About four years ago I became obsessed with baking bread. I've always been obsessed with bread but I hadn't really tried to bake it. Every week for about a month I baked a couple of loaves. I was getting pretty good at it until I made a loaf of oatmeal bread and forgot to put in the salt. It was not very good; actually it was horrible. It is amazing how a little salt can change a loaf of bread from a bland lump to a tasty treat.
For Christmas three years ago I got a Kitchen Aid Mixer, the kind with a bread hook for kneading dough. You might think that I immediately whipped up a loaf of yeasty, crusty bread. You would be wrong. I used the mixer to make pancakes but mostly it just sat on the counter next to the coffee maker. Tabitha used it quite a bit but I didn't.
Last weekend I got a bee in my bonnet. I have bread flour, whole wheat flour, and oat flour. I had the raw materials for making bread. I found a few recipes for bread but most use all-purpose flour. I prefer bread flour because it has more gluten, making the bread less crumbly. I was stressing about the flour.
And then I thought, "It's just bread. If you have the flour, yeast, liquid, salt and sugar it's going to be fine." So I modified a recipe from the Kitchen Aid recipe book. I used bread flour instead of all-purpose. I used brown sugar instead of white. I incorporated some whole-wheat flour instead of just using white. You know what? It turned out just fine.
Actually, it's probably the best bread I have yet baked. It tastes good, it has a nice crust, and it smells awesome. Abigail, who doesn't normally like crust said, "Daddy, I love this crust." The reviews are in and critics agree - the bread rules.
One thing is kind of weird though. I love cheese and I love bread. I love to eat cheese while eating bread. But I don't like cheese bread. Go figure.