Home-made Sandwich Bread Loaf

This social distancing is inspiring a new wave of home-bakers don't you think?! Along with the usual suspects such as hand sanitizers, wipes and toilet papers, it was interesting to see that even the humble bottle of yeast was out of stock almost everywhere! I guess during these uncertain times simple skills like bread baking can be deeply comforting. Or perhaps baking serves as a creative and therapeutic outlet to battle the anxious news surrounding us... whatever may be the reason, I am happy to say that I have joined the bread baking bandwagon as well :)

So on a Sunday morning we set off making our first loaf of bread. I wasn't ready to attempt a sourdough starter, and besides we eat simple sandwich bread loaf a lot often than a crusty round loaf.

I followed this recipe to the T and to excellent results! The bread came out just as we expected and the whole process start to finish was very easy. A perfect recipe for beginners who don't have a bread machine or want to make it the old fashioned way.
The bread was light, fluffy and very tasty! Best of all it filled our kitchen with wafting aromas while it was baking. A few tips I found very useful though not listed in the original recipe:
  1. It is very important to proof the yeast properly if using active dry yeast. I tend to be impatient in this step. The yeast started bubbling after full 5 minutes and it's really worth the wait of upto 10 minutes until it's done it's thing before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Also important is the temperature of the warm water. I find it really needs to be around 110 degrees. If you have a thermometer, worth checking for preciseness. If not, remember that your body temperature is generally 98, so 110 will feel warm to your wrist but not very hot.
  3. Equally important is the kneading step. It's time to workout those hand muscles! Every now and then I watch the Youtube primer of how to knead to get the techniques right. Kneading is a big step which defines how well the bread will be structurally.
  4. Other than that let the bread rise twice and bake to it's perfectness!
We enjoyed warm bread with butter and jam - it truly was so good! Once you start baking your own bread, it is hard to go back to store bought and not compare :)

Meanwhile the natural cycle of the seasons and trees and plants goes on. It's a beautiful weather outside with early spring flowers blossoming everywhere.

Whenever possible I take meetings sitting outside on our patio or in the garden and just marvel at the beauty of the nature! Here are some early poppies and daisies from the garden. Enjoy!