Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making friends with yeast

I've never really gotten the hang of bread. I love eating it... I *adore* a fresh, dense loaf of french bread, or sweet, chewy cinnamon rolls and don't get me started on chewy pretzels! Sadly (or maybe luckily), I can't make them myself. Quick breads and such I have no trouble with, but anything that requires kneading I just can't seem to get right. I really don't know if it's the flour to yeast ratio or the kneading or what. *slight lip quiver*

B got me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, and in the recipe booklet that comes with it gives a recipe for 'easy' bread, using the mixer to knead the dough. Hey! That's just what I need, right? So I tried it. Yyyyyyyeah..... no. If I'd made a few more batches, I would have had enough bricks to build a BBQ pit on the balcony. It didn't turn out well, we'll leave it at that.

In sorting through some recipes unceremoniously ripped from various magazines, I found one for Perfect Pizza Dough. Oooh, I've been craving pizza lately. So, what the heck... I'll try my hand at yeast again. Plus it called for the food processor to knead the dough ;)

Very simple recipe, I let the yeast proof and threw the flour and salt in the processor. Added the oil to the yeast, poured it slowly and let the dough come together... while it didn't form a ball, once I turned it out it did come together quite nicely. I let it rise in the oven and then rolled it out, topped it and threw it back in to cook.

The result? Not bad... not bad at all. The edges came out a bit dry, and it wasn't the perfect, pillowy crust I'd have liked, but it wasn't far off. Part of it may have been the flour... I only had half white, half wheat. Next time I'll use just white, a bit more oil and a bit less flour and see how it goes. I've not mastered it, but there is certainly hope, and that's more than I've had in a long time where yeast dough is concerned! In searching for help amongst the interwebs on the subject, I've read all manner of advice, but I think the most important is simply practice. Keep trying until you get the hang of it.

There is hope for me and my yeast dysfunction yet! (that sounds vaguely inappropriate, doesn't it?) I'm almost tempted to go get the ingredients and try making another! Lord knows B would be happy to help take care of the leftovers.

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