yesterday, i baked something. shocking i know. ok, really that's not the shocking part, because i bake all the time. it's like cheap and delicious therapy for me. but, the difference between yesterday's oven fun and most other times is that what i baked wasn't a sugar laden dessert. see, i told you it was shocking.
this week has been a crazy week of craziness. and i really needed something fun and delicious to take my mind off of things. something that was on the healthier, less sugary side of things. and i needed something to occupy not only my mind but also my hands. what's better for that than kneading bread? and so i searched my archives of recipes and found the perfect one. this one in fact, though slightly modified.
side note: if you haven't noticed, i love joy the baker, that lady is amazingly fantastic. i've linked to her a bunch of times here, but if you have any interest in cooking and baking, you should follow her yourself. she's down to earth real, plus her recipes are so yum. i know, weird plug, but i'm realizing this is like the tenth time i've linked her, so i figured it bears mentioning how much i respect her. plus, she has her own cookbook, just in case you want to get me a random present for being so awesome or something.
anyway, i followed the recipe as closely as i could. i don't have bread flour, so i just used all purpose. for those that don't know, bread flour has a higher protein content, so it is more glutenous and produces a chewier bread. the other small problem i had was that my yeast was very old. i was able to bloom it, but after adding the water/yeast mixture to the flour, the dough didn't raise as much as it should have. because of that, the end result was very dense. i also changed up the spices called for in the original recipe. i used extra garlic and dried thyme, skipped the pepper flakes, and sprinkled coarse salt and cracked pepper on the top before i baked it.
in the end, i was successful in baking a loaf of bread to go along with the soup i made for supper. it was dense, and because of the olive oil in the pot, the bottom got very crispy. the flavor was very nice. i think it'll go better next time if i have more lively yeast. also, i'm thinking that if i throw a handful or so of parmesan cheese in the dough, it'll be even better. but it was nice to find out that i can make a loaf of bread from start to finish in less than three hours, it's definitely something that i'll attempt again.