it’s all there…. |

  2. Thanks for commenting on my post! 🙂
    I’m sorry it didn’t work out as well for you – did you make sure to let it rise long enough each time? As far as kneading goes, I just keep pushing and folding it until it no longer has a dusting of flour and then add a little more if it is still sticky – it will take a bit of kneading for the flour to be incorporated. I found that I didn’t need as much flour as Beth did to get to that non-sticky consistency. Don’t give up on making good bread – I had to try 2 other recipes before finding this one and I’m not the most accomplished baker either. Good luck!
    ~Krysta

    • Hey Krysta – Yeah, the first rise went fine…but by the time the second rise was done, the dough was looking a little dry. Part of me thinks too much flour was the culprit and I probably didn’t knead it as long as I should’ve…but again, what do I know? I will keep trying, though. Thanks for the encouragement – and for commenting!

      • You know what? Your loaf may not be quite as dense as you think…I made a second loaf last week and used a larger serrated knife to slice it and the crumb looked denser than when I cut the first loaf with a small serrated knife. It was easier to cut with the bigger knife because of the blade length, but there was a good 1/4″ between each of the points along the edge. I think that might make a difference in the texture of the slice because it would be a rougher cut. I’m going to go back to using my smaller knife that has 3-4 points per 1/4″ next time I make a loaf. Hope that helps!

      • Krysta – Thanks for the update. I am going to try to make this bread again, now that I have more kneading experience under my belt, as well. I will be sure to heed your advice on the knives, too! Thanks!

  3. I just posted this on my site in reply to your question but I figured you’d have a better chance of seeing it if I just posted it here… so, I copied and pasted:

    Mile319- Yours didn’t look *too* bad. The quality of the whole wheat flour shouldn’t matter in how much your loaf rises. I make bread with the gold medal flour all of the time 🙂 When you’re kneading in the flour, you don’t want to add so much that it becomes a stiff ball. Add just a sprinkle at a time as you knead it. The dough should stay fairly soft and pliable. This is just something that takes practice but you’ll get a feel for it eventually. So, keep trying! I suspect the problem is that you may simply need to let it rise longer. Rising time varies so much because it depends a lot on the heat and humidity in your kitchen and the state of your yeast. So, perhaps try letting it rise 30-45 minutes longer next time.

    Good luck! I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it!

    Beth

    • Thanks, Beth. I appreciate it your advice. I definitely will keep trying. 🙂

      By the way, I looooove your website. And can I tell you that your pasta salad is the BEST recipe. I’ve made it twice now and I’m in love with it. In fact, I made it for dinner tonight since it is soooo hot out that we just wanted something cold and refreshing.

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