OK. This is it. I decided to try baking whole wheat bread three times. The first time was a brick mess and while the second time was better, it was still not good. So this third time, I decided to make it just about me and the bread — no wild 3-year-old throwing flour to distract me (yes, I’m blaming my child for my failures. I’ll start putting some yikes money aside now for his teenage therapy bills).
I found a new whole wheat recipe, this one made with honey and milk. I cut the recipe in half because I only wanted to make one loaf. I made the dough, kneaded it until “a tacky but not completely sticky dough” was formed, put it into a greased bowl, and covered it. About 90 minutes later it had doubled. Shocking. Then I formed it into a loaf, put it in a greased pan, covered it, and waited for it to double again. It didn’t. Not so shocking. So, I used the trick I learned the second time I made whole wheat bread: when dough doesn’t rise, put the dough (in its loaf pan) in a shallow roasting pan, pour boiling water in the roasting pan, and cover the whole thing with a dish cloth to keep the heat in. In about 45 minutes, the dough had risen enough for my satisfaction. Then I popped it into the oven to bake.
And the result? Well, it was edible. By me. Mark and Charlie wouldn’t try it.
It took me a week to eat the loaf. I finished it this morning. Actually, technically Lucy, my dog, finished it after she jumped up to the counter to grab the last piece. I gotta admit, it was nice to see someone enthusiastic about my bread.
In case you forgot, this entire bread-making effort — all three attempts — was designed to see if I could make yummy, inexpensive bread to replace the over $4 a loaf La Brea crusty sourdough bread that we adore. We hadn’t bought the sourdough in the past few weeks because of all the whole wheat bread I’ve been making, but this weekend I bought some (it was on sale for about $3.50). I brought it home and showed it to Charlie who promptly announced that he wanted toast — not one piece, but two. He ate both pieces (except for the crust; he doesn’t really like crust). Then he asked for two more pieces. I’m not kidding when I say the kid ate half a loaf of bread over the course of about 30 minutes. I think I’ve mentioned before, probably many times, that Charlie is a picky eater and if given food he doesn’t want, he’ll just refuse to eat. Also, Charlie is very thin and always has been. So watching him eat half a loaf of bread in one sitting made me want to cry a little bit. And it got me thinking, what a fool I am for trying to save money by making bread Charlie won’t eat. I’ll figure out another way to save a buck.
So that’s it, people. I’m done. I actually have one more packet of yeast and while I hate to waste it, the only way I’m making bread again is if the La Brea bakery sends me their recipe for crusty sourdough.