My first experience in baking bread was back in the early ’90s in a tiny kitchen apartment in Montana.  I’m not even sure if the kitchen had two workable feet of counter space.  Not sure why, but I felt compelled to know how to bake my own bread.  Flash forward twenty years and I’m back in the kitchen baking white bread reminiscing about my first loaves of bread and how proud I was to have accomplished that feat. 

Yeast mixture 

Just add flour, the KitchenAid was working overtime
With the abundance of great artisan breads available in the markets,  I have not done a lot of bread baking the past 10 or so years.  With that being said, what I have baked in the last five years has been in the Cuisinart Bread Machine.  So it was with a little fear and trepidation that I approached the White Bread recipe for the first Baking with Julia challenge.  Would baking bread be like riding a bicycle?  What about kneading, are my arms strong enough to handle it?  Would it be therapeutic and all my frustrations from the past 18 months would disappear into the dough?  Why is it every time I tell someone I’m a “Banker” they immediately respond how great it must be to be a “Baker”.  Should I be reevaluating my career choice?  So many questions and only the dough would know the answers.
Roll out to shape

Tucked away nicely and ready for a warm resting place

Ready to bake!
I’m happy to report that yes, baking bread is like riding a bicycle and gets easier with age unlike riding a bike which seems so much more complicated with age (balance, helmets, hearing, eyesight).  Within a few minutes of compiling and mixing ingredients it was all coming back to me.  The kneading was not as tough as I remembered, and though it was therapeutic it did not do away with 18 months of frustration.  When the finished product was done and the aroma of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen, I remembered why the labor of bread baking is so treasured.  A sense of complete satisfaction beamed from me when I removed the two perfectly golden, crusty white loaves from the oven.  I could not help but grin from ear-to-ear when I cut into my loaf and found that the texture was near perfect, no big holes or gaps for the toppings to fall or drip through.  It was the same feeling of victory I had from my first loaves of bread twenty years ago.

I really need a better studio for photographs, but they loaves were gorgeous

 

My career is still undetermined, but who knows maybe between French Friday’s with Dorie and Baking with Julia  my career will find its own evolution and reinvention in something other than the world of finance.

Completely cooked, nice crust, and near perfect texture

To read more, or join the group  Baking with Julia (aka Tuesday’s with Dorie):

http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/lyl-white-loaves/#comments

For the recipe:

Go to slush and  Someone’s in the Kitchen.