Knead, Proof, Bake!

Posted on: Monday, December 3, 2012

Often throwing exact measurements out the window, we love to experiment with various flavor combinations and taste as we go. While we can easily get carried away in the kitchen, we have to confess, we have always been extremely intimidated by yeast and the calculated approach to baking bread. Following a cookie, cake or pie recipe is one thing, but the idea of using such a temperamental living organism basically freaked us out.
This past Sunday, we decided to face our fears along with our friend, Charlotte and take a bread making class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. With the instruction of master bakers, we learned the ins and outs of baking bread. It’s a process that requires patience and meticulous attention to detail, but is fun and easy to try at home. Yeast has its own personality; when you mix it with lukewarm water, it bubbles and sizzles. Once incorporated into a dough, it is basically impossible to over knead by hand. To let the dough proof (rise) before re-kneading and baking, place the dough next to a warm oven, in the microwave or even in a dishwasher (not running, of course). Who knew?
Courtesy of Charlotte Messervy

Waiting for the bread to proof, we took breaks to chat with the group, dust ourselves of flour, and whip up some compound honey butter (yum!). After a few hours, we laid out our perfectly round Rosemary and Olive Rolls, braided Challah Loaves, Char’s Italian Country Bread that rivaled her step dad’s recipe, along with a few loaves of Beer Bread, Cinnamon Rolls, and Bread Sticks. We left with bagfuls of our aromatic bounty and a new-found confidence.
Courtesy of Charlotte Messervy
Stay tuned for a post featuring our baked creations!

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