A couple of weeks ago I detailed my disastrous attempt to make whole wheat bread — the bread never rose and had the texture of a stale bagel. Spurred on by my mother’s recipe for whole wheat bread that dates back to when either my sister or I was in nursery school (she couldn’t remember which of us made bread in nursery school), as well as my friend’s revelation that perhaps my bread didn’t rise because I’d killed the yeast with water that was too hot, I decided to try again. And this time, I’m happy to report, the result was edible. It wasn’t perfect — no, it was not — but it tasted pretty good.
Nursery School Bread (yes, that’s really the name of the recipe from my mom’s cookbook)
Dissolve 1 envelope dried yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water.
In a large bowl place:
2 cups hot water
1/4 lb. margarine or butter
2 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. molasses
Add yeast and stir in 3 cups whole wheat flour and 3 cups white flour. If mixture becomes too thick to stir, reserve a little flour for kneading. Placing flour on hands, work dough as if soft clay until it no longer sticks to the hands and is soft and pliable. Place in greased bowl and cover with a dish cloth. Let dough rise until it doubles in size, then punch down and form into two loaves. Put loaves into greased pans, cover with dish cloth, and let rise again until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees F approximately 30 minutes.
Each step of the bread making process went a bit more smoothly than last time. I even got Charlie to help me knead the bread.
Charlie even dramatically tempered his desire to throw flour around the kitchen; this time he just threw it on the stove top, counter, and floor.
After kneading, we put the bread in the bowl, covered it up with a dish cloth, crossed our fingers, and went away for about an hour.
At this point, it almost seemed like this bread-making thing might work out. And then, I separated the dough into two loaves, put them in greased pans, and covered them up again with a dish cloth to double in size. That’s when “take 2” of bread making went straight down hill. The loaves didn’t rise. Not after 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, or even 1 1/2 hours.
So I did a google search for “what do I do if my bread won’t rise” and up came this helpful site. It said that I needed to create a warmer place for the dough and suggested that I, essentially, put the loaf pans (with the dough in them) on a larger pan, pour some boiling water into the larger pan, and cover the whole thing again with a dish cloth. Well sure enough, after about 30-40 minutes, the dough had definitely risen. I would not, however, say that it doubled in size. The helpful website also suggested adding more yeast, but by this point in the process I was a little tired of bread making and I figured that the dough had risen enough to satisfy my low standards. So, I baked the loaves.
They were definitely flatter than they’re meant to be, but they were miles better than the brick of bread I made a couple of weeks ago.
So I think I’ll try bread making again. They say third time’s a charm, right?