Warning: Picture heavy post….

My new obsession is reading craft and cooking blogs. I’m not sure how this came about, maybe it’s that I’m 32. My theory is that it’s because I’m 32, have a kitchen that I can move in, and I hear that little tick-tock in the back of my head.

So anyway, back to these food and craft blogs. My brother turned me onto Allrecipes.com. That was the catalyst. Then last winter, after I moved into my first grown-up apartment with a living room and bedroom separated by a wall, I got the itch to bake bread. It’s all down hill from there. I started reading all about bread. See, I had never made bread before and I steered clear of any recipe that involved yeast. Sometimes there is this little scaredy cat living deep down inside me and that cat keeps me from doing things that look complicated by telling me that it’s too hard and I might screw it up. Stupid cat. How am I going to learn if I don’t mess up once in a while, right?

Getting back to the topic at hand… I started making bread. I bought some yeast packages and set to work. I screwed up a couple of times. Once I forgot salt. I learned the art of an egg wash. And a little bit of extra flour won’t hurt a thing.

My newest favorite bread recipe comes from Alicia Paulson. I love her site. I want her life. Everything in her kitchen is pretty. She spends her days making pretty things…and her husband helps. (I need to get me one of those.) and they live in beautiful Portland. (I’m dying to visit there.) Anywho…This honey oat bread is AWESOME! It calls for proofing the yeast. To proof the yeast, you mix it in warm sugar water until it bubbles. It’s SO neat!

It goes from this…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To THIS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure you can see this, but there is about a half inch foam on top. After it proofs, I add a little bit at a time to my flour mixture. I mix it with a spatula until all the liquid has been added. Then I knead with my hands right in the bowl. I’m a little paranoid about rolling and kneading on my counters. I’m having a hard time keeping the cats off the counters and I don’t feel that they ever get clean enough sooo…I knead in the bowl. If the dough is still too sticky after I’ve finished kneading and mixing, I add a tablespoon of flour. I keep one of those big soup spoons in my flour jar for just this occasion. Usually, a tablespoon is the perfect amount.

Don’t you just love my measuring cup? It use to be my grandmothers! :)

When everything is mixed, I spray cooking spray in a bigger bowl and transfer the dough. It looks like this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then cover….

With a wet towel. I set my on the stove because it’s warm. I have a gas range….Love it! The dough rises fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon it looks like THIS! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And after you bake it, it looks like this!

This is fresh out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it goes well with THIS! :) 

<—Beef stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just got this dutch oven this week. I was so excited to make this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is ginger ale and was an experiment. Turned out that the BF liked it so much and was so intrigued that yeast could carbonate that he insists that we always have it in the house. This is where the yeast farts come in. When he found out what the carbonation was, he said, “so basically, yeast farts.”

This is our dinner tonight, what’s yours?

Live Long and Prosper!

P.S. I don’t have the perfect apartment nor the perfect life, so please excuse my meager surroundings. I make due with what I have…and I love it all! :)