You gotta believe

So I have this ongoing issue with baking bread, namely that I suck at it. It’s something I have always thought I should be able to do and I’ve never really been successful. Until recently.

I started making a challah every Friday, mostly because I like challah and also because Jillian really loves Shabbat, so it’s nice to have a challah and light candles and all that. The first few I made were really really dense. I got lucky a couple of times and they came out really well, but for the most part, there has been some extremely heavy bread up in here.

I think I know what the issue is, and that is that I don’t knead the dough long enough, at all. I use the dough hook on my stand mixer for about 6 minutes and then I turn it out on the counter and beat the shit out of it for another six or until my arms start to hurt. This takes some patience, which is not a trait I am known for.

But I’m learning.

So for Hanukkah, I decided to get myself that artisan bread book. You know, the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. Making fresh bread every day is a pain in my ass. It takes way too much time, so I figured I would give this method a shot.

So far, so good. I am not a precise cook or baker by any stretch of the imagination. I prefer to feel my way around rather that measure and sift and level off and all that. This bread-baking process almost rewards that approach, because you honestly just chuck all the ingredients in a bowl or whatever, mix briefly and let it sit for a few hours. Then you can make bread out of it, and the bread is pretty damn good. Well, the first day it was. The second day was kind of dense and the third day was just gross, but I think that’s more to do with how I’m storing it than anything else.

Also, maybe I’m a little impatient.

The second batch seemed to go a bit better. I made two small loaves for dinner last night that were a tiny bit on the chewy side, but still quite tasty. Today I used the rest of the second batch to make rolls, and they look lovely but I haven’t busted one open yet.

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