Adventures in Breadmaking

So I love to bake. That’s really not news. But for a long time, I was afraid of yeast breads and all that they entailed. Then I got my breadmaker a couple of Christmases ago, and was no longer afraid to dive headfirst into yeast bread awesomeness. I made white bread, wheat bread, french bread, cinnamon rolls, you name it. However, I’d heard and read many comments from people essentially dissing breadmaker bread, and so wanted to try to make the ultimate wheat bread to replace our store-bought loaves.

Much random research later, I came upon this website and the amazing Darcy’s Wheat Bread recipe. And look, there’s a tutorial! Sweet! Can’t possibly fail – right? I buy the special pans (which I do love), read and re-read the instructions, learn and adapt (crap – yeast is not lively enough!, crap – top oven is totally not calibrated!, knead longer, more flour, less flour, knead shorter, knead by hand, etc., etc., etc.) after more research. Well, 1 week and roughly 14 loaves later, and these are the fruits of my labor (the last 4 batches, in order from left to right):

Some tasty, some less so, all varying degrees of little wheat bricks. All edible, but nowhere near usable for PB&J around here. And certainly nowhere near the gorgeous, floaty soft, high, golden loaves shown on Mel’s tutorial pics.

By this time, I’m just about done with the whole thing. I’m frustrated, irritable (oh, it must be because I’m using my KitchenAid, since I don’t have $450 to fork out for an all-mighty Bosch, like all good Mormon housewives in Utah/Idaho/Arizona/everywhere, nor a grinder to grind my own wheat – which means I have yet again failed to meet an unspoken standard – would be nice if someone would let me in on the friggin’ rules!!), thoroughly disgusted and ready to throw in the towel.

Then, looking through my recipe book for something unrelated, I come across my favorite wheat bread recipe for the breadmaker. I see that I’ve printed the adaptation someone made to just use the dough cycle to mix and knead the dough, then shape into pans and bake in the oven. I decide to try it. Hallelujah!

Granted, the recipe was a little large for my pan, but otherwise, it’s gorgeous! And tasty! And soft! And sliceable! Woohoo!! And I know exactly what’s in it, and that it’s healthy for my family. Yippee! I’m off to make more bread!

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